Vegetable Enchiladas

Brad and I made these enchiladas last night, and they were so good I just couldn’t wait to share them with you today. This is a healthier version of your typical enchilada because vegetables and beans take the place of the meat (and part of the cheese) that usually fill enchiladas. The filling is so hearty and flavorful that we didn’t miss the meat at all.

The enchiladas are filled with onion, bell pepper, zucchini, spinach, and black beans. I also put a cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese in the filling. The original recipe called for either queso fresco or feta cheese, but I had forgotten to buy one of those cheeses during my grocery trip. It worked out though because the jack cheese melted nicely into the filling, and since I always have Monterey Jack on hand I saved myself from buying an extra ingredient.

The first step to making these vegetable enchiladas is to make some homemade enchilada sauce. The recipe is really simple and it only takes 15-20 minutes from start to finish, so I definitely think it’s worthwhile to make your own sauce. I don’t think I’ll find myself buying canned enchilada sauce again, the homemade version tastes so much better.

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Vegetable Enchiladas

Printable Recipe

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini (8 ounces), chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or finely crumbled queso fresco or feta- about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup drained, canned chopped green chiles
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • Lime wedges (for serving)


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Mash half of the beans in a bowl with a fork until mostly smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the mashed beans and remaining whole beans and cook until warm, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the spinach, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, the Monterey Jack (or queso fresco or feta) cheese, cilantro, and green chiles. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover to keep warm while heating the tortillas.
  4. Lightly coat both sides of the tortillas with vegetable oil spray. Place 6 tortillas onto a baking sheet and bake until the tortillas are soft and pliable, 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Working quickly while the tortillas are warm and pliable, place 1/3 cup of the vegetable mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them, seam-side down, in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  6. Pour 1 cup more sauce over the enchiladas, spreading it evenly, then sprinkle the cheddar down the center of each enchilada. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and lime wedges separately.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe slightly adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

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  1. I made these tonight & loved them! I also added corn to the filling, and next time I think I might use pinto beans instead of black. Great recipe!!

  2. The enchilada sauce was especially good!

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