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Easy Vegetarian Enchiladas



Beans red and green bell peppers and tortillas baked in a casserole dish and topped with avocados red onions and cilantro.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Lillian Chou

These cheesy vegetarian enchiladas offer all of the saucy goodness of the comfort food classic with minimal fuss. Chopped veggies, black beans, and aromatics all cook in one pot, then get mashed for a meaty texture before the enchilada filling is rolled into tortillas with a sprinkling of spicy pepper Jack cheese. But there’s no need to heat and individually dip each tortilla in sauce before filling it, a time-consuming technique commonly called for in enchilada recipes. In this quick and easy version, store-bought enchilada sauce is poured into the bottom of a baking dish and the filled tortillas are snugly arranged on top before getting doused in the remaining enchilada sauce and topped with a generous amount of cheese. The enchiladas are baked at a high temperature until the cheese is golden brown and the edges are crisp and curled. To finish it off, garnish the top with red onions, ripe avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and sour cream.

While this vegetarian enchilada recipe leans on a winning combination of earthy black beans and pepper Jack cheese, you can absolutely swap in pinto beans and Monterey Jack cheese and opt for either flour or corn tortillas, depending on what you have on hand. Feel free to riff and customize the toppings to your taste—and fridge contents—as well.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    50 minutes

  • Yield

    6–8 servings


2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ cup finely chopped cilantro; plus leaves with tender stems for serving (optional)
1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed
1 19-oz. can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso), divided
12 oz. pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated, divided
16 small flour or corn tortillas, divided
Sliced avocado, sliced red onion, sour cream, and lime wedges (for serving; optional)


  1. Step 1

    Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 400°. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Add 1 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped, 1 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped, 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, finely grated, ½ cup finely chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, and 2 tsp. dried oregano; cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, until vegetables are softened, 5–7 minutes. Add two 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed, and cook until beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Smash beans until about half are mashed (leave the rest intact) and remove pot from heat.

    Step 2

    Pour 1¼ cups (about 10 oz.) from a 19-oz. can red enchilada sauce into a 13x9" baking dish and spread into an even layer across the bottom. Spoon 2 heaping Tbsp. bean mixture and 2 Tbsp. (about ½ oz.) from 8 oz. pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated, down the center of 1 small flour or corn tortilla. Roll up tortilla and arrange, seam side down, in baking dish. Repeat process with remaining bean mixture, cheese, and 15 small flour or corn tortillas, fitting in dish snugly. Pour remaining red enchilada sauce over the top and spread to cover, leaving 1" at the ends of tortillas bare. Scatter remaining 4 oz. pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated, over and bake until sauce is slightly bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown, 25–30 minutes.

    Step 3

    Top enchiladas with sliced avocado, sliced red onion, and cilantro leaves with tender stems and serve with sour cream and lime wedges if desired.

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  • Pretty good, pretty easy. Ways to make it easier: sauté in the same pan you bake in (large frying pan worked well), and just layer the ingredients lasagne style (don’t bother filling and rolling individual tortillas).

    • Fork knife spoon

    • Cambridge, MA

    • 5/29/2024

  • Halved for two people; kept spicing the same as original recipe. Made filling ahead to let season. Adapts easily to whatever peppers and cheese you have on hand.

    • Betsy

    • Boston

    • 6/6/2024

  • These are excellent. I've made enough enchiladas to know that if you just roll the corn tortillas, they'll break, so I lightly fried mine. Next time I'll use a 15x9 pan, because I couldn't fit 15 enchiladas in a 13×9 and had to put 4 in a smaller pan. I used the medium Old El Paso sauce, which I loved, but it was a little too spicy for my family, so next time I'll use mild. Despite all of that, I think I've finally found my favorite recipe for enchiladas and will definitely be making these again!

    • pipercooks

    • Longmont, CO

    • 6/13/2024

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