Zucchini Verde Vegan Enchiladas

May 31, 2019
18 Ratings
Photo by Jeanine Donofrio
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I love enchiladas. I’m tempted to order them at restaurants, but they’re often a big cheese bomb on a plate, so I prefer to make them at home. These have no cheese and are packed with a triple threat of green things: zucchini, poblano, and tomatillos. There’s tofu in the filling, but it’s undetectable once baked in. Instead of cheese on top, a lime cashew cream gets drizzled on along with the other fresh fixings.

Reprinted from Love & Lemons Every Day by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2019, Jeanine Donofrio —Love and Lemons

Test Kitchen Notes

Summer! How I both love and loathe you. You're great for your bountiful produce; long, balmy days practically made for hanging around at the beach; and ideal conditions to consume numerous frosty drinks and ice-cream cones. But I could do without the near-immediate, full-body sweating I experience upon stepping outdoors; the hot garbage smell that seems to permeate the air, even indoors (New Yorkers, you know what I'm talking about); and my total lack of desire to turn on the stove for literally four months.

Still, as much as it sounds appealing now, I know that come August, I'm going to be mighty tired of eating salads, cold watermelon, and said ice cream for every meal. So I decided to take a proactive approach this year, in anticipation of the dog days: I began scouting out big-batch, vegetable-forward, won't-put-me-straight-to-bed dinners to make all summer long.

I knew just the place to start for this mission: the much-anticipated new cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio, the superwoman behind one of my favorite (largely vegetarian and plant-based!) blogs, Love & Lemons. The book, Love & Lemons Every Day: More than 100 Bright, Plant-Forward Recipes for Every Meal, is pretty much my easy-breezy summertime cooking bible, packed with uncomplicated yet totally inspirational recipes based on in-season produce.

These recipes are geared toward everyday cooking and eating; as Jeanine says in the book's introduction, they're "perfect for busy mornings and weeknights," and almost all are accompanied with a "helpful everyday tip" to help streamline cooking. The dishes happen to be ultra-satisfying, too. Think: Asparagus, Snap Pea & Chive Blossom Pasta; Charred Cauliflower Pitas With Halloumi & Harissa; Pizza with Apples, Leeks & Lemon Zest Labneh; and (swoon) Zucchini Verde Vegan Enchiladas.

The beauty of these enchiladas is manifest, but let me point out just a few highlights: They come together quickly (thanks, speedy summer standby, zucchini!), they're super hearty (that's because of the crumbled tofu and tender black beans), and they're positively bursting with flavor (cumin, coriander, and a zesty tomatillo salsa verde, reporting for duty).

They also, notably, don't have a lick of cheese or cream—they're completely vegan and gluten-free!—which is especially welcome in keeping things light and fresh during hot summer evenings. Instead, the richness comes from an impossibly creamy cashew lime cream and a generous heaping of fresh avocado that both go on top, right after the enchiladas come out of the oven.

Speaking of the oven, here's the best news: After the filling is done on the stove (in 10 minutes or less!), these enchiladas bake up in about 20 short minutes. Even when the last thing I want to do is make my apartment even hotter, it's a small price to pay. Besides, the recipe makes a good amount, so it wouldn't be out of line to freeze the baked-up leftovers and enjoy them later on (just make a new batch of the cashew lime cream). I know that'll be my go-to move all summer. —Brinda Ayer

What You'll Need
  • Lime Cashew Cream
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, heaping
  • Enchiladas
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut into thin half-moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, patted dry and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed** (see note below)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (for topping)
  • 2 radishes, sliced paper-thin (for topping)
  • 1/2 avocado, diced (for topping)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (for topping)
  • 1/2 jalapeño or serrano pepper, thinly sliced (optional, for topping)
  • 8 Lime slices (for serving)
  1. Lime Cashew Cream
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Make the cashew lime sour cream: In a high-speed blender, place the cashews, water, garlic, lime juice, and salt and blend until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
  1. Enchiladas
  2. Make the enchilada filling: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, and a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, coriander, and cumin and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in the garlic, salt, and black pepper. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the black beans and tofu.
  4. Brush a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with olive oil, then spread a heaping 1⁄2 cup of the tomatillo salsa on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1⁄2 cup of the enchilada filling. Roll the tortillas and place them seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining 1 cup salsa over the enchiladas, down the middle, leaving a bit of the edges dry. I do this so that the edges of the tortillas become a little crunchy. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more.
  5. Let the enchiladas cool slightly, then drizzle with half of the cashew lime sour cream. Top with the diced red onion, radishes, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeño, if using. Serve with the lime slices and remaining cashew cream on the side.
  6. **Note: Warm the tortillas for 20 seconds in the microwave, wrapped in damp paper towels, or heat for 10 minutes in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Liz D
    Liz D
  • Johanna Zalneraitis Woodbury
    Johanna Zalneraitis Woodbury
  • Nancy Proper
    Nancy Proper
  • Cheryl
  • Savanah Puckett
    Savanah Puckett
My name is Jeanine Donofrio, author The Love & Lemons Cookbook and the food blog I create healthy, seasonal, (mostly) vegetarian. I love kale, green tea, cake, and of course lemons.

21 Reviews

Momof5 May 8, 2022
I made these enchiladas for Mothers Day dinner. My son’s girlfriend eats a plant based diet. They were such a big hit. Definitely will make again. I stuck to the recipe except for the protein. I used Pumfu which is like tofu but not as much water. It is made from pumpkin seeds. It was excellent. I thought it was pretty easy to make and instructions were very easy to follow.
Kiyom January 26, 2022
The enchiladas look so beautiful so I decided to make this recipe as printed. There are a lot of steps to make this meal and in the end I just didn't feel it was worth the time and effort. The filling could have been more flavorful, maybe more spices or some chipotle peppers would have ramped up the flavor.
Helaine January 9, 2022
What size corn tortillas did you use?
Natalpopenko August 7, 2021
Delicious. Easy to make and meat eater approved.
Liz D. March 13, 2021
I'm not a vegan, but these just sounded good. And they were. Very good. I used a whole can of beans, and added a little extra cumin. I would make them again. My husband liked them, and so did his vegan co-worker.
mim March 15, 2021
Liz, did you make your own tomatillo salsa or purchase one?
Liz D. March 15, 2021
I used Herdez brand Roasted salsa verde, as I had it on hand.
kelley B. July 17, 2020
Made this last night and it was perfection! It was my first time making vegan enchiladas and they were so satisfying. There seemed to be way more cashew cream than I needed, but I'm already picturing what else I can slather that on anyway. YUM!
Jsch May 24, 2020
Omg! Delicious! We are new to the vegan lifestyle and this was the first recipe we tried. It is definitely in the rotation now. The 2nd time I made the filling and we had tacos with the toppings and it was awesome. Thanks.
Jsch May 24, 2020
Omg! Delicious! We are new to the vegan lifestyle and this was the first recipe we tried. It is definitely in the rotation now. The 2nd time I made the filling and we had tacos with the toppings and it was awesome. Thanks.
Jsch May 24, 2020
Omg! Delicious! We are new to the vegan lifestyle and this was the first recipe we tried. It is definitely in the rotation now. The 2nd time I made the filling and we had tacos with the toppings and it was awesome. Thanks
Johanna Z. May 13, 2020
I added some Daiya Farmhouse Block Monterey Jack inside each tortilla. I would recommend. I can't wait to make this again!
Nancy P. October 20, 2019
Used a chipotle pepper rather than a poblano, based on personal preference. This dish was amazing! The whole family kept saying “mmmmmm!” throughout the meal, and I’ve already been told I need to make it again!
Johanna Z. May 13, 2020
That pepper switch sounds great!
Smaug January 9, 2022
The two are so utterly different in character- flavor, amount, function in the recipe- that it could scarce be called a substitution, it would make it a completely different dish.
cfo465 July 28, 2019
Loved this recipe! This will definitely be a repeat dish. Thank you for sharing!!
Cheryl July 8, 2019
Loved everything about it, including the radish! Since I covered it with foil for baking, next time would spray olive oil in inside of foil to prevent sticking. Thank you!
Savanah P. June 22, 2019
These were so, so delicious! I will make again and again.
Ann R. June 16, 2019
These are just outstanding! The lime flavor in the cream comes through once it has chilled a bit. This goes in the rotation. Can't wait to make it for family and friends.
Smaug June 2, 2019
The "cashew lime sour cream" is apparently a dairy free sour cream substitute; the name is likely to lead to confusion.
Brinda A. June 2, 2019
Thanks, Smaug, it's been updated to alleviate potential confusion—hope it helps.