Enmoladas consist of lightly fried corn tortillas that are dipped in warm mole poblano and filled with tasty ingredients like butternut squash and melty vegan cheese.
You'll be left with ultra-rich flavors that are layered together in perfect harmony. This is one unforgettable dish!
If there were ever a dish to describe Mexican cuisine, this would be it. A deep red, complex, and balanced mole poblano covers tender corn tortillas. You'll soon realize why this sauce is revered as Mexico's national dish.
What is it?
You may be thinking this recipe looks an awful lot like enchiladas, and let us be the first to tell you that you're not wrong. Many people describe it as enchiladas de mole (or mole enchiladas).
So, what's the difference? The sauce, of course.
Enmoladas start with corn tortillas that are lightly fried, then folded over with or without fillings.
What sets enmoladas apart from one another are the various types of moles you can serve them with.
Some version of mole (pronounced mol-ay) has been around since pre-hispanic Mexico. It is believed that various recipes were served to Aztec gods in rituals and on other festive occasions.
While the Mayans of the Yucatán had long been wrapping corn tortillas around foods like eggs, it was the Aztecs who formalized the 'true' enchilada.
Enchilada is derived from the Nahuatl word chīlmōlli, which means chile sauce. Similarly, enmolada means "in mole" (or in other words corn tortillas smothered in mole).
While the exact timeframe and origin of enmoladas are speculative, the modern-day version of mole poblano (used in this recipe) comes from the Puebla region.
We can only imagine Poblanos (residents of Puebla) have been serving their namesake mole over corn tortillas since its inception.
Are they vegan?
Mole enchiladas can easily be made vegan, but you'll often see mole made with chicken stock and the tortillas filled with chicken and cheese.
Fortunately, our mole poblano sauce is 100% vegan, and so is this enmoladas recipe!
These enchiladas de mole are best served right off the stovetop. It's important not to skip dipping the tortillas as it creates a layer of sauce on the inside.
If you decide to fill them up, we have a list of fillings and garnishes found below!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: made from a base of red chiles, nuts, seeds, and spices, mole poblano delivers layers of complex flavors that can only be described as tasting like "mole." If you have some spare time, nothing compares to mole poblano made from scratch. If you need a quick and easy dinner, you can find pre-made mole sauce at most grocery stores.
Health: with a typical list of 20+ ingredients, mole poblano has a plethora of health benefits. Capsaicin in red chiles delivers metabolism-boosting effects, healthy fats in almonds help reduce bad cholesterol, and antioxidants found in raisins help decrease the number of free radicals in your blood. If that's not enough reason to devour mole, we don't think you'll ever be convinced!
Taste: it's impossible to create delicious enmoladas without homemade corn tortillas (or from a tortillería if you're near one). Mexican food uses simple ingredients to deliver loads of flavor by selecting the freshest foods. Warm corn tortillas lend a sweet, nutty, and authentic flavor to this dish.
Health: corn tortillas are a great source of fiber and magnesium, both of which are crucial to a healthy functioning heart. We also really love that corn tortillas are gluten-free and contain fewer calories than their wheat counterpart.
Although you don't need fillings for the meal to be classified as enmoladas, a perfectly paired combo makes it extra special. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Squash and vegan cheese (as in this recipe)
- Jackfruit carnitas
- Mushrooms (like from our quesabirria tacos)
- Sweet potatoes and collard greens
- Spinach and corn
You really can't go wrong with the fillings in mole enchiladas. If you have a favorite pairing, let us know in the comments below!
This is where the fun begins when it comes to enchiladas de mole. Although they aren't necessary, garnishes do make a big difference in achieving the perfect finishing touch. Here are our favorites:
- Fresh white onions
- Vegan cheese (like queso fresco or queso cotija)
- Mexican crema
- Sesame seeds
- Salsa roja
If you don't have time for all of them, just don't skip the sesame seeds and onions!
If you have questions about this enmoladas recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: make your own fresh corn tortillas, or use store-bought tortillas if you're short on time. Peel and cube the butternut squash into small cubes. Steam them until tender, then toss in a little salt. Slice or shred some vegan cheese (we used mozzarella).
Step 2: toast some sesame seeds in a pan over medium-low for a few minutes until fragrant. Then, make or re-heat your mole poblano in a saucepan just over low. Make sure to stir it frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.
Step 3: lightly fry each corn tortilla for a few seconds per side, then drain the excess oil on a paper towel-lined plate. Note: you don't want the tortillas to be too crispy since you'll be folding them.
Step 4: dip each corn tortilla in the pot of mole to coat both sides, then transfer it to a serving plate. Fill each one with a scoop of squash and vegan cheese. Fold the tortilla in half and continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
To learn how to store corn tortillas refer to our homemade corn tortilla post.
We always tell people to store their enmoladas ingredients separately, unless you want a soggy mess for leftovers!
Follow these steps to keep your mole poblano fresh and ready so you can make a quick and easy meal.
Mole poblano lasts in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. We keep ours in glass mason jars so it doesn't take on flavors of surrounding food. But, for the most part, any clean container will do.
Let your mole poblano cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. Make sure to leave enough room at the top for expansion.
When reheating mole, let it thaw in the fridge overnight (if frozen), otherwise heat it in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this enmoladas recipe for you:
- Fry the tortillas in oil. By using oil, you create a thin layer on the tortilla to eliminate any sogginess from the sauce.
- Make the mole ahead of time. Mole can take a while to make, so we suggest making it ahead of time. Plus, it's always better the next day!
- Don't go overboard with toppings. If you use a great mole recipe, you shouldn't need too many garnishes.
- Keep it simple. Since there's so much complexity in mole poblano, you don't need an extravagant filling (or any at all).
🍴 Tasting notes
We love enchiladas de mole, and we have a really good feeling you will too. This dish is:
If you try this enmoladas 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!
- Chef knife & cutting board
- Medium saucepan
- 1 small butternut squash ($0.92)
- 1-2 oz vegan cheese ($0.62)
- Salt to taste ($0.01)
- 1 cup mole poblano ($0.40)
- 6 corn tortillas ($0.12)
- 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil ($0.33)
- Make your own fresh corn tortillas, or use a pack of store-bought tortillas. Set aside for later.
- Peel and cube the butternut squash into ½” cubes. Steam them for 10 minutes, or until tender. Season with a pinch of salt to taste. Thinly slice or shred the vegan cheese, and set both aside.
- In the meantime, make or re-heat your mole poblano over medium-low, stirring frequently (you can also use store-bought mole for this recipe).
- Heat about 3 tbsp of neutral oil in a pan over medium. Once hot, fry each tortilla for approximately 10-15 seconds per side. Transfer the fried tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of the excess oil while you cook the rest.
- Dip each corn tortilla in the pot of mole to coat both sides. Transfer the tortilla to a serving plate and fill with a scoop of squash and vegan cheese. Fold the tortilla in half and continue this process with the rest of the tortillas.
- It is best to make mole for this recipe a day in advance (to save time and for flavor development).
- You can make this recipe healthier by not frying the corn tortillas in oil.
- 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 tasty ways to wrap and fill corn tortillas, check out our:
- Enfrijoladas for a tortilla-filled meal smothered in a creamy bean sauce.
- Enchiladas verdes to try a tangy, zesty, and fresh green chile sauce over tender corn tortillas.
- Quesabirria tacos if you want ultra saucy, ultra cheesy, TikTok-inspired tacos.
- Empanadas to try an authentic Mexican antojito made with corn dough.
Mole poblano pairs extremely well with enmoladas, but there's no "best" sauce since it's all based on personal preference! We also really love mole verde.
This meal is NOT gluten-free as our mole poblano contains wheat from bolillo bread. You can easily make it gluten-free by swapping out the bread for your favorite substitute.
Enmoladas are best served with corn tortillas for the most traditional taste and texture. We haven't tried making them with flour tortillas, but you absolutely can if that's what you prefer!