Vegetarian Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas
Looking for some Meatless Monday inspiration? You’re going to flip for these Vegetarian Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas. They’re loaded to the brim with melty cheese, a flavorful bean and rice filling, and a homemade spicy red chile sauce for one of the most satisfying, ooey-gooey meals of your life.
Best of all, they take just 10 minutes of prep to get in the oven!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Enchiladas are one of the most beloved ethnic foods here in the U.S. and Mexico, and with good reason! Lightly fried corn tortillas encase a multitude of tasty fillings, then are coated in a rich and flavorful sauce, topped with cheese, and baked to melty perfection.
While I love my Easy Chicken Enchiladas, Shrimp Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, and Chicken Mole Enchiladas (to name a few), I wanted to come up with an equally indulgent and delectable vegetarian enchiladas.
I promise you won’t miss the meat; even my omnivorous hubby and son happily scarf them down. These vegetarian rice and black bean enchiladas are loaded with flavorful rice that is first toasted in butter and simmered with onions and veggie broth until fluffy, protein-rich black beans, and queso enchilado, then topped with my favorite red chile sauce. In short, they are amaze–balls!
Perhaps the best part is that the red chile sauce and the rice and black bean mixture can be made in advance, meaning a wholesome and nutritious meal can be whipped up at a moment’s notice. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this page. You’re going to want to make these enchiladas on repeat!
Ingredients & Substitutions
These simple veggie enchiladas rely on mostly pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Butter – Toasting the rice in a touch of butter adds lots of richness and complexity. Feel free to swap in vegan butter if needed.
- Long Grain Rice – Any long grain rice will work here, including basmati. For an added boost of nutrition, swap in brown rice. Just note that the cooking time will be a bit longer if you do.
- Onions – Any color will work, but I typically choose white onions for enchiladas.
- Vegetable Broth – If you aren’t strictly vegetarian, feel free to use chicken broth instead.
- Canned Black Beans – While you’re free to cook your own black beans to save a bit of money, I love the convenience of getting them canned. Feel free to swap in pinto beans or your favorite beans.
- Red Chile Sauce – This red chile sauce is literally ALWAYS on hand at my house. I like to make big batches and freeze it so that big flavor is never far from reach! You can also feel free to swap in your own favorite enchilada sauce if you prefer.
- Neutral Oil – Canola, corn, vegetable, grapeseed, or peanut oil will do the trick.
- Corn Tortillas – Corn tortillas make this a delicious gluten-free dish.
- White Shredded Cheese – I selected queso enchilado for this recipe, but muenster, Monterey Jack, Oaxaca, or any melty white cheese will also work!
- Queso Fresco – Salty, crumbly queso fresco is the perfect garnish for any sort of enchilada, vegetarian or otherwise.
- Cilantro – For a bright, herbaceous kick. If cilantro isn’t your favorite, try using parsley instead.
How To Make Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
Meatless Mondays will never be the same once you see how easy this veggie enchiladas recipe is to pull off. Here’s how they’re made:
Step 1: Toast Rice. Heat butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat and add rice. Stir until rice is slightly browned. Add the onions and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 2: Simmer Rice. Add broth. Stir and let mixture come to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add black beans, stir to combine, and set aside.
Step 3: Bake Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of the red chile sauce in an ungreased 9” x 13” baking dish.
Step 4: Fry tortillas in hot oil just until softened. Drain on paper towels.
Step 5: Assemble. Fill tortillas with black bean and rice mixture and about a tablespoon of shredded cheese. Roll tortillas and place seam-side down in the baking dish side by side. Pour some sauce over enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese, and onion, and lightly cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Step 6: Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
Step 7: Serve. Garnish with queso fresco and cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish. Enjoy!
These authentic enchiladas are a delight just the way they are, but there’s always room for customization. Here are some variations to try:
- Add more veggies. Rice and beans make for a perfect plant-based protein, plus they’re literally always in my pantry. That said, if I have any extra vegetables knocking around my crisper drawer, I like to roast them up and add them to the mix! Bell peppers, sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and even corn are all great additions.
- Top with salsa verde instead of red chile sauce. Vegetarian enchiladas verdes? Sign me up!
- Layer like a casserole. Don’t want to fuss with all the stuffing and rolling? Make stacked enchiladas.
- Vegan. Want to go the extra plant-based mile? Swap in non-dairy butter and cheese for a fully vegan affair.
- Spray foil with non-stick spray. Before wrapping your enchiladas with foil for the oven, give the inside a quick spray to keep all the cheese and sauce where it belongs.
- Don’t overstuff. There’s a tendency to want to get all the flavor you possibly can into each enchilada, but overstuffing isn’t the way to do it. Make sure you can make a complete roll with at least 1/2-inch of overlap at the seam for the best structural integrity.
- Make sure to fry the tortillas. I’ve seen many “easy” enchiladas recipes that suggest skipping this step to save on time. Please don’t! The act of frying the tortillas helps to create a barrier so they don’t get soggy from the sauce.
- Shred your own cheese. I know that buying pre-shredded cheese seems like a great time-saver, but you’re much better off shredding your own. The pre-shredded kind is coated in a starchy substance to keep it from clumping together, and it impedes the ability of the cheese to melt properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
In our house, corn is the only way to go! That said, the recipe should also work with flour tortillas if that’s what you have on hand.
Quickly frying the tortillas before filling them isn’t just to make them more pliable — it also helps to create a barrier to prevent them from becoming soggy in the sauce!
Sure thing! You can use pinto beans, kidney beans, or cranberry beans in place of the black beans here. You can also use refried beans if you’d like, but skip the step of adding them to the rice.
So long as you make them with corn tortillas and use gluten-free flour for making the red chile sauce, then yes! You can also feel free to swap in any GF enchilada sauce you prefer.
Yes, you can definitely add meat to this recipe, try shredded chicken.
More Vegetarian Recipes
- Vegetarian Mexican Tostadas With Refried Beans & Guacamole
- Grilled Vegetable Tacos with Avocado Pesto Guacamole
- Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls with Hatch Green Chile Rice
- Vegetarian Queso Fundido with Mushrooms and Hatch Green Chile
Did you try this recipe for my Vegetarian Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas? If so, let me know how they turned out by rating and reviewing it below, or by tagging me in your social media posts so I can cheer you on!
Please let me know how these veggie enchiladas turn out for you in the comments below! I always love to hear from you.
Vegetarian Rice & Black Bean Enchiladas
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons chopped onions
- 2 cups chicken broth, or organic vegetable
- 1 (15-ounce )can black beans, , drained and rinsed
- 2 to 3 cups red chile sauce
- ½ cup canola oil for frying
- 12 to 18 corn tortillas
- 1½ cups white shredded cheese, muenster or queso enchilado
- white onion rings
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
- cilantro leaves for garnish
- Heat butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat and add rice. Stir until rice is slightly browned. Add the onions and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add broth. Stir and let the mixture come to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Combine black beans and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread 1 cup of the red chile sauce in an ungreased 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Fry tortillas in hot oil just until softened. Drain on paper towels.
- Fill tortillas with black bean and rice mixture and about a tablespoon of the shredded cheese.
- Roll tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish side by side.
- Pour some sauce over enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese, and onion, and lightly cover dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Garnish with queso fresco and cilantro and serve with your favorite side dish
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: September 2019.