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Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas

Filled with tender chard, both the leafy greens and their stems, crumbly salty cheese, and meaty black olives, these chard enchiladas are more than amazing! Rolled into softened corn tortillas and bathed in a mild red chile sauce, with a final sprinkle of mild green onions–this is one delicious combo of flavors and textures. You will love them!

Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas with fork and piece cut out

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

Did you know? “Enchilada” literally translates to “seasoned with chile sauce.” Truly, chile-sauced tortillas can be rolled up with anything you damn well please! The list of what you can put inside the tortillas is just about endless. These vegetarian enchiladas filled with chard, onions and herby cilantro are ones you want to make for sure!

If you order vegetarian enchiladas in a Tex-Mex restaurant, you can plan on them being filled with beans and and lots of gooey melty cheese. If you eat meat, you might order them filled with chicken or beef.

rainbow chard washed and ready to cut

Not these. Here we’re talking golden tortillas filled with vitamin-rich chard, sliced black olives, and mild green onions. Healthy enchiladas!  The “enchilada” chili part is dark red chile sauce. You can use my earthy homemade red enchilada sauce, or a purchased enchilada sauce.

One time I made these chard enchiladas for friends, and Bob (who I know frequents a Mexican restaurant near his house), gushed, “They’re so light. And really good. What’s in these?” Delicious. Not your typical enchilada.

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 cheese.

From Mrs. Morales, Mom learned to soften her corn tortillas by frying them in hot oil before dipping them in enchilada sauce.

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. I don’t dip the tortillas in the sauce before filling, because if they’re not oil-fried, the tortillas absorb more (too much) sauce.

I used rainbow chard for this particular batch, but you can use any chard you have. You definitely want to include the stems–they give this filling nice meaty texture. Strip the leaves from the stems but chop the stems and sauté them with the onion.
Chard Enchiladas assembly ingredients on corn tortilla
Tip: For efficiency,  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.

Make ahead: Roll and fill the enchiladas, but don’t sauce them.  Refrigerate until later or overnight, and pour the sauce over just before baking.

The heat quotient in these chard enchiladas is low. Really, the picante heat hardly detectable. To make them more incendiary:

  • Substitute spicy pepper jack cheese for the salty cotija.
  • Because fresh jalapeño chiles with the seeds removed are fairly mild,  mince the jalapeño without removing the seeds for more heat.

Vegetarian Chard Enchiladas on plate ready to eat

Chard Enchiladas recipe notes:

  • Use cotija cheese, or feta, for salty flavor balance. If you prefer melt-y cheese, try cheddar, or Monterey jack.
  • Vegan cooks can skip the cheese altogether.
  • You could substitute spinach for the chard, but the chard stems add amazing texture to the filling.
  • Be cautious not to overfill your enchiladas, you want to be able to easily roll the tortillas around whatever you put inside.
  • Switch in flour tortillas for the corn ones and call them enchurritos. Flour tortillas make them more like burritos.

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*** This is an update of the Chard Enchiladas I posted back in 2015. Since I’m in Mexico this winter, it feels like a perfect time to bring healthy Mexican enchiladas to the front of the blog!

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!

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.

6 comments

  • 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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