If there is one thing I miss about living in Texas, it is Tex-Mex. I especially miss Tex-Mex at Chuy's, where frozen margaritas are served from a machine resembling a soft-serve dispenser and there is a secret salsa called creamy jalapeno for those "in the know". On more than one occasion, my father has picked me up at the Houston airport and offered to take me straight to Chuy's for Mexican food and margaritas. Best dad ever!
Although my go-to enchilada order at Chuy's is cheese and onion enchiladas with ranchero sauce, I do love enchiladas verde, or enchiladas in a tangy, garlicky tomatillo sauce. Enchiladas suizas are similar but add sour cream to the tomatillo sauce to make it creamy. In this version of vegetarian enchiladas verde, I use a homemade tomatillo sauce and reduce some of the fat by skipping the sour cream and avoiding frying the tortillas.
Usually these are made with chicken but a great vegetarian twist is to fill the enchiladas with cheese and onion. I've made them both with red onions and with caramelized sweet onions, and both are great.
Although tomatillo sauce is available canned, it is easy to make fresh at home and is definitely worth the extra effort. I store the extra sauce in the freezer for the next time I am craving enchiladas verde.
Simply husk the tomatoes and give them a good scrub. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Boil until the tomatillos turn from bright green to a dull army green. Strain and reserve liquid.
Puree the sauce with an immersion blender or let cool and transfer to a blender and puree in batches. Spread tomatillo sauce in a thin layer on the bottom of a casserole dish.
Heat a corn tortilla for 12 seconds wrapped in a paper towel. Dip tortilla in tomatillo sauce. Arrange red onions and a blend of shredded cheddar and jack cheese in the center of the tortilla in a line. Roll tightly and lay seam side down in the casserole dish.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and sauce until casserole dish is filled. Top with extra sauce and crumbled queso fresco.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly on the side. Then turn on the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the queso fresco browns sightly.
Garnish with red onions and serve with these quick and delicious "refried" black beans and sliced avocado. And one of these.
Some of my other favorite vegetarian Mexican dishes include:
- Black Bean Tacos with avocado, radish, cilantro-lime salsa
- Queso fundido with roasted poblano and mushroom
- Roasted poblano, mushroom, corn tacos
- Mango, jalapeno, jicama salsa
- Southwestern black bean, corn, and avocado salsa
- Best guacamole ever
Enchilada Verde with Cheese and Onion
1 1/2 lb tomatillos, husked
1/2 large white onion, quartered
1 jalapeno, stem removed
6 large cloves of garlic
1/4 of a lime juiced
1/4 cup cilantro packed
15 corn tortillas (white or yellow corn)
1 3/4 cups cheddar and jack cheese, shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup queso fresco
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 avocado, sliced
sour cream (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Boil until the tomatillos turn from bright green to a dull army green. Strain and reserve liquid.
Add cilantro, lime, and salt and puree with an immersion blender. Or let cool and transfer to a blender, add cilantro, lime, and salt, and puree in batches. Transfer back to the pot.
Add 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add more cooking liquid to thin sauce as needed.
Heat a corn tortilla for 12 seconds wrapped in a paper towel. Dip tortilla in tomatillo sauce. Arrange 4-5 thinly sliced red onions and a 2-3 tbsp shredded cheddar and jack cheese in the center of the tortilla in a line. Roll tightly and lay seam side down in a tray lined with tomatillo sauce.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and sauce until tray is filled. If you would like to freeze the enchiladas for later use, stop here; simply let cool, cover tray tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze.
Top with tomatillo sauce and generously sprinkle crumbled queso fresco.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly on the side. Then turn on the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the queso fresco browns sightly. Let set 3-5 minutes before serving.