In this vegan enchiladas rojas (red enchiladas) recipe, you'll find salsa-dipped corn tortillas wrapped around shredded jackfruit and queso fresco.
Garnish them with toppings like lettuce, radish, onions, and more cheese for a truly delicious meal!
Table of Contents
Are you team red or green when it comes to enchiladas? Once you taste a bite of this spicy and vibrant red sauce, the decision may become more difficult.
What are enchiladas rojas?
Enchiladas are a staple across the entire country of Mexico, and for good reason too —they're cheap, healthy, and flavor-packed.
But you'd be hard-pressed to find any two enchiladas recipes that look or taste the same way. And that's because there is an infinite number of ways you can prepare them.
In their simplest form, red enchiladas consist of corn tortillas that are dipped in a salsa roja and filled with ingredients like cheese, meat, or vegetables. They can then be closed up using methods like rolling or folding.
Seems straightforward, right?
We used pulled jackfruit and vegan queso fresco in today's recipe so that more people are able to share in this incredible cuisine (without the need to harm animals).
You'll end up with vegan enchiladas rojas that are meaty, creamy, and downright delicious.
Evidence points to the first forms of enchiladas dating back to the Mayans. They would coat corn tortillas in a pumpkin seed sauce, wrap them around eggs, and cover them in a seasoned tomato sauce (a dish known as papadzules).
But, it seems the Aztecs created the first chile-centric enchiladas — terming them "chīllapīzzali," meaning chile-flute.
After the fall of the Aztec empire during the Spanish colonization, chīllapīzzalis (and most of the cuisine) became more influenced by European foods like meat, cheese, and different spices.
Fast forward to today and you'll find enchiladas made with a plethora of ingredients. This dish has been influenced by old and new Mexico, different cultures, and changing tastes.
Are enchiladas rojas vegan?
Depending on who you ask, you might hear opposing answers. In our opinion, the enchiladas of pre-hispanic times were probably quite vegetarian-friendly. Unfortunately, most recipes today contain cheese, meat, and crema.
Pulling inspiration from said recipes, we decided to replace the flavors and textures of meat and cheese with pulled jackfruit and vegan queso fresco.
With just a few tweaks, creating 100% plant-based Mexican food can be easy, fun, and (most importantly) delicious!
To reduce the chance of soggy tortillas, serve your vegan enchiladas rojas immediately after cooking them with some thirst-quenching aguas frescas like:
You can find lots of ideas for fillings and toppings in the key ingredient section, but for this recipe, lettuce, radish, white onion, and extra queso fresco work really well.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: to maintain a more traditional flavor, we prefer making corn tortillas from scratch or stopping by our neighborhood tortillería (we know, you must be jealous). Store-bought brands are no match for soft, sweet, and tender homemade tortillas.
Health: not only are corn tortillas naturally gluten-free, but they are also full of A and B vitamins, zinc, and iron thanks to the nixtamalization process of the corn used to make masa.
Red enchilada sauce
Taste: a spicy, herbaceous, and homemade salsa roja is the star in this vegan enchiladas recipe. We chose a combination of ancho, guajillo, and arbol chiles in this sauce, but use whatever you prefer or have on hand. That's the beauty of cooking at home — you can tweak anything to suit your preferences!
Health: filled with fresh Roma tomatoes and a variety of chiles, this red enchilada sauce is an incredibly healthy addition to any meal. Tomatoes are filled with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and chiles house a unique anti-inflammatory compound called capsaicin.
With so many fillings to choose from, here is a small list to get your creative juices flowing:
- Black beans & cheese
- Jackfruit tinga
- Queso fresco & pickled jalapeños
- Refried beans
- Vegan chorizo
- Jackfruit carnitas
If you eat a lot of Mexican food, you know it's all about the toppings. The right choices can make a good dish exceptional. Here are some of our favorites:
If you have questions about this vegan enchiladas rojas recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: simmer the dehydrated jackfruit with vegetable stock powder and a pinch of salt for 20-30 minutes. You can also soak it overnight in room temperature water.
Step 2: sauté the onions and garlic together, then add in the drained jackfruit and tamari. Continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed, then transfer the mixture to a cutting board. Chop it into smaller pieces (optional) and set aside.
Step 3: seed the chiles and toast them in a dry skillet on each side. Rehydrate them in a pot of boiled water until they turn soft and pliable.
Step 4: simmer the tomatoes and onions together in another pot until softened. Blend the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, Mexican oregano, and salt together until smooth. Season the salsa in a little olive oil to deepen the flavors.
Step 5: fry each tortilla in some oil for about 10-15 seconds per side. the tortillas shouldn't be too crispy since you still want to be able to roll them. Dip each one in the enchilada sauce so both sides are well covered.
Step 6: on a flat surface, add a scoop of shredded jackfruit and some queso fresco to the middle of your tortilla. Using your hands, tightly roll it and transfer it to a serving dish. Continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
Step 7: serve your enchiladas while warm with extra sauce, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, fresh onions, lettuce, and sliced radishes. Happy eating!
Although these vegan enchiladas rojas are best eaten warm, the ingredients store well separately. Just follow these simple instructions:
To avoid soggy enchiladas, try not to store them with the sauce on top. Instead, you can keep your enchilada sauce in an airtight container for at least a week. The shredded jackfruit will be good in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
We use large mason jars to store our sauce in the freezer. If stored properly, the sauce will last up to 6 months. We don't recommend freezing the jackfruit, but the tortillas will last for up to 8 months in a freezer-safe bag.
To remake enchiladas rojas, all you need to do is reheat your red enchilada sauce in a pot over medium-low until warmed. Heat the jackfruit in a skillet, then fry the tortillas and build everything as described in the recipe card.
💭 Pro tips
We'd like to share some tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this vegan enchiladas rojas recipe:
- Fry in oil. Using a little oil to fry the tortillas creates a better texture and adds a barrier to protect them against turning soggy.
- Change up the fillings. Seriously, this meal can become completely different in flavor just by switching up the fillings and toppings. Give it a shot!
- Serve hot. The longer you let enchiladas sit, the more soggy they become. Eat them as soon as possible!
- Pre-make your salsa. As mentioned above, red enchilada sauce lasts in the fridge and freezes extremely well. Make it in advance to save on time.
- Add some heat. Do you like spice? Add a few serranos, habaneros, or more arbol chiles to your red enchilada sauce.
🍴 Tasting notes
The next time you don't know what to make for dinner, try these vegan enchiladas! They're:
If you try this vegan enchiladas rojas recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Cast-iron skillet
- 16-18 corn tortillas ($0.32)
- Neutral oil to fry tortillas
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced radishes
- Diced white onions
- More crumbled cheese
- Make your own fresh corn tortillas, or use a pack of store-bought tortillas. Set aside for later.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in vegetable stock powder, a pinch of salt, and the dehydrated jackfruit. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, or leave it to soak overnight in room temperature water.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add in diced onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add in the minced garlic for another 1-2 minutes. Lastly, add in drained jackfruit and tamari and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- De-stem and seed the chiles, then toast them in a dry skillet over medium for 30-60 seconds per side. Bring a pot of water to boil and add them in. Turn the heat off and let them rehydrate for 12-15 minutes, or until soft and pliable.
- Add the tomatoes and onions to another pot of water and simmer them for 10-12 minutes, or until softened. Drain and transfer the tomatoes and onions to a blender with the garlic cloves, vegetable broth, Mexican oregano, and salt. Blend on high until smooth.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high. Slowly pour the salsa in and bring it to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Heat 5-6 tablespoons of neutral oil in a pan over medium-high. Once hot, fry each tortilla for about 10-15 seconds per side. the tortillas shouldn't be too crispy since you still want to be able to roll them.
- Transfer the fried tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of the excess oil. Dip each one in the enchilada sauce so both sides are well covered.
- On a flat surface, add a scoop of shredded jackfruit and some queso fresco to the middle of your tortilla. Using your hands, tightly roll it and transfer it to a serving dish. Continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
- Serve your enchiladas while warm with extra sauce, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, fresh onions, lettuce, and sliced radishes. Happy eating!
- The weight of the rehydrated jackfruit is 350 grams for reference if you use canned or fresh jackfruit.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more equally delicious variations on these vegan enchiladas rojas, check out our:
- Enchiladas verdes for corn tortillas filled with beans and cheese and covered in a spicy green salsa.
- Enchiladas potosinas to try a unique recipe made with chile-infused dough wrapped around creamy queso and spicy salsa.
- Enfrijoladas for tender corn tortillas smothered in a creamy black bean sauce and filled with delicious plant-based ingredients.
- Enmoladas to try a flavor-packed mole poblano served over corn tortillas filled with butternut squash and melty vegan cheese.
Yes! These enchiladas rojas are gluten-free. If you end up changing the fillings or toppings, just ensure they don't contain gluten.
No, you absolutely don't have to use jackfruit in these vegan enchiladas rojas. You can try using cheese, beans, squash, or poblano peppers. Any of your favorite ingredients will work here.