Deliciously creamy, mildly spiced vegetarian green enchiladas! The spinach and green chili cream cheese filling keeps these enchiladas as green as can be – and extra nutritious too! They are simple to assemble with frozen spinach and sure to be an easy crowd pleaser!
Introducing the greenest of green enchiladas!
I absolutely love ordering green enchiladas when I am in the US, but tomatillos, salsa verde and green enchilada sauce are just that little bit obscure where I live now in Scotland. With a little planning and online shopping, however, it can be done!
Traditionally, enchiladas verdes might be associated with a chicken filling, but to make a vegetarian version I am going for maximum green points with a creamy spinach filling which truly melts in the mouth. These enchiladas are mild but flavorful, and super comforting.
There aren’t a whole lot of ingredients required for this recipe, and they all have reasonably long shelf lives, so this is a great recipe to meal plan towards the end of the week when your fresh supplies are running low.
This is very budget friendly if you live in the US (in the parts where Mexican ingredients are very affordable), but less so if you live somewhere that Mexican staples are more of a speciality ingredient.
- Green enchilada sauce: You can choose your favorite premade sauce for this recipe, or make your own – scroll down for some recipe links. Being based in the UK, it’s slim pickings for me! I used Gran Luchito brand here which is the most cost effective option; there are a few imported canned options available on Amazon UK if you’re happy to pay extra.
- Frozen spinach: For the amount of spinach we need in this recipe, using frozen spinach just makes the most sense.
- Cream Cheese: You ideally want full fat cream cheese here, which holds up best when it’s cooked.
- Cheese: For the filling and the topping. A pre-shredded blend works well here. Mexican blend if you’re in the US, or a cheddar/mozzarella or four cheese mix if you’re in the UK.
- Onion and garlic: Any color onion is fine.
- Seasonings: A little dried cumin and coriander to flavor the filling – be sure to add a good amount of salt and pepper too.
- Diced green chili: You can just use a few chopped mild green fresh or jarred chilis if you don’t live somewhere these little cans are easily available.
- Tortillas: Corn tortillas are the best for this job. If you can’t get any, do feel free to use flour tortillas, but the corn flavor and texture is so much nicer for enchiladas. Any size tortillas will work fine, but obviously will impact how many enchiladas you end up with. The standard Old El Paso size gives you 6-8 depending on how full you stuff them.
Green Enchilada Sauce Recipes
If you’d like to make your own green enchilada sauce to slot into this recipe, you have several options.
- Turn a jar of green salsa into enchilada sauce with Easy Enchilada Sauce recipe from Cookie + Kate. I’ve tried this with Herdez brand salsa verdes and it came out great.
- If you’d like to make a version using peppers instead of tomatillos, check out the Green Enchilada Sauce recipe from Isabel Eats.
- If you’d like to make a version from fresh tomatillos, check out the Green Enchilada Sauce Recipe from Urban Cowgirl.
Serving Suggestions and Variations
- A can of white beans added to the filling gives a tasty protein boost.
- For more texture, you could use a crumbly cheese such as queso fresco or feta in the filling instead of grated cheese.
- I love to top these with avocado and cilantro (coriander), but a colourful slaw to break up the heaviness of the dish can also work well (try the slaw from this recipe).
- I love my enchiladas plated with rice and beans, but that can make for a very heavy meal. The below side dishes would be great if you want to mix things up!
Vegetarian Enchiladas Verdes with Spinach
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 red or brown onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- 14 oz (400 g) frozen spinach, defrosted + water squeezed out
- ¾ cup (170 g) cream cheese
- 2 cups (200 g) shredded cheese
- 4 oz (100 g) canned diced green chilis
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 batch green enchilada sauce
- If you are preparing your own enchilada sauce, do that first and let it sit while you prepare the filling.
- Saute the onions over a low-medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and saute for another minute, until fragrant.1 red or brown onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cumin, olive oil
- Add the spinach and use a wooden spoon to break it up and mix it in with the onions and garlic. Season well – the spinach filling benefits from a good amount of salt and pepper.14 oz frozen spinach
- Add the cream cheese, green chilis and HALF of the shredded cheese. Mix through until the cream cheese has melted in. (The cheese doesn't need to be fully melted).3/4 cup cream cheese, 4 oz canned diced green chilis, 2 cups shredded cheese
- Cover the bottom of a pan with a layer of enchilada sauce. Then fill 6-8 corn tortillas with the spinach filling, roll and place into the pan. (If your tortillas are smaller, you will use more.)1 batch green enchilada sauce, 8 corn tortillas
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and then cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil, cover with the remaining cheese and bake (uncovered) for another 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browned.2 cups shredded cheese