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These low carb, vegetarian (aka keto-tarian) enchiladas can easily be made vegan by swapping out the cheddar cheese for vegan cheese. Either way, they’re simple to make and SO good to eat.
Tools You’ll Need for this Recipe
I recommend using a food processor for this recipe. If you’re okay with chopping by hand, make sure you get your tempeh, onions, and mushrooms chopped very finely! An 8 x 8 casserole dish also works well, but use what you have.
I’m an Enchilada ‘Newb’
I just tried my first enchilada this past New Years (true story). Let’s just say, I had no idea what I was missing. It was so good.
Generally, I shy away from enchiladas at Mexican restaurants as they’re usually served on a plate the size of your head and swimming in rice and beans – two things that aren’t kosher for this low carb girl. So I typically opt for a taco salad and spend the rest of my meal eating chips and guac. I know, chips aren’t low carb, but that’s a splurge I’m willing to make. Beans and rice? Not so much.
Anyway, when I finally tried them, I was hooked! They’re so soft and smushy. What’s not to love? Well, the carbs – there’s that. But there’s so much you can do to “healthify” the recipe and also sneak extra veggies in. I’ve made a batch with some shredded cabbage mixed in and they were pretty darn good. However, if you prefer the more traditional feel of a soft, gooey enchilada, I think you’ll like this recipe more.
Are tortillas low carb?
Most aren’t, but there are some low carb options on the market that have low net carbs. La Tortilla Factory has a whole wheat 2g net carb tortilla, and it’s pretty good. However, Mission has a tortilla that’s net 6 grams of carbs per serving and they are heavenly. They’re a little tricky to find in stores, but Amazon sells them (ya’ll know I love me some Amazon Fresh and you can try it here for free).
Is either of these options tortilla options keto? Not really, but you can make your own with coconut flour and cream cheese.
About the Enchilada Protein
For this recipe, I’m using tempeh. Now, if you have tried tempeh and didn’t like it, I urge you to try it again in this recipe. We’re going to grind it down and mix it with a bunch of ingredients, so it won’t taste like dirt. I Promise. However, you could easily use a vegetarian ground meat substitute instead. But tempeh is a far healthier option.
About the Mushrooms – Shhhhh
Don’t worry if you have mushroom haters in the family. They will never know they’re even in there! You’ll want to chop your ‘shrooms really small (I recommend using a food processor) so that they’re almost the size of a grain. That way, you’re getting the added fiber and bulk from the mushrooms, but without the extra calories, carbs and texture that many of you don’t care for. Time-saving tip – while you’ve got the food processor out, you might as well run the onions through it as well.
Vegan or Regular Cheese?
Your call, but I used regular cheese for this recipe because it has fewer carbs than vegan cheese and since I’m opting for those great tasting tortillas, I thought I’d save a little carbs on my cheese choice. If you want to do a vegan cheese, I recommend Daiya brand. They really nailed the melty gooey texture with that cheese alternative.
The Art of Enchilada-making
Enchiladas are really very simple to make. Focus on making the filling first, then grab a tortilla and place a good dollop of the mixture into the middle. Then, as you roll it up, the mixture will squish out towards the sides. Once you have it rolled, place it seam-down in the casserole dish. Since I was only making dinner for two, I used a small casserole dish, but if you’re doubling the recipe to make enough for 4 people, then go for a full-sized casserole dish.
About the Enchilada Sauce
I opted for a store-bought sauce because I had it on hand. If you want to make a simple sauce, you can find a great option right here. However, if you’re a lazy cook like me and prefer buying a pre-made option, I encourage you to do a little label reading before you choose. Try to find a sauce that has low or no sugar and preferably gluten-free. I really like Frontera Enchilada Sauce for the reasons I just mentioned.
Okay, that just about does it for the details. Who knew there was that much to say about enchiladas?
Want to amp the fun-factor? Why not enjoy your low carb enchiladas with a skinny low carb Margarita!
Vegetarian / Vegan Low Carb Enchiladas
- 14 ounce Enchilada sauce split into a 2/3 cup and two 1/4 cups
- 4 low carb tortillas
- 1, 12- ounce package of tempeh
- 1/2 onion chopped finely
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped finely
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp chili lime seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese - vegan or dairy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 400.
- In a food processor, blend your tempeh (if you’re using that instead of ground meat) to a fine granular texture. Also, it’s easier to chop your onion and mushrooms this way, too.
- In a medium saucepan, add the oil and the onions. Cook a few minutes until translucent, then add garlic. After 2 more minutes, add the mushrooms and the tempeh.
- Add half of the 14 ounces can of enchilada sauce (or about 2/3 cup of homemade sauce).
- Cook the mixture for a total of 5 to 7 minutes, until almost cooked through (remember, we’re still going to bake this, too). Remove the pan from the heat.
- Split the mixture into 4 parts so you have a balanced amount to fill each tortilla (just eyeball it in the pan).
- In an 8x8 casserole dish (or whatever you have), line the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of enchilada sauce (about 1/4 cup).
- Grab your first tortilla and add 1/4 of the mixture to the middle of the tort. Then spread it out a little and roll it up.
- Put the rolled up enchilada in the pan (seam-side down) and start with the next one.
- When all four enchiladas are rolled up, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over them (about 1/4 cup).
- Sprinkle with cheese and cover the casserole dish in tin foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, covered, then bake 5 to 10 minutes more uncovered.
- Remove from oven when it’s golden brown.
- Garnish with cilantro or peppers and serve.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.