These vegan enchiladas are seriously the best! They’re stuffed with plant meat and cheese, smothered with red enchilada sauce and baked for 20 minutes.
Enchiladas make the best Mexican-inspired dinner, and this vegan version is truly incredible. With over 100 5-star ratings, you know they’re going to be good!
It’s true if you make everything from scratch they are a little time intensive. But you can make the recipe easier with a few shortcuts, or prepare the enchilada sauce, cheese and/or plant meat on the weekend for an easier weeknight meal.
Whether you make them exactly as written, or use a few store bought shortcuts, they are sure to be totally delicious!
The best vegan enchilada recipe
These are the best ever vegan enchiladas for a couple of reasons:
- Instead of just substituting vegan beef or chicken, we are making easy homemade cauliflower walnut mushroom “meat”. It’s delicious and made with whole plants, just like my Cauliflower Tacos recipe!
- The vegan cheese sauce is to die for. I prefer my Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce for the enchiladas. Often vegan enchiladas just don’t have cheese at all, but mine are super cheesy and rich.
- The easy vegan enchilada sauce takes the flavor over the top. You can also use a quality store bought enchilada sauce, but homemade tastes so good.
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
For the enchilada sauce:
- Olive oil – Or water for oil free
- Flour – Or gluten free flour
- Chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt
- Tomato paste
- Vegetable broth
- Apple cider vinegar
Plant based “meat”:
- Vegetable broth or olive oil
- Cumin, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder
- Soy sauce – Tamari for gluten free
- Black beans – May use pinto beans or lentils instead.
- Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – You only need 1/2 of the recipe. May also use store bought vegan cheddar cheese shreds.
- Corn tortillas – You could use flour tortillas if preferred.
- Cilantro, optional
How to make vegan enchiladas
Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.
If you make the sauce, cheese and filling from scratch then it does take a little while to prepare the enchiladas. The end result is worth it for an exceptional meal, but there are some shortcuts you can take to make it easier. I’ll walk you through it here with photos.
First, make the enchilada sauce
Or purchase pre-made enchilada sauce – When I first posted this recipe in 2019, I had a hard time finding vegan enchilada sauce. Now it’s much easier for me to find, so I don’t usually make it at home. I like Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce, Frontera and other store brands.
If you want to make the homemade sauce, it’s quite simple. You’ll warm a little oil (or water for oil free) in a small pan, whisk in the spices and flour, then the tomato paste and vegetable broth. Whisk and simmer for about 5 minutes, until it thickens somewhat. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the cauliflower mushroom meat filling
Using a food processor, pulse the cauliflower several times until it’s in small pieces, like rice. Then pulse the mushrooms and walnuts a few times until they are a similar consistency as the cauliflower. You could chop them all very small with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.
Add the vegetables and walnuts to a large pan, heat to medium-high heat. Pour in the oil or vegetable broth, spices and soy sauce. Stir well to combine everything. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste, then stir in the black beans.
Make the vegan cheese
I went with my Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce, which is made super creamy from raw cashews, and is so easy to make. You only need 1/2 of a recipe, so just cut everything in half. I highly recommend it, BUT you could also use my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce or Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce.
Or use store bought vegan cheese shreds. Vegan cheese has come a long way in the last decade. While I still prefer using homemade vegan cheese sauce for the enchiladas, sometimes I use vegan cheese shreds, like Violife cheddar or another brand.
Assemble the enchiladas
All that’s left to do with assemble and bake!
Warm about 5 corn tortillas at a time in the microwave. I wrap them in a paper towel and moisten with a little water, then microwave for 30 seconds or so until soft.
Fill each tortilla with a scoop of the meat filling and cheese sauce (or shreds). Roll up as tightly as possible and place in the prepared baking dish.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas in the dish. Make sure they are all coated in the sauce.
Now pour the rest of the cheese sauce on top of the red sauce (or sprinkle with cheese). Bake for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, at 375 degrees F.
Frequently asked questions
Often it is accidentally vegan, but not always. Make sure to check the ingredients list for any dairy.
The possibilities are endless! Use a package of Beyond or other vegan meat substitute (vegan beef or chicken) and cook it with a packet of taco seasoning. Or a mixture of roasted sweet potatoes or squash, other vegetables, black beans, cooked quinoa, spinach and/or corn. Soy curls seasoned with taco seasoning or other spices would also be good.
Yes, you can. The benefit to using flour tortillas is they are easier to fill and roll up.
To make the enchiladas nut free, leave out the walnuts (or use sunflower seeds instead) from the “meat”. Use my Nut Free Vegan Cheese Sauce instead of the cashew based cheese, or nut free vegan cheese shreds.
What to serve with vegan enchiladas
- Easy Salsa
- Black Bean Salad with Avocado
- Vegan Queso Dip with tortillas chips
- Refried Beans
- Cabbage Steaks
- Roasted Zucchini and Squash
- Vegan Coleslaw
And consider having this delicious Vegan Tres Leches for dessert!
Want more vegan Mexican-inspired dinners?
The Best Vegan Enchiladas
- Make a 1/2 recipe of Nacho Cheese Sauce. Set aside.
Make the Enchilada Sauce (or use store bought)
- Measure and add all the dry ingredients to a small bowl (flour, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt). Have the tomato paste and vegetable broth ready and nearby.
- In a medium pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil (or water.) Once warm, pour in the flour/spice mixture and whisk constantly for about a minute. Whisk in the tomato paste, then slowly pour in the broth, whisking constantly.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, whisking often to remove lumps. It should thicken a bit. Remove from heat, and whisk in the vinegar. Taste and add more salt as needed. Set aside.
Make the Plant Meat
- If using whole cauliflower, wash, chop off the florets and place them in a food processor. Pulse, creating rice. Add 2 cups of cauliflower rice to a large pan on the stove.
- Add the mushrooms and walnuts to the food processor, and pulse until they are a similar consistency as the cauliflower. Don’t over process. Add to the pan with the cauliflower.
- Turn the heat to medium-high, and pour in the oil or broth, spices and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste, and remove from heat. Stir in the black beans.
Assemble the Enchiladas
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
- Wrap 5 tortillas at a time in a damp paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften. This will make them much easier to roll.
- Fill each tortilla with a scoop of “meat” and a spoonful of cheese sauce. Roll and place into the prepared pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are used. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top, then pour the rest of the cheese on top of the red sauce.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly. Top with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
- Gluten free – For gluten free, use gluten free flour in the enchilada sauce, tamari instead of soy sauce and 100% corn tortillas.
- Enchilada sauce – You can purchase your own enchilada sauce instead of making it from scratch. Check the ingredients to ensure it’s vegan friendly. You will need about 3 cups.
- Plant meat alternative – Instead of the plant meat, you could use Beyond or another vegan beef or chicken substitute. I would cook 12-16 ounces with a packet of taco seasoning, then use for the filling. Soy curls work as well, or even mixed roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless.
- Tortillas – I prefer corn, but you can use flour tortillas as well. If you use larger ones, they are much easier to fill as well!
- Cheese – May substitute vegan cheese shreds instead of making the cheese. I like Violife, but you can use whatever you like. You will need about 3 cups, depending on how much cheese you want to use.
- Nut free – To make nut-free, omit the walnuts from the “meat” and use my Nut Free Cheese Sauce instead of the cashew based sauce.