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Vegetarian Tex-Mex Enchiladas [Recipe]

 How to Make Delicious Tex-Mex at Home:

I could (and may) write another “Why Texas is the Best State in America” post that focuses solely on this incredible style of food.  Tex-Mex, the stuff of dreams.  What defines Tex-Mex?  It’s simple: take your favorite Mexican recipe, then add a pile of cheese to it.  Alright, well it might not really be *that* simple, but that’s the basic idea.  I don’t have pictures of the process yet, but here are my recipes for Vegetarian Tex-Mex Enchiladas (with chicken option), Mexican Rice, Charro Beans, and Spicy Salsa.

Spicy Salsa


  • 2 cans of whole tomato
  • 1/4 of medium white onion 
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 large handfuls cilantro (to taste)
  • Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Seasoning (to taste, about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add extra seasoning or lime juice as needed.  Serve cold or at room temperature with corn chips.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Mexican Rice

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Heat oil over medium heat.  Add rice and toast until lightly brown.
  2. Add two cups water and raise heat to medium-high.  Stir and cook until boiling.
  3. Lower heat and add spices.  Stir for two minutes.
  4. Add onion, salsa, tomato, and jalapeno.  Stir for two minutes.
  5. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, or until rice is light and fluffy.  Stir occasionally.
  6. Serve hot.

Far from Vegetarian Charro Beans

  • 4 cans pinto beans
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package mesquite-grilled sausage
  • 1 package smoked bacon
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 handful cilantro
  1. Slice bacon and sausage.  Cook over medium heat until mostly done (they will finish cooking in the beans).  Do not drain the grease.
  2. In a large pot, combine the beans (do not drain the cans), bacon, and sausage.  Set heat to medium-low.
  3. In the bacon greased pan, cook the onions and peppers until soft.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the large pot and cook for at least 30 minutes.  The longer it cooks, the better.
  5. Serve in bowls with broth, or over rice.  A bowl of rice, beans, cheese, and salsa is a nice snack.

Vegetarian Tex-Mex Enchiladas

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
  1. Mix the tomato paste and water until smooth.
  2. Add spices and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until it is reduced to the desired consistency.
  3. This sauce should be pretty thick.  A traditional Tex-Mex sauce would add ground beef.  I’m also going to experiment with a different red sauce that uses vegetable broth and flour instead of tomato paste.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced; alternatively, 1 small can green chile pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • Shredded roasted chicken, optional
  1. Cook butter, onions, peppers, and cilantro over low heat until soft.  If using chicken, mix in with chicken.

Making the Enchiladas:

  • Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Corn tortillas.  I used a corn/flour mixture this time and it was delicious
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  1. Cover the tortillas with a paper towel and warm in a microwave for about 20 seconds.
  2. There are two methods for cooking the enchiladas: individually or all together in a casserole dish.
  3. Either way, form each enchilada: one tortilla, if you are making vegetarian enchiladas, use about 1/3 cup cheese and 1 Tbsp. filling per tortilla, adjusting for taste and based on the size of your tortillas.  If you are making chicken enchiladas, use about 1/4 cup cheese and 2-3 Tbsp. of the chicken filling.
  4. Tightly roll each enchilada.  If you want to do them individually, place on an oven or microwave safe plate.  Cover each enchilada with the sauce, Jack cheese, and sprinkle with red onion.  Cook until the cheese is completely melted.  Serve with rice and beans.  To cook a full pan of enchiladas, use an oven-safe, lightly greased casserole dish or baking pan.  Roll each enchilada and place in the dish.  Cover the entire dish with sauce, cheese, and onions.  Use a spatula to serve carefully.
  5. Garnish with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, or sour cream if desired.

This meal is by no means healthy, but it is a delicious classic that will please any crowd.  It’s one of my favorite comfort foods for any time of year, and it’s a simple and easy way to fill up and feel good.  Just try not to fill up on chips and salsa first!  I hope you enjoy this awesome Texas tradition!

-Libbi Duncan, The Cornucopia Woman

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