It would probably be an excellent idea for me to eat these right now.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

Or not.

But it would be an excellent idea for you to eat them, of course.

The past three days were an extension of birthday bonanza fun and consisted of eating all the foods. Really. ALL the foods. I don’t even know if I can name a food that I didn’t consume this weekend. Besides stuff like broccoli of course.

But I did have kale! That counts. Don’t ask me how much cheese was involved.

I also ate a lot of sage and it is green and looks like a vegetable so I’m adding it there as well.

The consensus is that today should be this or a salad.

P.S. hey cilantro haters: how much do you want to punch me right now?

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

As longtime enchilada fans (enchis were the first thing I ever made for my husband way back in the day), it took us a good while to venture from chicken to beef. We just adored the chicken version so much that when it came to Mexican food night in our house, we reserved the ground beef for more traditional tacos in the hard yellow shells. Or salads. Throw some seasoned ground beef on a salad with lots of cheese and salsa and guac and tortilla chips and I will eat more salad than anyone ever to live. Just try me.

And don’t even ask: of course it is still a salad. I just like a little lettuce with my salad. Don’t we all?

I’m not sure if I can fully convey just how often we eat enchiladas in this house. I mean, I’m sure it comes as anything but a surprise given that more than half of my recipes are really just a trashed up hybrid of some classic tex-mex dish, like nachos or tacos or whatever.

But let me be clear in saying that enchiladas are what started the whole obsession almost ten years ago. They are the instigator. I love them for it.

So practically every week, we switch off between chicken, turkey, pork or beef enchiladas. The whole shebang. Each recipe is slightly similar but honestly – I never measure a thing when making these. Add as much meat you want, add as many vegetables as you want. I won’t judge you. Okay, well I might, but I certainly won’t if you grate a whole brick of cheese on top. That’s just normal.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

Depending on our mood and the other things we are eating that week, we alternate between regular flour, corn and whole wheat tortillas. A few years ago after posting my BBQ chicken enchiladas, I started making my own enchilada sauce after so many of you suggested it. It’s super and quick and easy and delicious… and we definitely prefer it over a canned version. However, if I’m short on time, we’re starving or I have about 83 pots and pans on my stovetop (like, always), I will grab a good old can. I’m not above it. Finally, like most other things in life, the toppings MAKE these little stuffed tortillas. I like to load it up, he keeps it simple.

If you’re in a serious enchilada mood, let me tickle your fancy: we have some butternut squash enchiladas, Thai chicken enchiladas, buffalo chicken enchiladas and these small-batch veggie enchiladas.

Now if that doesn’t explain my infatuation… not sure what will.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I


Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 1 hour


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
10 whole wheat tortillas

for serving: green onions, cilantro, sour cream, avocado

enchilada sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the olive oil along with the peppers, onions and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green chiles then add the beef. Break the beef apart with a spoon and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned, stirring well. Turn off heat.

Add 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce and 2 ounces of the cheese to the skillet. Add another 1/3 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out with a spoon. Add the beef filling to the center of each tortilla and rolls them tightly, placing them next to each other in the dish. When finished, cover the tortillas with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and melted on top.

enchilada sauce
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes before using.

[sauce adapted from emeril]

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

I’m about to eat this for breakfast.

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97 Responses to “Our Favorite Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce.”

  1. #
    Shana B — November 16, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. These were delicious for dinner this evening.


  2. #
    Nicole Bernhardt — December 2, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    These are absolutely great. I loved the enchilada sauce. i used Ancho Chili Powder. So good!!


    • Ale — February 6th, 2014 @ 2:32 am

      Good choice of adding chile ancho, tht is the main iingredient of an authentic Mexican red enchiladas.


  3. #
    Stacy — December 5, 2013 @ 11:19 am

    I made these last night. They are delicious!! The sauce was really easy to make, and it all turned out great. (Although, not quite as pretty as yours. The last photo looks amazing!) I think I’ll amp the heat up for next time-I used a can of mild green chiles.
    Thanks for the great recipe!


  4. #
    Kelsey — December 9, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    We made this for dinner last night – halved the chili powder because I am a spice wimp. But we LOVED them! They blew our old enchilada recipe out of the water. Thanks so much for the recipe! <3


  5. #
    Shelly — December 10, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    I’m so excited to have an enchilada sauce recipe! I’ll get a craving for enchiladas then need to go to the stupid store to get a can of sauce, or some weird peppers and ingredients. Everything for this is in my pantry-I love it!


  6. #
    Heidi — December 11, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

    Made these tonight for a holiday dinner party, they were amazing! The homemade sauce was so good I could have drank it! Thank you!


  7. #
    Shelly — December 30, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

    The homemade sauce will now have a permanent home in my fridge so we always need to make enchiladas to use it up. It is so easy and so good! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Leftovers tonight-yay!


  8. #
    Ana Maria — January 28, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

    These were really good! My husband especially liked them. Thanks for always solving my dinner dilemmas :)


  9. #
    Elaine — February 16, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

    I’m making these tonight! Last Sunday I made your BBQ chicken enchiladas and have some left in the freezer for a last minute lunch :). Thanks for the yummies!


  10. #
    Heather — February 26, 2014 @ 12:45 am

    Another awesome recipe, Jessica! It was our first time making enchiladas and we were definitely not disappointed – in fact, we’ve already made them twice. The sauce is super quick to make but so flavourful, and I love the texture of the tortillas once they’re baked. They make for great leftovers, too!


  11. #
    Stephanie — February 27, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

    Can I prepare these in advance, refrigerate, and bake later? Thinking of leaving sauce and cheese off the top until I’m ready to put them in the oven, but was wondering about the sauce at the bottom of the pan. Think they’ll get soggy?


    • Jessica — February 27th, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

      yes definitely! you can even add the sauce and the cheese. they won’t get soggy, but enchis are soft to begin with so you don’t need to worry about that!


      • Stephanie — February 27th, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

        Thanks for your quick reply. I’m making them now! Doubled the recipe to bring to a sick friend and her family. Can’t wait to share!

  12. #
    Stefanie — May 20, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    Made these last night! Great recipe! :-)


  13. #
    Kelly — September 9, 2014 @ 5:42 am

    Just made these for dinner last night. My husband is a super picky eater and he loved these! Said they were the best Mexican style food he’s ever had. I will for sure add these to our dinner rotation.


  14. #
    Shannon — December 7, 2014 @ 2:23 am

    I made this recipe tonight for dinner and it was delicious! :)


  15. #
    LJ — May 3, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

    Totally looking forward to trying this…but do you think this if freezable AFTER it’s cooked? If so, how do you suggest freezing it? Would they hold up if you froze them individually in containers (that’s generally what I do – there’s just two of us – and we have a freezer meal ready to go!).


  16. #
    Alison — October 4, 2015 @ 2:02 pm

    Are those green and red BELL peppers?



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