These tasty vegetarian chickpea enchiladas have a simple creamy cheesy chickpea filling paired with red enchilada sauce (use your favorite brand or my legendary homemade sauce) and are incredibly satisfying!
Why you’ll love them:
- They’re delicious!
- They’re Tex-Mex style and highly customizable (see suggestions in ingredients and substitutions below).
- They’re the perfect mix of creamy cheesy chickpea and red sauce deliciousness.
- They’re very simple.
- They’re vegetarian and can be made vegan by using vegan sour cream and vegan cheese ( I recommend Violife).
Ingredients and substitutions
There is quite a bit of latitude when it comes to ingredients and substitutions in this casserole recipe, although I do recommend sticking to the quantities given. To simplify your life you can use store-bought red enchilada sauce although I really recommend using homemade enchilada sauce.
I’ve included my own favorite enchilada sauce recipe in case you feel like going the homemade route. To make the enchiladas you’ll need the chickpea filling, red sauce, eight 8-inch tortillas, and some freshly grated cheese.
You can use either flour or corn tortillas, whichever you prefer. I like to use cheddar cheese on top but some pepper jack would also do. Try sure it’s freshly grated, as pre-grated packets contain extra ingredients to stop the cheese clumping which also stops it melting as well as freshly grated cheese.
Homemade red enchilada sauce
Super simple, but super flavorful, if you’re going to make it you’ll need the ingredients below and between fifteen to twenty minutes.
Use a high-quality tasty chili powder as it’s what gives the sauce most of its flavor. The hot sauce is optional! I add half a teaspoon for medium-spicy, a teaspoon for hot, or nada for mild.
I do suggest adding to taste as it does depend on whether the brand of chili powder you use is spicy or not. For vinegar, I use apple cider vinegar, but white wine, red wine, or malt vinegar would do either. For flour, just use regular white all-purpose flour. Try and use olive oil as the extra flavor is important here.
The garlic is crushed and tossed in to simmer in the sauce, only omit if you hate garlic. Crushed tomatoes can be substituted with passata or canned chopped tomatoes that have been blended.
To make the filling you’ll need the ingredients given below:
Cheese: I use cheddar cheese in the filling as I like how it melts into the sauce but you can use any cheese you prefer. Pepper jack, cotija, and feta would all be really tasty. For vegans use Violife cheese shreds or even crumble some tasty homemade vegan goat cheese.
Olive oil: I live in the Mediterranean and pretty much use olive oil in everything as I feel it gives more depth and a bit more flavor but really you can use any mild oil here.
Salt: I use just a little here as the chickpeas needed it, you can salt to taste if you prefer.
Sour cream: I love sour cream but if you can’t get it, creme fraiche is a good substitute. Greek yogurt or 5% Fage would also work if you’re looking to slash calories. Vegans, use vegan sour cream.
Bell pepper: It doesn’t matter which color you use, just make sure it’s a large one (or use two small ones if you can’t find a large one).
Onion: Use a large yellow onion or two small onions. We’re going to cook them until they’re nice and brown and they give the filling a lot of flavor.
Red enchilada sauce: You’re going to add in a cup of red enchilada sauce – use your favorite brand or follow my recipe below. Unless you’re really blown away by your favorite brand, I definitely recommend using my recipe, homemade enchilada sauce is far superior.
And when it comes to enchiladas, the sauce is really really important and hugely affects the quality of the end result.
Chickpeas: I use jarred cooked chickpeas here but feel free to use the same quantity of canned or home-cooked chickpeas. If you don’t like chickpeas or don’t have any to hand you can substitute them with cooked navy beans, cannellini beans, or black beans.
If you add another 50% chickpeas to this recipe it will also give you enough filling to stretch to ten 8-inch tortillas or eight 10-inch tortillas.
What to serve with your enchiladas:
These are really tasty and nice and saucy so you could even just have them over plain white rice but I love them with Mexican rice. A handful of tortilla chips to scoop up leftover filling or crush and sprinkle over wouldn’t go amiss either.
Next, toppings. There are lots of options for topping your enchiladas. Try a mixture of the following:
- Chopped ripe avocado
- Finely chopped red onion
- Pico de gallo
- Sour cream
- Pickled sliced jalapeños
- Corn salsa
- Chopped cilantro
How to make the red sauce
Heavily hinting you should make this instead of using store-bought! It’s so easy to make. This recipe will yield two and a half cups of sauce which is exactly the amount you need to make the enchiladas.
You heat the olive oil on medium-high in a small saucepan, add the flour and whisk until smooth. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium, make sure to whisk often for about two minutes until slightly darkened (as in image one below).
Immediately add the chili powder (also image one) and whisk until smooth. Add half a cup of vegetable stock and whisk in until you have a dark red loose sauce (check out image two below).
Turn the heat back up to medium-high and whisk every now and then. The sauce will quickly thicken as in image three above. Add the rest of the vegetable stock a cup at a time, whisking until smooth and waiting until the sauce has simmered and thickened a little before adding the rest of the stock.
Now you just crush the garlic cloves and them in with all the rest of the sauce ingredients (crushed tomatoes, chili powder, vinegar, salt, sugar, and optional hot sauce). Mix well and turn the heat up high. When the sauce is at a lively simmer reduce the heat to medium-high again and cook for ten-twelve minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (image four above).
As the sauce thickens, you may need to turn the heat down slightly and use a spatter guard. Taste to check how spicy it is from the chili powder before you add the hot sauce (which should be vinegar-based, like Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot). Half a teaspoon for medium-hot, and one full teaspoon for hot and spicy.
How to make the enchiladas
The enchiladas are even easier to make than the red sauce! The filling is simple but tasty and unlike burritos, enchiladas are really simple to roll.
Let’s get started. Add the olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Chop and add the onions (image one below). Fry for around five minutes, stirring often until browned.
Chop and add the bell pepper (whichever color you prefer) and fry for another three minutes. Now add the chickpeas and cook for two minutes more (image two above). Add in all the rest of the filling ingredients (see image three, the red enchilada sauce, sour cream, cheese, and salt) and mix well. Take off the heat and stir again (image four). Your filling is ready
Now grab your eight-inch tortillas and get ready to assemble your enchiladas. It should take a bit less than ten minutes, so turn the oven on to preheat to 350ºF and grab a casserole dish or small baking pan. The one I used measures 8.5 by 12 inches and it was the perfect fit so I recommend that size.
If your tortillas are corn, or are flour but have been open a while. you may need to warm them up covered in the microwave for thirty seconds or so to make them pliable.
Now grab a tortilla and portion an eighth of your filling in a line just below the middle of the tortilla, leaving half an inch free from filling at the sides, like in image five below.
Grab the edge of the tortilla closest to you (the side with most of the filling on it) and with two hands tuck the edge over the filling (as in image six). I could only use one hand as I had to take the picture, but yup use two just like when you’re rolling sushi.
Now neatly and tightly roll the enchilada up as in image seven above, seam side down or it will unroll. If a little of the filling or chickpeas fall out of the ends don’t worry about it.
Grab your casserole dish or baking dray and add a quarter cup of the remaining enchilada sauce to it and smooth around it using the back of a spoon. It should look like image eight (above). This will ensure your enchiladas stay put and don’t slide around the place when you add them, and also stop them from sticking to the bottom of the dish.
Add your enchilada to the casserole dish, seam side down, and repeat the process with the other seven enchiladas. The fit should be a little snug (image nine below) but this is a good thing and will stop them from loosening or unrolling.
Now grab the remaining one and a quarter cups of red sauce, pour evenly down the middle of the enchiladas, and use the back of a spoon again to smooth and push the sauce over the tops of the enchiladas like in image ten.
Top as evenly as possible with the grated cheese (image eleven). Cover with aluminum foil to stop your enchiladas drying out (I recommend using more foil than you need and tenting the top of it so it doesn’t actually touch the cheese or it will stick to the cheese and you will NOT be happy).
Bake at 350ºF for twenty minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted and gooey. Remove the aluminum foil or the last five minutes of baking to make sure the cheese gets fully melted, and if you want it even browner you can also optionally broil for a minute or two when your enchiladas have finished baking.
Done! Allow to cool slightly before serving and then serve using a long spatula to free your tasty enchiladas from their cheesy domain.
You can but don’t assemble them or they might get soggy. Make the filling and the sauce, grate the cheese, etc. and then assemble and bake at the last minute.
Leftovers will keep tightly covered in the fridge for up to three days, and can also be frozen once cooled (and keep in the freezer for up to three months).
Defrost frozen enchiladas fully before reheating (leave them in the fridge for at least twenty-four hours before reheating). Refrigerated enchiladas can then be reheated either in the microwave for one minute (then cut in half and heated for another minute) or in the oven at 350ºF for twenty minutes. In both cases make sure the enchiladas are tightly covered so they don’t dry out.
Did you make these ? Let me know how much you loved them with a star rating, review, and/or comment below.
Take a picture of your finished dish and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian) or connect with me on Facebook, I love seeing all your creations!
Red Enchilada Sauce
- 1½ Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable stock (480ml)
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 14oz canned crushed tomatoes (400g)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar *
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ Tablespoons sugar
- (Optional) ½ - 1 teaspoon hot sauce **
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 14oz cooked chickpeas (400g)
- 1 large bell pepper, any color
- ¾ cup red enchilada sauce (180ml)
- 4 Tablespoons sour cream
- 2.6oz cheese (75g cheddar, pepper jack, cotija or feta)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1¾ cups red enchilada sauce
- 8 8-inch flour or corn tortillas
- 5.5oz grated cheese (150g, cheddar or pepper jack)
Red Enchilada Sauce
1. Add the oil to a small saucepan and heat on medium-high. Add the flour and whisk in until smooth.
2. When the roux begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium and cook for two minutes, whisking regularly, until slightly browned.
3. Add the chili powder and whisk in. Increase heat to high and pour half a cup of the vegetable stock in and whisk until smooth. When thickened, add the rest of the stock half a cup at a time, repeating the process.
4. When all the stock has been added, add the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar, and hot sauce if using) and mix well.
5. When the mixture starts bubbling, reduce heat to medium-high and cook 10-12 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You may need to reduce the heat more as the mixture thickens, and use a splatter guard.
1. Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet on medium-high. Chop onions and add. Fry until brown, stirring regularly to prevent burning, reducing heat if necessary.
2. Chop and add the bell pepper, and cook another three minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for two more minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (enchilada sauce, sour cream, cheese, salt), and stir to mix. Take off the heat.
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grab a tortilla and place an eighth of the chickpea mixture just below the midline (fold in half to make a crease if unsure) with at least half an inch distance from the edges of the tortilla.
2. Grab the edge closest to you on the side with more filling and tuck neatly over the filling.
3. With two hands, tightly roll up the enchilada applying even pressure, as you would a sushi roll, and leave seam side down.
4. Pour about a quarter cup (four tablespoons) into an 8 x 12-inch ceramic or pyrex casserole dish and use the back of the spoon to smooth over the bottom and into the corners.
5. Place the enchilada in, again with the seam side down, and repeat the process with the other enchiladas until all eight enchiladas are filled, rolled and placed in the dish.
6. Pour the remaining red enchilada sauce over the middle of the enchiladas and use the back of a spoon to smooth the sauce over the tops of the enchiladas.
7. Evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over. Loosely cover with foil, preferably tented so as not to touch the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, remove foil last five minutes. Then broil for two-three minutes if you prefer your cheese browned.
8. Done! Allow to cool slightly and serve. Add toppings*** if desired.
* For vinegar preferably use apple cider vinegar or red/white wine vinegar.
** For mild red enchilada sauce do not add hot sauce. For medium-hot add half a teaspoon, and for very hot add one teaspoon. Use a vinegar-based hot sauce.
*** Enchiladas are amazing topped with finely chopped onion and sour cream. You can also add pico de gallo, guacamole or avocado, corn salsa etc.
Amount Per Serving Calories 888Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 65mgSodium 1729mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 21gSugar 15gProtein 55g