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Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas

These chard enchiladas more than amazing! They’re filled with leafy greens and tender chard stems, herby cilantro, crumbly salty cheese, and meaty black olives. A sprinkle of mild green onions adds texture and a bit of crunch. Roll up the fillings in softened corn tortillas and bathe them in a mild red chile sauce–you will be blown away with deliciousness.

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.

Chard Enchiladas--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 filled with black olives, green onions and melty 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. Mist the tortillas with cooking spray instead, 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.
  • 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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PS If you make this recipe and love it, please consider leaving a blog post comment. Your comments help other readers learn more about the recipe. If you’d also give the recipe a ✮✮✮✮✮ rating, I’d be even more delighted!

4.5 from 2 votes
Chard Enchiladas
Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Filled with vegetables and just the right amount of salty cheese, these are a lighter, healthier alternative to the gooey greasy enchiladas of Tex-mex restaurants. Makes about 6 servings.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegetarian
Keyword: chard, Swiss chard, enchiladas, vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings.
Calories: 276 kcal
  • 1 bunch chard , about 1 pound
  • 2 tablespoons olive , avocado, or grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 jalapeño chile , seeds removed, minced (see note)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh minced oregano
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt , as needed
  • 12 to 14 corn tortillas
  • Oil mist , from purchased cooking spray, or from a refillable pump oil sprayer
  • 1 bunch green onions , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • 8 ounces Cotija or feta cheese , crumbled (see note)
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce , purchased or homemade
  1. Wash the chard well. Trim the leaves away from the ribs. Cut the ribs in ¼-inch pieces and set aside, and then chop the leaves in 1-inch strips.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion, chard ribs, garlic and chile for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the chard ribs are soft. Add the chard leaves, the cilantro and the oregano and continue to cook and stir until the chard leaves have wilted and shrunk in volume. Sprinkle with the vinegar and season to taste with salt.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with oil and spread about ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce around the oiled dish. Set aside.
  4. Place tortillas on a baking sheet, 4 to 6 to a pan, depending on the size of your pan. Lightly mist both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray. Heat in the oven 3 to 5 minutes, until the tortillas are soft and pliable, no more.
  5. With your fingers, spread a heaping tablespoon of the chard filling down the middle of each tortilla. Follow with a sprinkling of the green onions and olives, and finally with about a tablespoon of the cheese. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place them seam side down in the dish. Mist, heat and fill the rest of the tortillas. (see note)
  6. Ladle the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, making a point to cover the ends first and spreading lightly over the middle. You want to be sparing vs. generous with the sauce, even if there are thumbnail patches of tortillas showing. Sprinkle with cheese, olives and green onions, for optional eye appeal.
  7. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.
Recipe Notes
  • Fresh jalapeño chiles, especially with the seeds removed, are quite mild. If you want more “picante” heat, mince the jalapeño with seeds.
  • Cotija cheese, which is akin to Greek feta, is the classic enchilada cheese. If you like your cheese melt-y, try cheddar or Monterey jack instead. Or since these enchiladas are fairly mild in their heat quotient, make them more incendiary with pepper jack cheese.
  • Instead of filling and rolling the warm tortillas one at a time, make a small assembly line. Spread fillings down the middle of all the warm tortillas on the baking sheet. When they all have a row of filling, roll them and transfer to the baking dish.
  • You can cover the pan of filled but not sauced enchiladas and refrigerate overnight.
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

  • Barbara

    I was going to make boring old Enchiladas for Fred’s 65th birthday party this week…..but, you have inspired me with your creations! We’ll see if I carry through! Cheers!’
    (a tribute to our Spanish class and Mr. Wojick) Reply · 25 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Here’s to un-boring enchiladas. How did they come out. I remember Manny Penaflor, who talked about football in English, and Miss Voom voom voom, as the boys called her, as Spanish teachers. Reply · 6 February, 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

  • […] Chard Enchiladas: […] Reply · 14 March, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks Naomi for sharing these yummy enchiladas on your site! Reply · 14 March, 2015

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