These green enchiladas feature tender corn tortillas filled with shiitake mushrooms, red onions, and spinach all covered in spicy salsa verde. Try out this 100% plant-based recipe to experience the bold, vibrant, and rich flavors inspired by Mexico.
What are enchiladas?
Enchiladas are one of the most widely known and consumed Mexican recipes on the planet! The most popular preparation North of the border consists of flour tortillas stuffed with cheese and protein, which are then baked with more cheese on top.
However, the preparation is a little different in Mexico. Corn tortillas are lightly fried, filled with different vegetables or meat, and drizzled with freshly made salsa.
There are two main types of enchiladas — red (roja) and green (verde).
What are green enchiladas?
Green enchiladas (or enchiladas verdes) are given their name by the salsa (sauce) that they’re served with. Salsa verde (green sauce) is made with a base of green chiles, cilantro, onions, and sometimes tomatillos.
In this recipe, I’m making green enchiladas filled with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized red onions, and spinach topped with creamy green chile-based salsa. It’s hearty, healthy, and perfectly spicy!
Are enchiladas vegan?
Enchiladas are most commonly filled with meat-based protein like pork or chicken, topped with cheese like queso fresco or cotija, and served with Mexican crema. However, it is possible to find vegetarian enchiladas that use plant-based “meats” or vegetables only.
For my vegan enchiladas, I’ve included shiitake mushrooms and nutritional yeast as the umami-rich elements. Also, you can easily replace dairy-based cheese with vegan feta and Mexican crema with cashew crema or vegan sour cream.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Green chiles: I use Anaheim peppers for my vegan enchiladas, but you can use poblano or Hatch peppers for a similar heat and flavor profile.
- Vegan butter: To sauté the chiles and garlic. Look for brands like Earth Balance, Miyokos Creamery, or Melt.
- All-purpose flour: To thicken the enchilada sauce. If you are gluten-free, use cornstarch.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds a zesty bite to the sauce. If you don’t have fresh garlic, use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for every clove.
- Vegetable broth, soy milk: To thin the enchilada sauce. I recommend using vegetable broth over water as it adds much more complexity.
- Seasonings: I use onion powder and salt for more savory notes. Feel free to sauté fresh onions with the chiles for extra oomph!
- Cilantro: Added to the sauce at the end for a pop of bright, citrusy flavor. If you want, you can blend the cilantro with the rest of the sauce too!
- Filling: For these vegan enchiladas, I used red onions, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and nutritional yeast. This combination is sweet, savory, and cheesy. You will love it!
- Toppings: Toppings are optional, but I love sliced radishes, jalapeño peppers, and crumbled vegan feta cheese.
How to make green enchiladas
- Step 1: Slice the green chiles lengthwise, and remove all the seeds and veins (you can leave some behind if you prefer spicy enchiladas). Discard the seeds and veins, then slice the peppers. Wash and drain the sliced peppers and set them aside.
- Step 2: In a medium pan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Sauté the green chiles until they soften, then add the minced garlic, and sauté for another minute or so.
- Step 3: Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the sauté and mix them together. Then add the vegetable broth and stir until smooth. Using a hand-held blender, purée the sauce.
- Note: If you don't have a hand-held blender, you can also use a regular blender. However, this will take a bit more time since you have to let the sauce cool for 10 minutes before you use the blender.
- Step 4: If you use a regular blender, transfer the purée back into the pan over medium heat again. Add the soy milk and season with salt and onion powder.
- Step 5: Whisk until the soy milk has emulsified into the purée, then remove from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the enchiladas.
- Step 6: In a medium pan on low to medium heat, melt more vegan butter. Add red onions and sauté for a good 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning. Caramelizing onions requires patience for good results!
- Step 7: After about 10 minutes of caramelizing, move the onions over to one side of the pan and make some room to add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook them in the vegan butter for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms shrink in size.
- Step 8: Once the mushrooms shrink in size, move them over to the side with the onions and add the green chiles. Cook them in the remaining vegan butter for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Step 9: Once the onions, mushrooms, and poblano peppers are tender and soft, toss them together. Add spinach and nutritional yeast to the mix, and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
- Step 10: Season with salt to taste and sauté for another 3 minutes until all vegetables are well cooked.
- Step 11: Once the sauce and filling are cooked, warm up some corn tortillas until they are flexible without breaking. Stuff each tortilla with the filling and roll it up.
- Step 12: To serve straight on a dinner plate, start with a thin layer of the sauce and place the enchilada on top of it. Pour more sauce over the enchilada and garnish with vegan feta cheese, sliced radishes, and jalapeños.
- Step 13: To serve in a casserole dish, start again with a layer of sauce and place the enchiladas line by line on top of it. Pour and cover the top of the enchiladas with sauce. Garnish the same as before.
Best garnishes for vegan enchiladas
Green enchiladas are best served while warm with lots of garnishes! Some of my favorite options include the following:
- Vegan feta, queso fresco, or cotija cheese
- Cashew crema or vegan sour cream
- Fresh white onion and cilantro
- Sliced radishes and jalapeños
Storage & Reheating
Once prepared, enchiladas should be eaten right away. If you have leftover fillings, follow these storage tips:
- Fridge: Keep the salsa separate from the fillings and store them in airtight containers for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this recipe once fully prepared. You can freeze the sauce in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months.
- Wait to assemble: Don’t assemble the enchiladas until you’re ready to eat them. If you make them early, they tend to get soggy quite quickly.
- Don’t skip the garnishes: Garnishes are what really take enchiladas to another level!
- Cook low and slow: For the best flavor, cook your onions low and slow so they properly caramelize.
No, these enchiladas are not gluten-free. The green enchilada sauce contains all-purpose flour. For a gluten-free option, replace the flour with cornstarch and be conscious about whatever else you’re filling them with.
Green enchiladas are slightly spicier than red enchiladas. Having said that, if you prefer less spice, you can always swap out the chiles for less spicy varieties.
More vegan dinners
If you enjoyed these green enchiladas, definitely check out some more of my most popular vegan dinner recipes like the following:
Vegan Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 3 cups green chile peppers, chopped I've used Anaheim peppers, but you can use Poblano or Hatch
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup soy milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
Ingredients for the filling
- 3 cups green chile peppers, chopped I've used Anaheim peppers, but you can use Poblano or Hatch
- 3 tablespoon vegan butter
- 3 cups red onions, sliced
- 5 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz chopped spinach, chopped frozen
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for garnish
- Violife vegan feta (optional)
- 4 whole radishes, sliced
- 1 whole jalapeño pepper, sliced
Method for the sauce:
- Slice the green chiles lengthwise across the middle and remove all the seeds (you can leave some seeds for heat if you prefer spicy enchiladas). Discard the seeds and slice the pepper. Wash and drain the sliced peppers and set them aside.
- In a medium pan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Sauté the green chili peppers until they soften (in about 5 to 7 minutes). Then add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the sauté and mix them together. Then add the vegetable broth and stir until smooth.
- Using a hand-held blender, puree the sauce. If you don't have a hand-held blender, you can also use an ordinary blender however, this will take a bit more time since you have to let the sauce cool for 10 minutes to take it out of the heat before you use the blender. If you use an ordinary blender, then put the purée back in the pan over medium heat again.
- Once pureed, add the soy milk and season with salt and onion powder.
- Whisk until the soy milk has emulsified into the purée and cook on medium heat for another 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the enchiladas.
Method for the filling
- In a medium pan on low to medium heat, melt the vegan butter. Then add red the onions and mix them into the butter till they are fully coated. Cook for a good 10 minutes, and stir occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. Caramelizing onions require patience for good results.
- After 10 minutes of caramelizing onions, move them over to one side of the pan and make some room to add the shiitake mushrooms. Coat them properly with the butter and let them cook for another 5 minutes till the mushrooms shrink in size.
- Once the mushrooms shrink in size, move them over with the onions on one side and add the green chili peppers. Coat them well with the remaining butter and let them cook and soften for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Once the onions, mushrooms, and poblano peppers are tender and soft, toss them together. Add spinach and nutritional yeast to the mix and combine them well. Let it cook for another 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and sauté for another 3 minutes till all vegetables are well cooked.
Assembling the enchiladas
- Once the sauce and the filling are cooked, warm up some corn tortillas until they are flexible without breaking. Fill in each tortilla with the enchilada filling and roll it up.
- To serve straight on a dinner plate, start with a thin layer of the sauce and place the enchilada on top of it. Pour more sauce over the enchilada and garnish with Violife vegan feta cheese (remember it does not taste like actual feta).
- To serve in a casserole dish or baking dish, start again with a layer of sauce and place the enchiladas line by line on top of it. Pour and cover the top of the enchilada with sauce. Garnish with Violife feta cheese (optional) before serving.
- In addition, slice up some radishes and fresh jalapeño peppers to garnish the top of the enchiladas to give them more pop and spice.