A mouthwatering vegetarian enchilada recipe, Cheesy Tofu Enchiladas are flavor packed, texture rich and so simple to make! vegetarian + easily gluten free
When I first went vegetarian, I found tofu to be an easy meatless stand in for some of my favorite foods. And it remains today. I find too, it’s especially versatile in Mexican food. Although Mexican tofu is not traditional, it certainly helps those who don’t eat meat! Oh, and I might add that Mexican tofu is easily slipped in under the nose of those that wouldn’t otherwise know it (wink) and makes a texture rich and flavorful filling for these vegetarian enchiladas.
It’s one thing you’ll always find in my freezer. I typically freeze tofu after purchasing because freezing improves its texture. I thaw it in the fridge overnight, then press out the water once thawed. Pressing out the water makes room for marinade and/or spices. Tofu is like a big sponge! It can take on any flavor you throw at it.
For this vegetarian Cheesy Tofu Enchiladas recipe, firm tofu creates a texture rich interior while the spices, cheese and enchilada sauce bring on those Mexican food flavors we crave.
How to Make Vegetarian Cheesy Tofu Enchiladas:
Made with pantry staples, these vegetarian enchiladas are easy to make when cravings strike. A little meal prep goes a long way when whippin’ up these enchiladas on a weeknight. And it’s totally doable!
- First, drain and press the tofu. Then, bake it for about 20 minutes. This dries the tofu out.
- Meanwhile, saute the peppers and onions.
- Next, in a food processor, pulse the tofu, spices, chipotle chilies, tomato paste and water until incorporated and the tofu is in small chunks.
- Transfer the tofu mixture to the pan with the onions and peppers, then pour in a bit of enchilada sauce.
- Finally, assemble the enchiladas by spooning in a bit of filling with cheese in each tortilla, cover in enchilada sauce then top with cheese.
- Last, cover with foil and bake!
By preparing the tofu filling in advance, tofu enchiladas come together even quicker. The filling can be made up to three days in advance!
What Kind of Tortillas Should I Use for Tofu Enchiladas?
Lightly fried corn tortillas are traditionally used to make enchiladas. The oil softens the corn tortillas rendering them more playable and less likely to crack. I avoid this traditional preparation and instead approach enchilada prep using one of two alternatives.
- I love a flour/corn blend tortilla just the same. They’re easier to work with (no oil) and require no warming prior to rolling the enchiladas.
- If using corn tortillas, I look for a brand that includes xantham gum because it makes the tortillas easier to roll with no cracking. I gently warm the tortillas instead of frying just prior to assembling.
It’s All About that Enchilada Sauce:
After reading the ingredient list on the back of a can of store-bought enchilada sauce, I started making my own. I prefer making homemade enchilada sauce because it’s super simple to make, I control the ingredients and how spicy it is and it only takes about five minutes to whip it up in a blender. It’s freezer friendly too!
What Should I Serve Vegetarian Enchiladas With?
- Spanish Brown Rice
- Spicy Black or Pinto Beans
- Mexican Chipotle Salsa
- Charred Jalapeno-Lime Guacamole
- Chili-Lime Pepita Crema
A Few Vegetarian Enchilada Recipe Notes:
- Flour or corn tortillas will work in this recipe! If using corn, make sure to look for xanthum gum in the ingredient list. It makes rolling the tortillas easier and with less to no cracking.
- Use your favorite red enchilada sauce or better yet, whip up a batch in the blender using my five minute homemade red enchilada sauce!
- I have baked, frozen the leftovers and rebaked this recipe. The tortillas turn to mush using this method. If attempting to freeze this recipe, do so prior to baking, then go from freezer to a 400F oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until warmed through. I’ve not tried this, but it’s next on my agenda. I think it could work, but I worry about those tortillas cracking!
More Easy Mexican Food Dinner Recipes to Love!
- Roasted Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
- Skillet Black Bean Vegetarian Enchiladas
- Mexican Inspired Tofu Tacos with Chili Lime Slaw
- Roasted Stuffed Poblanos with Smoky Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans
Cheesy Vegetarian Tofu Enchiladas
Cheesy Vegetarian Tofu Enchiladas are flavor packed, texture rich and so easy to make! vegetarian + easily gluten free | See notes for meal prep options!
- 2 C (500g) Red Enchilada Sauce I use homemade
- 14 oz block (397g) Firm Tofu* (see notes) drained and pressed
- 2 tsp Olive or Coconut Oil
- 1 C (120g) Red/Purple Onion diced, about 3/4 of a medium onion
- 1 C (145g) Green Bell Pepper diced, about one small bell pepper
- 2 T Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 2-3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce 3 if you love the spicy** see note
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 C (112g) Water
- 1/2 Lime juiced
- 12 6" (15cm) Tortillas flour or corn or a blend*** see note
- 3 C (230g) Monterrey Jack Cheese or Pepper Jack grated
Bake the Tofu:
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Slice the pressed/drained tofu into (about) 1" (2.5cm) cubes and place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden. This will dry the tofu out. Set aside.
Turn the oven heat up to 400F (204C).
Prepare the Pans:
You'll need two baking pans or casseroles for this recipe, one large 13"x9" (33x22cm) and a smaller one (6"x4"/ 15x10cm) or two 8x8 (20x20cm) pans. Lightly grease the baking pans with pan spray and lightly coat the bottom of each pan with a bit of enchilada sauce - about 2-4 Tbs each. Tip the baking pans until the the bottom is covered in a thin layer of sauce. Set aside.
Meanwhile, Saute the Veggies:
In a medium saute pan add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and bell pepper. Still on medium high heat, saute the pepper mixture for about 7-8 minutes giving the veggies time to char and soften a bit. Remove from heat.
Make the Filling:
In the work bowl of a food processor, with the S blade attachment in place, add the tofu, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, chipotle peppers, salt, water and lime juice. Pulse the mixture 3-4 times and scrape down the side of the bowl. Pulse 1-2 more times. The mixture should be in small to medium chunky bits.
Transfer the filling to the pan with the peppers and add 1/4 C (59g) of enchilada sauce. Stir to mix. No need to reheat. Set aside.
Assemble the Enchiladas:
If using corn tortillas, wrap in foil and pop them in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, just to steam/soften. Or, heat the corn tortillas directly on the stove top on an open flame, about 10-15 seconds per side. Set in foil and cover after each tortilla is added. If using flour or a mixture of flour/corn or flour tortillas, there's no need to warm the tortillas.
Place one tortilla on a work surface and spoon in about 3-4 Tbs of filling then top with about the same amount of cheese. Gently roll the tortilla and place seam side down in the pan. Repeat this process until all the enchiladas are made. If you have any leftover filling, spoon it along the edges of the assembled tortillas.
Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the tortillas, and use a spoon to make sure all the exposed tortillas are covered in the sauce (even if it's a thin layer - that's okay). Be sure to get the areas in between the enchiladas too! Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake the Enchiladas:
Cover the pans with foil and bake at 400F for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and warmed through.
Remove from oven and let set for five minutes before sharing.
Serve (optional) with salsa, cilantro, pepita crema, sour cream, jalapeños, avocado slices and/or black olives.
For leftovers, transfer the enchiladas to a covered container to store up to three days in the refrigerator.
To reheat refrigerated enchiladas, preheat oven to 400F cover with foil and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
Tofu filling can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator or frozen for longer storage (with or without the enchilada sauce).
I've attempted baking, freezing then reheating the frozen enchiladas, but the tortillas turned to mush. When I make these again, I'll freeze prior to adding the sauce and cheese and see how that goes. IF you do this, please let us know how it goes in the comments!
*If time permits, freeze the tofu when you bring it home from the store. Something magical happens in the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, before use. Since tofu is packaged in water, we need press the water out of it to make room for flavor! To press thawed tofu, use a tea towel and place it under and on top of the tofu. Set it on a plate. Place something heavy on top, like a cutting board, another plate or a not-so-full box of wine to press the water out. We don't want it too heavy or it will squash the tofu. Move the tea towel a few times to a dryer area of the towel so it can absorb more water. Press for about 20-30 minutes, up to an hour if you have time.
**Find Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce in the Mexican food section of your grocery store. Left overs freeze with ease in a small lidded jar.
***If using corn tortillas, make sure they include xanthum or guar gum if possible. I find this prevents corn tortillas from drying out and cracking when rolling the tortillas. I like Mission organic and La Tortilla Factory. If using flour tortillas, I prefer a corn-flour blend, like La Tortilla Factory's corn and wheat tortillas or yellow corn and wheat.