Easy Chile Relleno Enchiladas
Easy Chile Relleno Enchiladas are a delicious and homemade vegetarian Mexican meal. You make everything from scratch including the sauce! It’s not as hard as it seems to make your own enchiladas sauce and with fresh roasted peppers and lots of cheese, these enchiladas will become a favorite in your house!
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I love enchiladas. Seriously, we have a secret relationship. Ok, maybe not so secret since I order enchiladas all the time at Mexican restaurants, but still…I love them. When we would go out to a Mexican restaurant as a kid, my mom would ask me what I was going to order, enchiladas or enchiladas? LOL! Now one of my favorites homemade enchiladas are these Chile Relleno Enchiladas.
I’ve always wanted to try and make my own enchilada sauce but was a little weary. For some reason, I was thinking it would be complicated. But, after checking out some recipes, I realized it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought. However, there are also a lot of different variations. I’ve also been on a roasted chile kick and have been ordering burritos with chile rellenos inside them (I know, guilty pleasure).
ANYWAY…I came across a recipe for chili relleno enchiladas and knew I had to get something going in my kitchen. The recipe I found was https://carneandpapas.com/chile-relleno-enchiladas/ and definitely inspired this version. I decided I wanted a spicier enchilada sauce so I looked at a few ideas and then added what I wanted and thought would taste good. The result was surprisingly amazing and I knew I wanted to share it!
Is it “chile” or “chili”?
I grew up in Arizona so I am more familiar with “chile” It’s more commonly used in the Southwest and comes from Mexico. “Chili” is usually used to describe the soup with beans. They are interchangeable (I may have even interchanged them in this post), and I wouldn’t be too worried about it.
What kind of chile pepper to use.
There is nothing better than a fresh, roasted pepper in this dish! I use poblano peppers but you could also use Anaheim chile peppers or hatch chile peppers. If you can’t find peppers or really don’t feel like roasting your own, you could always used the canned roasted chiles and still have a delicious meal.
How to roast the peppers.
It may seem intimidating, but roasting your own peppers is actually very easy. Take your clean peppers and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place them in the oven on the highest rack and turn your broiler on high. Roast for 5 minutes, flip and then roast for another 5 minutes, flip one more time on the side that needs the most charring for 5 more minutes. After roasting you will place the peppers in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to steam them. After 10 minutes, the skins will come right off (be careful, they are hot!) using tongs or your fingers.
What if I don’t want a spicy sauce?
You can use less ground chile powder or use regular chili powder from the spice aisle in the grocery store. It’s much less spicy but still adds flavor. You can also omit the spice altogether. There are a lot of enchilada sauce recipes out there that don’t add any spice or chile flavor.
What cheese works best with enchiladas?
For the best enchiladas, you want to use a cheese that is nice and melty. I used a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and queso fresco. I like the sharpness of the cheddar, the melty texture of the mozzarella, and the saltiness of the queso fresco. You can use what you have or what you like, just make sure it melts really good.
What should I serve with Chile Relleno Enchiladas?
These enchiladas really can be a meal just by themselves. But, if you want to add a side dish, Mexican rice or beans would be an authentic touch. For garnishes, I recommend chopped green onions, sour cream, and sliced avocado. The sour cream and avocado add a nice creaminess and can help tame the heat from the sauce or the peppers. Chopped green onion adds a nice crunch and freshness. You could also add diced red onion or cilantro.
Chile Relleno Enchiladas
- 2 med tomatoes, cut into quarters
- ½ small onion, cut in half (or half of a large onion)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3-4 tbsp chile powder (homemade is best) see notes
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups vegetable broth (you can also use chicken or beef if not pure vegetarian)
- 3-4 tbsp tomato paste (to taste and desired thickness)
- 1 tsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce (use soy for pure vegetarian)
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon (optional, but adds an interesting flavor)
- salt and pepper to taste
Roasted Chili Filling
- 2 large poblano peppers
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and queso fresco)
- 6-8 corn tortillas
- 3 green onions, chopped
- sour cream for serving
- sliced avocado for serving
- Put the peppers on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Turn your broiler on high and get the pan as close to it as possible. Broil on one side for 5 minutes and then flip the peppers over. Broil for 5 more minutes and then flip one more time on the side that needs it the most for 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place the peppers in a sealable plastic bag for 10 minutes to continue to steam (during the 10 minutes, you can get your sauce going and shred your cheese if needed).
- After 10 minutes, take the peppers out of the bag (careful, they are still hot!) and place on a cutting board. Remove the skins with tongs (or your fingers if they are cool enough). Remove the seeds and stems and dice the peppers. Add to 1 cup of cheese in a bowl, mix and set aside.
- In your food processor or blender, add the tomatoes, onion and garlic and blend until smooth and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the flour and whisk together for about a minute. Slowly add the broth whisking the whole time. Then add the chili powder, salt, and cumin and continue to whisk to combine. Now add the blended tomato mixture, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and cinnamon. Stir everything to ensure it is fully combined. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to simmer. Stir the sauce occasionally as you prepare the other ingredients. After the sauce has simmered for a while, add the salt and pepper to taste. TIP: If you want a really smooth sauce, you can give the sauce another round in the food processor or blenderm.
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds to warm them up and make them easier to roll. Keep them wrapped in the paper towels until you are ready to assemble. Pour about a cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of an oven-safe pan or dish (I used my cast iron pan, but a casserole dish would work just fine too). Take each tortilla and add some of the prepared cheese and chili filling to the middle, roll and place seam side down in your dish. Repeat until all of your enchiladas are rolled.
- Spoon more enchilada sauce all over the top of the tortillas to ensure all of them have been coated completely. You will probably have some leftover enchilada sauce you can save or freeze for another meal. Don't feel like you have to use it all.
- Cover the top with the rest of the cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes. For the last 2 minutes, I put my broiler on so the cheese was nice and melted and a little browned on top.
- Remove the pan from the oven and garnish with green onions if desired. Serve with sour cream and any other topping you would like, Enjoy!
- Chile Powder. Ok, so you could use the generic chili powder you get at the grocery store but I highly recommend making your own from dried chiles. It’s easy and has way more authentic flavor. I make mind using my mini coffee/spice grinder. I just buy the dried chiles in the Mexican area at the grocery store (you know the ones in the plastic bags? see below) and grind them up. It takes about 2 minutes and we use the chile powder on most of the Mexican dishes we make. I use a couple different varieties of chile to make an interesting mix, or you could just choose one. Be careful, it does add heat, so you can remove the seeds before grinding if you don’t want too much heat.
- For the cheese, I used a mixture of mozzerella and cheddar because that’s what I had on hand. I would recommend using a Mexican soft cheese or a Monterey jack for a more authentic flavor. But, of course, you can use whatever you like.
- You will most likely end up with extra enchilada sauce so don’t feel like you have to use it all. You can always freeze for later.
If you love this recipe, check out some more of my Mexican inspired recipes:
- Instant Pot Mexican Beef
- Mexican Pizza Recipe
- Air Fryer Taquitos
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Baked Chile Rellenos
- Roasted Veggie Cheese Quesadillas
I hope you get a chance to make these Chile Relleno Enchiladas. If you love fun and delicious recipes…and cocktails, sign up for my email list and I will send them right to your inbox. In addition to my email list, you can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook!