Layers of corn tortillas, zesty beans and veggies, and spicy sauce are baked up to bubbly perfection to make this mouth-watering vegan enchilada casserole. Absolutely delicious and easy enough for a weeknight!
Enchilada casserole is the perfect meal for people who love enchiladas but hate rolling them.
I often find myself craving dishes like my spinach black bean enchiladas, or my mashed potato enchiladas, but also feeling a bit lazy. I don't exactly hate rolling enchiladas, but sometimes I need a break. On those occasions when I'm looking for an easy alternative to enchiladas, this casserole is my go-to meal (or sometimes it's enchilada soup!).
Also, I kind of just like enchilada casserole better than regular old enchiladas. I think there's something about sinking my fork into a big old tortilla casserole made with layers of zesty fillings and sauce.
I think this cozy casserole is about to become your new favorite (easy!) comfort food dinner.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Vegetable oil. You can use pretty much any neutral high-heat oil you normally cook with here. Olive oil, canola oil, and coconut oil all work!
- Red bell pepper. You can use a green, orange, or yellow bell pepper if preferred.
- Spices. You'll need ground cumin and chili powder. Feel free to add some cayenne pepper as well if you'd like extra heat.
- Beans. The recipe calls for one can of black beans and one can of pinto beans, but you can use pretty much any variety of canned beans you have on hand. Kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, and cannellini beans are all options, to name just a few!
- Frozen corn.
- Enchilada sauce. Canned enchilada sauce is totally fine here, since we're going for easy! Two 10-ounce cans will do the job. If you're feeling more ambitious, you can make your own sauce. I highly recommend my easy homemade enchilada sauce.
- Fresh cilantro. Leave this out if you're not a fan.
- Salt & pepper.
- Corn tortillas.
- Toppings. Use whatever you like on your enchiladas here! Try guacamole, avocado, chopped cilantro or scallions, vegan sour cream or cashew cream, hot sauce, salsa, or shredded vegan cheese.
Tip: This entire recipe can be made gluten-free if you use a gluten-free enchilada sauce.
How It's Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
Heat your oil in a large skillet, then add diced onion and bell pepper. Sweat the vegetables for a few minutes, until they start to soften.
Add minced garlic, along with your spices. Sauté everything briefly, making sure to stir the entire time to prevent anything from burning.
Stir in both cans of beans, along with half of your enchilada sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about five minutes, just to soften up the beans and thicken the sauce a bit.
Grab a fork or potato masher, and mash up just a few of the beans. This will help thicken the sauce. Then let the mixture simmer for a few minutes more.
Stir in (thawed) frozen corn, then take the skillet off of heat.
Stir in fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. Give the mixture a taste-test and make any seasoning adjustments you'd like.
Tip: Not into corn? Feel free to substitute another veggie of choice! If using something frozen, thaw it out and add it when you'd normally add the corn. Fresh veggies can be pre-steamed or added with the beans. The goal is to have them about half cooked by the time the filling is done.
To assemble the casserole, start by ladling a bit of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Dip a third of your tortillas in enchilada sauce, then arrange them in the bottom of the dish. You might need to cut them to make them fit, and you'll most definitely need to pile some on top of each other — this will help to give your casserole structure.
Arrange half of the bean filling over the tortillas, then repeat with a second layer of tortillas, a second layer of filling, and finally top it off with a final layer of tortillas. Bake that casserole until it's hot and bubbly!
Tip: Feel free to include a sprinkle of shredded vegan cheese between some of the layers. (I don't think it needs it though!)
Make sure to let your vegan enchilada casserole sit for a few minutes before slicing it. It will continue to set during this time.
- The onion and bell pepper can be diced in advance and stored together in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The filling can be completely prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The entire casserole can be assembled in advance, then wrapped tightly in plastic and stored for up to two days in the fridge. On the day of serving, remove the plastic then bake it according to the recipe.
Leftovers & Storage
Leftover enchilada casserole can be stored in it's original baking dish, wrapped tightly in plastic, or placed in an airtight container. It will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, or about 3 months in the freezer.
More Vegan Casseroles
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Loaded Vegan Enchilada Casserole
Layers of corn tortillas, zesty beans and veggies, and spicy sauce are baked up to bubbly perfection to make this mouth-watering enchilada casserole. 100% vegan and easy enough for a weeknight!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
- 1 (15.5 ounce/439 gram) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15.5 ounce/439 gram) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ½ cups enchilada sauce, (homemade or store-bought) divided
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 18 corn tortillas
- Avocado slices
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped scallions
- Vegan sour cream or cashew cream
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper begins to soften up and the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, cumin and chili powder. Sauté the mixture for about 1 minute more, stirring constantly, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.
Stir in the black beans, pinto beans, and half of the enchilada sauce.
Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Use a fork or potato masher to mash up about ¼ of the mixture (about 10 to 12 smashes should do it). Stir everything together and allow the mixture to simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
Stir in the corn, then remove the skillet from heat.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cilantro. Taste-test the mixture and adjust any seasonings to your liking. (Note 1)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Ladle half of the remaining sauce into the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish.
Arrange 6 of the tortillas over the sauce, lightly brushing or dipping each side of each tortilla with enchilada sauce before placing it in the dish. (Note 2)
Ladle half of the bean mixture over the tortillas.
Arrange 6 more tortillas over the bean mixture, again dipping or brushing each with sauce before layering.
Ladle the other half of the bean mixture over the tortillas.
Dip or brush the remaining 6 tortillas with sauce before arranging them over the bean mixture.
Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 40 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly.
Remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.
Slice and divide the casserole onto plates. Top with toppings of choice. Serve.
- This could mean adding more salt, pepper, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, or some hot sauce or cayenne pepper for heat.
- Cut your tortillas as needed to fit them nicely in the dish. A square or rectangle dish will be easiest for getting them in even layers, but isn't strictly necessary.
- Adapted from Delish's Chicken Enchilada Casserole.