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Vegetarian Chilequiles

Updated on October 22, 2015
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Miriam has been a freelance writer since 2013. Born in Whittier, CA, she now lives in Ontario (California) with her husband and family.


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What Are Chilequiles?

Helping Mom in the Kitchen

When I was a child my mom used to make us enchiladas. I used to help her a little-- but mostly I watched her. It seemed like a lot of work, but Mama loved cooking-- her enchiladas were delicious.

From when I was a child to this very day, I love the way the corn tortilla tastes after being dipped in oil and then in red enchilada sauce! Just the tortilla with that mild enchilada sauce did it for me: delicious!

I was the only one of 6 children who did not like cheese, so I always asked Mama to make mine without cheese-- which she did. Now that I am older I have learned to like cheese on pizza, and lightly sprinkled on tacos or tostadas, but there is something about the texture of cold cheese that I just do not like.

Shortcut for Enchiladas

I watched my mom make enchiladas many times, but a couple of times she made chilequiles instead – to use up the corn tortillas in the refrigerator; that were getting old and falling apart.

The first time Mama made chilequiles, she told me to watch how she made them so I would know how to make them when I got older. She said they were much easier to make than enchiladas because you do not have to dip the tortillas in oil one at a time, then dip the tortilla in the sauce, add the cheese and onions, and then roll up the tortilla and put it in the baking dish; and then repeat this process with each tortilla.

Making enchiladas with Mama was kind of fun, but there was always such a mess to clean up afterwards!


As I got older and my children became young adults, I made chilequiles for my family and they loved them. I actually make chilequiles way more often than I do enchiladas – simply because they are much easier to make-- and there is a lot less mess to cleanup afterwards.

Use Either Red or Green Sauce

There are two types of enchilada sauce that Las Palmas makes: red enchilada sauce or green enchilada sauce. Try them both; they are very delicious. The green enchilada sauce is a nice change from the usual, but my son does not really like the green sauce (he’s so picky!) so, more often than not, I use their red sauce.

There are other brands of enchilada sauce, but the best tasting one is the one by Las Palmas. I tried using La Victoria’s but it looked strangely orange and had a weird consistency; other than that it tasted okay.

Variations on This Recipe

I have checked out several other recipes for chilequiles, but when I notice they use eggs in the recipe I look for a different recipe! No offense, but my mom did not use eggs in her chilequiles, so we are not used to using them in this recipe. Maybe that recipe is from another country or Texas (they have a lot of Tex-Mex recipes that are different than the same recipes here in Southern California).

Try This Recipe

This simple version of Chilequiles is vegetarian (Click to Tweet) because two of my three children are vegetarian. But even if you are not vegetarian, you can reap some of the health benefits they enjoy by having one or two meatless dinners a week.

Las Palmas' red, mild enchilada sauce was the only brand my mom ever used in her enchiladas and chilequiles.
Las Palmas' red, mild enchilada sauce was the only brand my mom ever used in her enchiladas and chilequiles. | Source

Preparation & Cooking Time

Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: Serves 6

3 Main Ingredients: Black olives, corn tortillas & Mexican style shredded cheese


Here's the Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dozen corn tortillas, cut into squares
  • 1/2 large can Las Palmas' Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups Mexican Style cheese, shredded
  • 1 16 oz. can black olives, sliced

Step-By-Step Instructions for Chilequiles

  1. Chop the garlic and onion, then set them aside (together) in a small bowl.
  2. Open the can of black olives, then slice them and set them aside in another small bowl.
  3. Now cut the tortillas into squares; set them aside on a plate.
  4. Measure 1-1/2 cups Mexican Style shredded cheese, then set it aside in a bowl until needed. [If you only have block cheese, this is when you shred it.]
  5. Open the enchilada sauce, then pour ½ its contents into a cup; set it aside. [Later you may wish to freeze the other half of the sauce; or you can double the recipe.]
  6. Add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil to your large non-stick frying pan. Turn on the burner and set the flame to medium. Allow a few minutes for the oil to get hot.
  7. Once the pan is hot, add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3 minutes, stirring constantly so they will not burn.
  8. Next, add the tortillas to the pan, a little at a time. Stir the tortillas around with the onions and garlic and mix them well. Make sure the tortillas all get oiled. in with them, and make sure all the tortillas are oiled (no dry tortillas).
  9. Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Stir everything together in the pan, making sure the tortillas all have sauce. Stir well.
  10. Sprinkle the sliced black olives over the tortilla mixture in the pan, then sprinkle cheese evenly over everything.
  11. Cover the chilequiles with the lid, and turn the flame down to low. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chilequiles are hot.
  12. Serve with Spanish rice and refried beans. Garnish with fresh avocado slices.
The final steps in making vegetarian chilequiles.
The final steps in making vegetarian chilequiles. | Source

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Nutritional Values For Vegetarian Chilequiles

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/6
Calories 619
Calories from Fat189
% Daily Value *
Fat 21 g32%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 50 g17%
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 4 g16%
Protein 15 g30%
Cholesterol 3 mg1%
Sodium 1967 mg82%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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How to Make Chilequiles

Chilequiles "Real Deal"

Vegan Chilequiles

© 2015 Miriam Parker

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