Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

September/October 2010

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (150 votes)

Intense, earthy and absolutely addictive, New Mexico’s cheese enchiladas showcase red chile sauce at its most elemental, thickly blanketing tortillas and melted Cheddar. We’ve added some extra creaminess and body with locally popular pinto beans, to cut down on the classic’s load of saturated fat. Top with shredded lettuce and minced onion.

"I made this for dinner tonight and it took make a little over an hour to make. The pinto beans were hard to mash and a pain to spread. This dish was okay. I probably won't make it again but I don't really dislike it either. "
Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Makes: 8 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


Red Chile Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mild-to-medium-hot red New Mexican chile powder
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and mashed, or nonfat refried beans
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas, blue corn if available
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, (8 ounces), divided
  • 1/4 cup minced white onion, plus more for garnish


  1. To prepare sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and soft, about 2 minutes more. Stir in chile powder. Add broth, water, oregano and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes. (The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.)
  2. To prepare enchiladas: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch (or similar-size 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Combine beans and yogurt in a small bowl.
  4. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce in the baking dish. Arrange 4 tortillas in the dish, overlapping them to cover the bottom. Top with half the bean mixture, using the back of a spoon to spread it thin. Scatter 2/3 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons onion on top of the beans. Top with one-third of the remaining sauce, 4 tortillas, the remaining bean mixture, 2/3 cup cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons onion. Spread half of the remaining sauce on top and cover with the remaining 4 tortillas. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining 2/3 cup cheese.
  5. Bake the enchiladas until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with additional minced onion, if desired.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the sauce (Step 1) for up to 3 days.


Per serving: 305 calories; 14 g fat (6 g sat, 4 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 12 g protein; 7 g fiber; 606 mg sodium; 308 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (58% daily value), Calcium (27% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 2 medium fat meat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Main Ingredient
Type of Dish
Main dish, vegetarian
Preparation/ Technique

Cinco de Mayo
Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner