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Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas

Filled with tender chard, both the leafy greens and their stems, herby cilantro, crumbly salty cheese, and meaty black olives, these chard enchiladas are more than amazing! Roll the filling into softened corn tortillas, bathe in a mild red chile sauce, and sprinkle with mild green onions–you will be blown away with the combo of delicious flavors and varied textures.

Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas with fork and piece cut out

Click here to PIN Vegetarian Enchiladas with Chard and Black Olives!

“Enchilada” literally translates to “seasoned with chile sauce.” The list of what you can put inside the tortillas is just about endless. Rolled up chile-sauced tortillas can be filled with anything you damn well please! These healthy vegetarian chard enchiladas are ones you want to make for sure!

Most of us gringos are familiar with Tex-Mex enchiladas filled with chicken, or beef, sometimes pork, with lots of gooey melty cheese inside and all over the top. If you order vegetarian enchiladas in a restaurant, you can plan on them being filled with beans and cheese.

rainbow chard washed and ready to cut

The chard enchiladas here are finished with dark earthy homemade red enchilada sauce, though you can use a purchased enchilada sauce.

ingredients for Chard Enchilada filling onions chopped chard stems and jalapeño chiles

Mrs. Morales, who owned a Mexican grocery store in Southern California where I was born and raised, taught my Mom to make enchiladas. She filled them with black olives, green onions and salty cheese. Like Mrs. Morales, Mom softened her corn tortillas by frying them in hot oil before dipping them in enchilada sauce.

Chard Enchiladas assembly ingredients on corn tortilla

No oil frying for me. Not my enchilada. Or yours. The trick is to mist the tortillas with cooking spray, and soften them in the oven. Don’t dip the tortillas in the sauce before filling either, because without the oil-fry, the tortillas absorb more (too much) sauce.

Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas on plate ready to eat

I served chard enchiladas to friends the other night. One guy, who I know frequents a Mexican restaurant near his house, gushed, “They’re so light. And really good. What’s in these?” Like I said, delicious. And not what you would expect.

Chard Enchiladas recipe notes:

  • Use cotija cheese, or feta, for salty flavor balance. If you prefer melt-y cheese, try cheddar, or Monterey jack. You could also use pepper jack cheese. The heat quotient in these chard enchiladas is low; with spicy cheese they’ll be more incendiary.
  • Vegan cooks can skip the cheese altogether.
  • Fresh jalapeño chiles, especially with the seeds removed, are quite mild, the picante heat hardly detectable. If you want more heat, mince the jalapeño without removing the seeds.
  • I used rainbow chard for this particular batch, but you can use any chard you have. Just be sure to chop the stems after separating from the leaves. The stems add a nice meaty texture to the whole enchilada. You could substitute spinach if it’s easier to find.
  • Be cautious not to overfill your enchiladas, you want to be able to easily roll the tortillas around whatever you put inside.
  • If you switch in flour tortillas for the corn ones you can call them enchurritos. Flour tortillas make them more like burritos.

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Nutrition Facts
Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas
Amount Per Serving (2 g)
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 1470mg64%
Potassium 177mg5%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 1325IU27%
Vitamin C 8.8mg11%
Calcium 243mg24%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Savvy

    Letty- you’re amazing! And just in time! Lunches for SFF will be the BEST ever! and thanks for providing the ‘prep early’ tips!! Worth a million and more!! Reply · 21 January, 2015

  • That’s a wowser of an enchilada. Must make at my house! Reply · 21 January, 2015

  • Donna

    Can’t WAIT to try these! Reply · 21 January, 2015

  • Diane

    Your pictures are as amazing as your recipes! Reply · 23 January, 2015

  • I’m really excited to try this recipe! I’ve been craving Mexican food for the last 2 weeks! Reply · 8 March, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks for the note Naomi! I could eat Mexican food every day–and I have quite a few Mexican vegetarian recipes here on the blog. Reply · 9 March, 2015

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