Get ready to celebrate, because not only is May 5th Cinco de Mayo, it’s also National Enchilada Day! An enchilada is a corn tortilla that’s wrapped around a filling and then covered in a spicy tomato chili sauce. The making and eating of enchiladas dates back to Mayan civilization, where people would eat foods served in corn tortillas. In the 19th century, enchiladas were immortalized in the very first cookbook for Mexican cuisine, El cocinero mexicano.

Enchiladas gained popularity as a street food, but they didn’t look like what we’re familiar with today. Instead of an entrée, enchiladas were plain corn tortillas that were eaten with a side of chili sauce for dipping. Today, enchiladas can have any kind of filling, like black beans, corn, potatoes, and even vegan meats like seitan and tofu. But one thing that you can never forget is the chili sauce. Without the sauce, the enchiladas of the past wouldn’t exist and today’s enchiladas would just be dry, loosely wrapped burritos. So always pile on the sauce. If your taste buds can’t handle spicy things, you can even make your own sauce. Check out the recipes below and adjust the homemade sauces to your preferred level of fieriness by adding more or less spicy chilis and powders.


We can’t stress enough that it’s all about the sauce, so for these 10 recipes we’ve gathered the best recipes that feature it because it’s always fun to get creative in the kitchen.

1. Enchilada Casserole
Enchilada Casserole

Combine the best of Mexican food and American comfort food with this Enchilada Casserole. Soft corn tortillas are filled with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and topped with beans. The enchiladas are then arranged in a baking dish, covered with a homemade salsa, and baked in the oven until warm and bubbly. This dish will be a hit at home or at any potluck.

2. Enchilada Fries
Enchilada Fries

Sometimes the same old oven fries just won’t cut it. That’s when you need to break out the pizaz with these Enchilada Fries. Great with a meaty black bean burger, or just on their own, these fries come with a side of spicy homemade enchilada sauce.

3. Lentil Enchilada Pasta
Lentil Enchilada Pasta

It’s fun to get creative with combining the foods and flavors of different cuisines, like in this Lentil Enchilada Pasta. This dish has all the comfort of a pasta dish with a light and fresh touch from the greens and avocados. Tomatoes, hot spices, and lentils are combined in a sauce that’s “meaty” and savory. This inventive take on pasta is perfect to take with you to potlucks, where it’ll be the first dish to disappear.


4. Pumpkin Enchiladas
Pumpkin Enchiladas

The great thing about enchiladas is that can be filled with whatever your heart desires and baked to perfection and they’re easy to make, too. These Pumpkin Enchiladas have a nice, creamy roasted pumpkin and sweet potato filling, a spicy sauce, and they’re topped with melty vegan cheese shreds. They would also be great with some coconut sour cream and they can also be made in advance for a simple warming healthy meal for later in the week.

5. Quick and Easy Wet Burritos
Quick and Easy Wet Burritos

These burritos can be made in under half an hour. But what’s special about these Quick and Easy Wet Burritos? They’re filled with pinto beans and sweet potato, covered with spicy sauce, and served with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, and jalapeños, for extra spiciness. This is ultimate comfort food! Like turning a burrito into a pasta shell that soaks up a delicious sauce.

6. Raw Enchiladas
Raw Enchiladas

These Raw Enchiladas may not be authentic, but they are tasty nonetheless. A chunky salsa of avocado, tomato, onion, and cilantro is mixed with a walnut taco meat, spiced with cumin and coriander, all wrapped up in raw tomato-corn tortillas and covered in a creamy cashew cheese sauce. These are epic. It’s quite a simple recipe and doesn’t take long to make at all, not including dehydration time for the tortillas. The taco nut meat is almost too good to be true, and the cashew cheese sauce will make you sing. It goes without saying that the salsa is fabulous. Make these now, then enjoy.

7. Skillet Cheesy Enchilada Stew
Skillet Cheesy Enchilada Stew

This hearty, luscious Skillet Cheesy Enchilada Stew is an ode to our favorite spicy Mexican dish in all its glory. It’s a perfect dish for sharing at a party, or around the dinner table with a bunch of your closest friends!


8. Yam Enchiladas
Yam Enchiladas

These Yam Enchiladas are quite simple to make; you can even make the filling ahead of time, as well as the sauce. So when dinner comes around all you have to do is warm the tortillas, stuff and roll them and slather them in a sauce. Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes and voila! Dinner is served.

9. Black Bean, Corn, and Red Rice Enchiladas
Black Bean, Corn, and Red Rice Enchiladas

You’re going to love these Black Bean, Corn, and Red Rice Enchiladas. They’re cheesy, spicy, and made with a from-scratch enchilada sauce. They’re make with affordable and filling veggies and one you pop them in the oven, all you need to do is sit back and wait for the magic to happen.


10. Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

These Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas are so good – crispy tortillas are filled with creamy squash, bites of zucchini, and black beans in a zippy black bean sauce topped with fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Yum!

How are you going to celebrate National Enchilada Day? Try one of these recipes and tell us what you think in the comments!

Lead image source: Black Bean, Corn, and Red Rice Enchiladas