Naughty & Nice Vegan Enchilada Casserole

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 13, 2011


Welcome to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Healthy Dinner Recipes!

I’m excited to bring back the healthy meals over the holidays. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the time I spend preparing dinner is redeemed with quick, effortless lunches in the days ahead. It all balances out in the end.

First up, is a delicious and versatile enchilada-inspired Mexican casserole that’s packed with vegetables, healthy proteins, grains, and a kick of heat. It’s pure comfort food, almost like wrapping yourself with a warm blanket by the fire. Or setting your blanket on fire, depending on how spicy you like it…


When we got back from our trip, Eric and I both found ourselves with a bit of a cold. You know the usual complaints this time of year- congestion, irritated throat, and dull headaches. It wasn’t a full blown cold, but could’ve potentially turned into one without the proper TLC. I knew I had to put away the sweets for a few days and get back to home-cooked nutritious meals. Green Monsters too! Eating out is fun and all, but there’s just something about a home cooked meal that feels amazing.

This dish was just what the doctor ordered. It’s vibrant, healthy, spicy, and comforting, while still feeling a bit naughty. We can’t be nice all the time.


Have you ever tried a canned enchilada sauce and loved it? This was the first enchilada sauce that I’ve ever purchased (it took me 2 grocery stores to find too) and I was so put off by the taste I almost gagged! I’m not one to gag over many foods, so I’m not really sure what it was that offended my taste buds so much.


Thankfully, enchilada sauce is really easy to make and ready in about 15 minutes. Of course, if you do have a canned enchilada sauce that you enjoy, feel free to use that instead. Just use something that tastes good as it will serve as the base of the entire casserole.

I made my sauce thick, but feel free to thin it out with water as necessary depending on what you want to use it for.


Easy Enchilada Sauce

This enchilada sauce is very “tomato-y” with a nice kick of heat (which of course, is relative, so adjust to your own tastes). I made the sauce quite thick, but you can thin it out by adding more water if you like. To save a bit of time, make it the night before and then store in the fridge until ready to use.

Inspired by All Recipes.

Yield: 2 cups


  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (8-oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 cup + 1/4 cup water (or more as desired)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, flour, and chili powder until no clumps remain. Add this mixture into a pot over medium heat. Cook for a couple minutes.

2. In the same bowl you used previously, mix the cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk this into the pot mixture until no clumps remain and then whisk in the tomato paste and water. Whisk until smooth. Whisk, whisk, whisk…because I haven’t said whisk enough apparently.

3. Simmer sauce on low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Checking it every 5 mins and whisking.  Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings if desired.


While the pasta is cooking, chop and sauté your vegetables and cook for about 5-10 mins.


Now add half of the enchilada sauce (about 1 cup), taco seasoning, and drained & rinsed beans. The spicier you like it, the more taco seasoning you can add. I used a couple tablespoons of my homemade taco seasoning and it was quite spicy.


Stir it all up and taste test.


After cooking for 5 mins more, add in the chopped green onion and Daiya cheese.


Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the dish. Stir in the cooked pasta really well and place into a 2 quart casserole dish.


and for a little crunch…


In a baggie, crush 2 handfuls of your fav nacho chips (about 20 chips):


I recommend sprinkling on the crushed chips just before serving if you plan on having leftovers. The chips will get a bit soft while in the fridge so it’s best to put them on right before serving.

Bake for about 15-20 mins at 350F until heated through. Sprinkle on chips.


Top with avocado, salsa, sour cream….whatever tickles your fancy!

Serve with a big green salad and tortilla chips. Pretend you are on a beach in Mexico.



Naughty & Nice Vegan Enchilada Casserole

Eric summed it up quite well when he said, “If a restaurant near my work served something like this, I would eat it everyday.” I love that man.

Inspired by: Better Home & Gardens

Yield: One (2-quart) casserole


  • 8-ounces dry fusilli pasta (3.5 cups dry noodles or half a 16-oz package)*
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped*
  • 3 bell peppers (I used 1 red, 1 orange, and 1 yellow), chopped
  • 1-3 tbsp taco seasoning mix (I used my homemade taco seasoning), to taste
  • 1 can black beans (or 2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1.5-2 cups homemade enchilada sauce (see above, or use store-bought)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Daiya cheese (or other non-dairy cheese)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 20 tortilla chips (about 2 handfuls), crushed
  • Avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc, to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350F and grab a 2-quart casserole dish. Add dry pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook for 7-8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the pasta or it will get mushy in the casserole. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

2. In a large skillet, sauté the chopped onion, jalapeno, and peppers in the olive oil over medium heat for about 7-8 mins.

3. Add the taco seasoning, drained and rinsed black beans, and 1 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir well and cook for another 5 mins.

4. Stir in the cheese, pasta, and chopped green onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

5. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish. Scoop on the skillet mixture and spread out evenly. Spoon on the rest of the sauce on top and sprinkle with cheese.

6. Bake for 15-20 mins at 350F until heated through. Sprinkle with crushed nacho chips, chopped avocado, salsa, and sour cream if desired just before serving. Serve with a big green salad and nacho chips.

Note 1: Be sure not to handle the jalapeno seeds as they can make your fingers (and anything you touch) sting badly. You can also wear plastic gloves too.

Note: Want a burrito filling and not a casserole? Try subbing the pasta for brown rice.


What I love about this casserole is how versatile it is!

Here are a few different ways you can enjoy it:

  • Leave out the pasta and use it as a burrito filler
  • Spoon the warm casserole over a big salad as a sneaky way to get in more greens
  • Make a quick, rushing-out-the-door, breakfast wrap
  • Use brown or wild rice instead of pasta, or other grain of choice to change it up
  • Add more Daiya cheese (maybe another 1/2 cup), leave out the pasta, and use the mixture as a hot dip for nacho chips!!! It could potentially make quite the party dip with a few changes.



Sinuses clear.

Belly content.

Cold be gone.

Lunch today…

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

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Kate December 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

this looks fabulous I love the idea of a casserole perfect for reheating & this time of year!!!


Ashley December 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

This looks amazing and like something I could eat everyday! I love tex mex type stuff like this. I love that you used tomato paste instead of tomato sauce to make the enchilada sauce!


jenna December 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

yum!!! i made something simalar a few weeks ago!! sooo good! mexican food drives me wild! it’s amazing in every way!


Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes December 13, 2011 at 9:00 am

This looks lovely and perfect for this time of year too.


Hannah December 13, 2011 at 9:00 am

Enchiladas make an awesome burrito filler – I had one last week and I thought I wouldn’t like it but it was really awesome.


Dalai Lina December 13, 2011 at 9:00 am

I really like the idea of using pasta. Clever, girl! The recipes I have tried use tortillas which can get mushy. Yuck.


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

MMMMMMM…this seriously sounds SO good right now! i’ve never had pasta in mexican dishes, but it looks delicious!


Antonia December 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

This looks delicious and colorful. Can’t wait to make this myself!


Georgina December 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hi Angela,

I am Mexican-Canadian, and I can tell you your casserole is the real deal. Regarding the “La Victoria” enchilada sauces, I can tell you that I do not like the red sauce. The green tomatillo one is much better. If you like tomatillo, I highly recommend that you get the green “Herdez” salsa. It’s made in Mexico, and it is much more authentic than La Victoria. You can usually find it in Loblaws/Superstore. That being said, making your own salsa is also not hard as you say, and you can be sure of the ingredients you put in it!

I like the pasta twist (get the pun? — fussili) in the casserole as well. I would also layer it with fresh / frozen corn tortillas instead of the pasta. Love the abundance of veggies. This will be one to try for sure, and I’m positive my hubby will love it too. :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hey Georgina, Thanks for your comment! That is good to know about Herdez brand, I will keep my eyes peeled next time I’m at the store. I love the idea of layering corn tortillas in this dish….it could really be changed up so many ways!


Natasha December 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I agree with Georgina – after living in LA for 10 + years, Herdez is my Mex go to…there stuff is yummy! Angela – I’m making this one on Saturday – your so talented!!! love it!
Thank you and FYI – congrats to your hubby on his new position…


Natasha December 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

sorry for the type-o!


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove December 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

It is unfair how delicious this looks! I agree with Hannah and that the enchiladas would make an awesome burrito filler. We always have tortillas at home so I may give it a go!


Zestful Lou December 13, 2011 at 9:05 am

I’ve had ENCHILADA on the brain. Thanks for reading my mind!


Rebecca December 13, 2011 at 9:11 am

Thank you for spending the time creating the 12 days of healthy dinners! That is so helpful this time of year. Plus, your recipes are so satisfying and good, it gets rid of any temptation to eat the mass of unhealthy foods around now :-) As soon as I get to the store to pick up a few things, I am making this pronto! Thanks again!


Amanda December 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

I love your description: “almost like wrapping yourself with a warm blanket by the fire. Or setting your blanket on fire, depending on how spicy you like it”. I like it spicy! :)

This sounds like a great dish to make on Sunday for quick lunches/dinners during the week.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

Love the photos this morning Ange! I’d totally use this as burrito filling or on top of a big salad. Sounds like you and I are craving the same type of cuisine this week – I just posted a tortilla soup and lately, the spicier the better! I hope you and Eric can kick your colds soon!


Lys December 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

Love a good spicy, tomatoey sauce and I love how easy this looks! Casseroles before the craziness of the hols are much appreciated!


Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe December 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

Mmmmm this looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing!


Julia December 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

PERFECT timing! I was looking for some recipe ideas that could be easily put together in the evening for a packed lunch.
Haven’t had Mexican food in quite some time so this is next on my list. :)


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes December 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

This is so colourful and I love it! Yum :)


Therese December 13, 2011 at 9:29 am

Mmm!!! Perhaps I shall make this on the weekend! Yes indeedy!


Merry December 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

I’ve been vegan since I was a little kid so I was really excited when I found your blog… and your recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta. (I shared it on my blog!: So delicious! I’ll be trying more of your recipes soon… including this Enchilada Casserole one. :)



Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Thanks Merry!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 13, 2011 at 9:41 am

These colors in this post are so vibrant and rainbow bright and a far cry from the cookies and bars and white/brown (chocolate) treats I’ve been posting a lot of. lol

It looks wonderful!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm

heh…well those looks amazing all in their own right! Veggies are easier to photograph though, I always forget that. I had fun today with my salad photoshoot. The bright veggies do most of the work for me.


Emily-Jane December 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

Yum yum yum! This sounds so good. I’ll definitely be trying this :)
Where do you get Daiya cheese?


Emily-Jane December 13, 2011 at 9:49 am

ooo never mind! I just checked their website :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Hey Emily-Jane, I buy it from loblaws/superstore…they have it with the tofu section :)


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen December 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

Holy yum! My husband just grabbed a bag of sweet potato tortilla chips from TJ’s last week as a total impulse buy and they are quite possibly the best chip I’ve ever bitten into. I’m now dreaming of this with those crushed on top!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

They are so good, eh?? I love how their crackers have a hint of sweetness to them…amazing


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh December 13, 2011 at 9:58 am

Bookmarked in my new year recipe folder. I love those chips too so any reason to buy those is good with me!


StoriesAndSweetPotatoes December 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

Oh perfect! I have been craving Mexican. I’m going to make this with meat, LOL


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

I love this idea! My mom used to make something similar and I totally forgot about it until now. It must be the winter weather, but I cannot get enough black beans lately.


Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon December 13, 2011 at 10:04 am

I’ve never liked enchiladas but I’m curious to try them (or this recipe!) with homemade enchilada sauce–maybe it was the canned enchilada sauce I didn’t like!
And there’s nothing like spicy food to warm you up and clear your sinuses :)


Maddie December 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

Angela this looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make it :)


Bev Weidner December 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

Lord have MERCY. YES.


JenATX December 13, 2011 at 10:14 am

You know, this reminds me of a Paula Deen kind of recipe (very comforting and homey) but all dressed up with nutrition and good-for-you ingredients. the hot dip idea sounds yummo too


[email protected] KatieDid December 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

Great choice for chip topping, love those so much! and this casserole looks so comforting and filling mmmm!


Lindsay @ Running the Windy City December 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

This looks so good- I can’t wait to make it!!


Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco December 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

How could you have possibly known I was looking frr the perfect enchilada recipe? Thank you for always cranking out AMAZING stuff. But how do you get enchiladas to photograph so well? They don’t want to look good for me.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm

enchiladas are really hard to photograph!! I always struggle with mine…I find shooting top down works best because it gives a nice overhead view.


Jesse (OutToLunchCreations) December 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

Wow this sounds amazing, I love the veggie, spicy, cheese combo! I wonder if it would work with a nooch cheese sauce instead of Daiya cheese, I’ll have to try it and let you know.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Yes please do…I think a homemade vegan cheeze sauce would be amazing!


Cait's Plate December 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

Oh my. I wish I could be eating that for lunch right now!!


Rhona December 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

Looks absolutely amazing! Comforting and filling but super healthy. Bookmarked.


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy December 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

Oh this recipe looks delicious, I am always looking for healthy takes on Mexican food! Pinning this recipe!


Emily (Edible Psychology) December 13, 2011 at 11:28 am

Wow, this looks wonderful! I am excited to try making it, especially because I am back in the US visiting my family so I can get the Daiya cheese!


Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance December 13, 2011 at 11:38 am


Just wow.


Cat @Breakfast to Bed December 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

In Canada, is it still legal to have BPA in can liners like it is here? I’m curious.


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’m not sure Cat, I will have to look into that.


Kendra December 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

Your recipes are soo cool! I just made your Maple Almond Butter last night and it’s amazingly delicious! I think I could eat it all at once! Might have to try these Enchiladas too!


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