Mexican food is a gluten-free person’s dream, thanks to corn tortillas and sauces that rarely ever include flour. It’s one of my go-tos both for going out to dinner and cooking at home — my roommate and I have fajita night at least once or twice a month. Last weekend, we went out for Mexican, and the enchiladas I ordered had TOO MUCH CHEESE. I know, that’s not a sentence humans should utter, and certainly not a human like me, who would list cheese as her main food group. But since those unsatisfactory enchiladas, I’ve been craving good ones ever since.
I made enchiladas for the first time a few months ago, and the sauce was more work than making a Bolognese — so many ingredients, so many steps, and in the end it didn’t taste that enchilada-y. So for these, I did my favorite recipe move: glance at a few for inspiration, then make up your own.
The result was this insanely easy sauce, which takes just five minutes to put together, and involves mostly ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Sautéing some veggies and assembling it all is the only real work you have to do. Lazy dinners, and especially lazy dinners with cheese, are the best dinners (so good of dinners that I didn’t have time to compose a lovely photo for you before digging in, sorry!).
Easy, Gluten-Free Vegetable Enchiladas
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
2 large bell peppers, sliced into strips
6 oz. baby spinach
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce (make sure it doesn’t have added corn syrup)
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided*
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon dried onion (optional)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a “Mexican blend” but feel free to use cheddar/monterey jack/your choice)
*If you don’t like things super spicy, just use cayenne. If you like things moderately to a bit more than moderately spicy, use all the spices. If you like things super spicy, add another 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
For the veggies: Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet (medium heat). Add onions and peppers and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. When ready, add in baby spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Turn off heat.
For the sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour in can of tomato sauce, water, and milk. Stir until combined. Add all the remaining spices and hot sauce and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375F. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for one minute. In a glass baking dish (I used a weird 8×12-ish one I have), spread enchilada sauce across the bottom. Working one at a time and leaving remaining tortillas covered, take a tortilla, fill with 1/8 filling, roll up carefully, and place seam-side down in the dish (tortillas should be fairly full but not break when you roll them). Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top with enough sauce to comfortably cover the tortillas, then sprinkle cheese over evenly. Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, let sit 5 minutes, and try not to eat four in one sitting like I did.