Hearty and comforting vegan enchiladas stuffed with black beans, sweet potato, corn and spinach wrapped up in flour tortillas and covered with a combination of smokey enchilada sauce and an easy creamy dairy-free cheese sauce. This recipe is so delicious and perfect for cooler evenings!
Lately I have been looking for cozy, comforting food and enchiladas have been the answer to my craving. I traditionally make them using the packet kit that you can buy at the supermarket because convenience is my friend, but served with a little extra time to put into my meals recently, I decided it was time to make them from scratch.
Something that I always struggle with when making big comforting, cheesy based meals is how to get that same experience but without the dairy. There are many dairy-free and vegan cheese alternatives available now, and I have probably tried most of them, but the problem is that only about 20% of them actually taste good and it’s even harder to get them to melt and react like normal cheese.
For this dish I decided that a cashew cheese sauce was probably going to be my best bet to get that creamy, cheesy texture and flavour but without the dairy. Cashews are one of those foods like cauliflower that can do things that you probably didn’t realise. When blended, cashews turn into a beautifully creamy sauce with a subtle cheesy taste which is perfect for baked meals like these enchiladas.
With the cheese portion sorted, it was onto my filling. I decided to keep things on the healthier side and go with a combination of roasted sweet potatoes and black beans which worked perfectly when wrapped up in flour tortillas and covered with spicy enchilada sauce and the creamy cashew cheese sauce.
What enchilada sauce should I use?
For these enchiladas I use (and totally recommend) that you make a batch of my easy homemade enchilada sauce. You boil everything together and then blend it to make it super smooth.
It’s smokey, a little spicy, and rich with spices and tomato flavours. It is so much better than store bought and you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or freezer until your enchilada craving hits.
If you are looking for less time in the kitchen, I hear you and you can sub in store bought in a pinch. This is your enchilada story, make it your own.
How to make vegan enchiladas
There are a few steps to this recipe as you get all the parts ready and then assemble.
First make your sauce (if you’re going down the homemade road), then make your cashew cheese sauce. For the cashew cheese, you will need to soak your cashews in water for 2 hours prior to blending them to ensure they blend up super smooth and creamy. If you have a fancy, high speed blender then you may be able to skip this step, but I do not (and I guess most people do not) so you will need to soak them. Don’t soak them overnight though as this will make them too watery for what we need here. 2 hours is the perfect time.
Put all of your cashew cheese sauce ingredients in a blender and wizz together until white and creamy. I like to add some nutritional yeast to the sauce to get that extra cheesy taste, but if you don’t have any then it’s totally fine to omit and the sauce will still taste delicious.
Once the cheese sauce is made, set aside and get onto preparing the filling. Roast your sweet potatoes with a few spices and then mix together with a can of black beans and any other vegetables you like. I used corn and spinach because that is what I had on hand. Use a little of the enchilada sauce and the cashew cheese sauce in the filling and mix it up.
Now it’s time to assemble! Grab your flour tortillas and place some filling in the middle and roll up tightly. Place seam side down in a baking dish that has had a little of the enchilada sauce placed in the bottom to prevent the tortillas sticking.
As to the size of the tortillas, use what you have and like. My favourite ones are about 25 cm in diameter which is perfect for the size of my baking dish and makes six large enchiladas. You can use the smaller taco sized ones if you prefer and you’ll probably need 12 to use up all the mix.
Once all the filling is wrapped up in the tortillas and they are sitting snuggly in your baking dish, cover the tops with more enchilada sauce and the cashew cheese sauce and then bake. I like to just put the sauce in the middle so there are still some of the tortillas exposed at the sides to get all golden and crunchy.
Once baked, serve straight away. You can serve these enchiladas with a side of fresh salad or mexican rice, but I usually just like an extra enchilada if I am being honest.
Can you freeze these enchiladas?
Yes. As this makes a big batch, I like to freeze the leftovers in single serve portions for future delicious lunches.
To freeze I place the enchilada in a plastic container, and then when I go to reheat, just remove the enchilada from the container, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven to defrost. Once warmed through, remove the foil and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes until the tortilla starts to crisp up again.
You could microwave them, but I would still recommend finishing in the oven or under the grill otherwise you will end up with a soggy enchilada which no one wants.
Also if you are going to freeze them, I recommend leaving out the spinach as it does not freeze and reheat well.
Now that the weather has started to cool down, it’s time to enjoy all our favourite cozy, comfort meals and this is just perfect for that. Plus this version is much healthier than the traditional making it a perfect choice when you still want to sneak in that nutrition and serve of veggies.
Once you have the core steps down here you can start to experiment with different filling options and get creative with enchilada nights.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
For the cashew cheese sauce:
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast optional
For the filling:
- 3 cups sweet potato cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup corn kernels
- 1 x 400 gram can black beans rinsed
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup enchilada sauce
- ½ cup cashew cheese sauce
- 6 regular flour tortillas
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce divided
- ⅓ cup cashew cheese sauce
- Make the enchilada sauce.
- Make the cashew cheese sauce. Soak the cashews in water for 2 hours to soften them. Drain the cashews and add to your blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Add the sweet potato that has been cut into 1.5 cm pieces and drizzle with olive oil. Add the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and toss until the sweet potatoes are covered. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the corn kernels and toss to combine before placing back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- In a bowl combine the roasted sweet potatoes and corn with the remaining filling ingredients and mix together.
- In a casserole dish spread out ½ cup of enchilada sauce. Place spoonfuls of the filling into the centre of a tortilla and tightly roll up and place seal side down in the prepared dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the top, followed by the cashew cheese sauce. Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until the edges of the tortillas are golden brown.
- Serve immediately topped with avocado and lime wedges.