This sweet and spicy vegan enchilada casserole is a fun and nutritious take on traditional enchiladas, packed with whole foods and pineapple to perfectly balance out the spicy jalapenos!
One of my favorite pre-vegetarian meals was these beef and pineapple enchiladas. Seriously, who would have thought that pineapple in enchiladas would be so amazing?!
You could veganize the recipe by using frozen ground "beef" crumbles, but I was after something a bit more nourishing.
This vegan enchilada casserole uses whole food ingredients like beans, lentils, and walnuts to create a meat-like crumble. This crumble combo is packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, iron, and folate.
Paired with my simple vegan enchilada sauce, the flavors in this casserole are seriously amazing. Even for the carnivores in your life. This was one of the first homemade plant-based meals I made for my husband, and it was a total winner!
- Tortillas: I switch between whole wheat and regular flour tortillas. Using a 9-inch round cake pan, I use 8-inch tortillas to allow some space for the sauce to run down the sides.
- Black Beans
- Lentils: Use brown or green lentils.
- Walnuts: Toasted and chopped.
- Pineapple: Chopped fresh, or buy canned and chop. You can even use crushed pineapple to save a step!
- Green onions
- Jalapeno pepper
- Enchilada sauce: Use canned, or I recommend my simple enchilada sauce.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Add 1 tsp of oil or cooking spray to a small pan. Sautee jalapeño pepper for 1-2 minutes until soft. Then add minced garlic and saute until fragrant, only 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook lentils According to package directions (or do this step ahead of time to make assembly easier). Be sure to avoid overcooking the lentils. You want them to still have structure to them when you're done and not be over-cooked and mushy.
Toast chopped or crushed walnuts by placing them on a baking sheet and into the oven at 375 for 2-4 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
Add walnuts, beans, and lentils to a medium mixing bowl. Gently mix only slightly mashing with a fork or wooden spoon. Avoid over-mashing as you want it to keep a "ground" texture.
Add jalapeno garlic mixture, green onions, and pineapple. Mix gently.
Assemble your enchiladas. Add some sauce to the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Place a tortilla shell down, then approximately ½-3/4 cup of the filling. Spread the filling out evenly. Place a tortilla on top then cover with ½ cup of sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
Pour remaining sauce over top.
Serve with greens, red onion, tomatoes, and a squirt of lime.
- Lettuce - Serve topped with chopped lettuce. Any lettuce will do, but I love the fresh crunch of romaine.
- Lime - Add a squirt of lime on top to bring everything together.
- Red Onions & tomatoes
- Vegan sour cream and salsa
- Beans - Use pinto beans instead of black if preferred.
- Spice - This recipe uses one small jalapeno pepper. For less spice omit the jalapeno or use a sweet pepper.
- Individual portions - The filling and sauce can be used for traditional rolled enchiladas as opposed to the casserole.
Store the enchilada leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Ways to Meal Prep
The lentils can be precooked up to 3 days ahead of time.
If making your own simple vegan enchilada sauce, prepare up to 3 days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Chop green onions and jalapeños.
Top tips for the BEST Vegan Enchilada Casserole
Avoid overcooking the lentils and over-mashing them when combining the ingredients. You want the texture to be crumbly, not paste-like.
Sweet and Spicy Vegan Enchilada Casserole
- 9-inch round cake pan
- 4 flour tortillas 8 inch
- 1 cup chopped walnuts toasted
- 1 cup cooked lentils green or brown
- 1 cup black beans
- 3 green onions diced
- ¾ cup chopped pineapple fresh or canned
- 1-2 tbsp diced jalapeno pepper about 1 small jalapeno with seeds removed
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 cups enchilada sauce 2 cans or 1 batch of Simple Vegan Enchilada Sauce
- cooking spray or 1 tsp oil
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
Prepare the Filling
- If not already prepared, cook lentils. Follow directions on the package. Avoid overcooking the lentils and take off the stove when they're cooked, but not mushy. Drain.
- Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 2-4 minutes, until fragrant. Watch closely to avoid burning.
- In a small pan on the stove. Heat 1 tsp of oil or add cooking spray to the pan and heat to medium. Add jalapeno peppers and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add minced garlic. Saute for 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant and remove from heat.
- Place black beans, walnuts, and lentils in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Combine with a fork, mashing together only slightly. You want to keep texture in the mixture and avoid over-mashing it into a "mush".
- Add jalapeno garlic mixture, pineapple, and green onions to the mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine.
- Spread ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay a tortilla down in the pan ontop of the sauce. Then begin to layer: ¾ cup filling, tortilla, then ½-3/4 cup sauce. Repeat until all ingerdients have been used and you have 3 layers of filling. End with sauce on top of a tortilla.
- Bake at 375°F for approx 45 minutes. If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover with tin foil.