These vegetarian black bean and spinach enchiladas are a healthy, easy meal for the whole family! The filling is packed with vegetables, including bell pepper, onion, and corn, and has a creamy texture from shredded cheese and cream cheese. Plus, you can assemble the recipe in advance to pop in the oven on a busy night!
Enchiladas are always a hit in our house, especially with our toddler daughter! They make a such a great vehicle for eating tons of vegetables. Plus, I love that you can prep some components, like the sauce or even the whole dish, in advance to save time later.
This version of black bean and spinach enchiladas features the two headliner ingredients alongside other veggies, making it quite the plant-packed meal! Similar to my Vegetarian Enchiladas Verdes with Zucchini, I added a little bit of cream cheese to the filling to make it extra creamy. I learned this trick from a recipe my mother-in-law shared with me!
In addition to the veggie-loaded filling, I also whipped up a homemade enchilada sauce for the recipe. I include the ingredients and instructions for it in the recipe card, but feel free to substitute a canned or other store-bought sauce instead! Whatever is easiest for you. You can also make the homemade sauce well in advance and freeze it for later use.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Enchilada sauce: For this, you’ll need onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, flour, tomato paste, broth, and tomato sauce. If you don’t want to/have the time to make homemade sauce, sub 2 cups of store-bought enchilada sauce instead! I recommend choosing a mild sauce if you are making this for the whole family, including young kids. I give tips for how to make the homemade version milder in the recipe card.
- Spinach: Obviously, this is a big ingredient in black bean and spinach enchiladas…and you can really pack it in there! I use a whole 5-ounce container of baby spinach.
- Black beans: Feel free to sub other beans, such as pinto or kidney beans. Use 2 cans to bulk up the filling with a little more protein if desired.
- Onion: I recommended white, yellow, or red.
- Garlic: I use fresh garlic, but you can substitute about ½ to 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if needed.
- Corn: Fresh, frozen, or canned (drained and rinsed) all work.
- Bell pepper: Any color.
- Shredded Jack cheese: I like Monterey Jack for this recipe, but feel free to sub Pepper Jack for a little extra spice. Of course, a shredded Mexican cheese blend also works well.
- Cream cheese: You’ll need about 2 ounces to make the filling extra creamy. Omit if desired.
- Flour tortillas: I personally like to use flour tortillas for enchiladas, since I think they are easier to roll and less likely to tear. It’s especially helpful if the tortillas have been at room temperature before rolling them. If you need to make the recipe gluten-free, a brand of corn tortillas that aren’t crumbly and roll well would also work.
The full recipe card for black bean and spinach enchiladas, including ingredient quantities, is at the bottom of the post. Here’s a preview of the steps with photos to guide you.
If you are making homemade enchilada sauce, start by cooking the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the spices, flour, and tomato paste, stir to coat, and cook for a minute more until fragrant.
Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 more minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, prep the ingredients for the filling. The recipe comes together quickly once you start cooking, so it’s helpful to have all of the ingredients prepped. Chop the pepper, onion, and spinach. Drain and rinse the black beans (and corn if using canned). Shred the cheese (if not using pre-shredded), and gather the cream cheese and tortillas.
In a large skillet, cook the onion, pepper, corn, and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent.
Add the black beans and spinach to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted.
Stir half of the shredded cheese and the cream cheese into the skillet. Cook until they are melted and the filling is coated. Remove from heat.
Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Then, fill the tortillas. Scoop ½ cup of the filling onto one side of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla, starting with that side. Repeat with the rest of the filling and tortillas.
Place the rolled tortillas, seam side down, in the dish with the sauce.
Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce on top of the rolled tortillas, avoiding the edges.
Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top of the sauce. At this point, you can bake them immediately or wrap with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 12 to 24 hours.
Storage and Reheating
Leftover black bean and spinach enchiladas keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. You can reheat them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, in a skillet for about 5 minutes, or even in the oven. Reheating in the oven works best if you are warming up several at once. Place them in a baking dish and cook at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes.
You can also freeze these enchiladas. However, I recommend freezing them uncooked vs. cooked. Follow all of the instructions for assembling the dish. Use a freezer-safe baking dish, like a foil lasagna pan or a glass dish that’s specifically labeled as safe going from the freezer to the oven. I like this glass baking dish with a lid from Oxo.
If you are using a dish that doesn’t come with its own lid, wrap it tightly with foil, followed by a couple layers of plastic wrap that encompass the whole dish (top and bottom). Place in the freezer, somewhere it won’t get bumped. Store for up to 3 months.
When you want to cook your frozen black bean and spinach enchiladas, let them thaw overnight in the fridge for best results. Then, remove the plastic and foil. Let the enchiladas sit out while the oven preheats, then bake them according to the recipe directions. You can also bake them straight from frozen, but I like them better when they’re thawed first. If baking from frozen, add 15 to 30 minutes of cooking time.
Black bean and spinach enchiladas can stand alone as a complete meal, but they go great with a variety of sides and toppings too. I like to add diced avocado or guacamole, chopped lettuce, and sour cream when serving. For sides, consider Apple Jicama Slaw, Mango Corn Salsa with Black Beans, or Chili Lime Jicama and Cucumber Salad.
More Mexican-Inspired Dishes
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Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas
- 9×13 baking dish
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup minced white onion - about ¼ to ½ onion
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder - decrease the amount for a milder sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper - omit for a milder sauce
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce - no added salt preferred
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ white onion - use what you have left from making the sauce
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 bell pepper - diced
- 1 cup corn - fresh, frozen, or canned (drained and rinsed)
- 5 ounces baby spinach - chopped, can add more if desired
- 1 15-ounce can black beans - drained and rinsed
- 2 cups shredded Jack cheese - divided
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 8 flour tortillas - 8-inch
- Skip this section if using store-bought enchilada sauce. You need 2 cups of it. You can also make the sauce up to 3 months in advance. Store in the freezer after cooling, unless you are using it within a few days.
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to get translucent. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, flour, and tomato paste. Stir to coat the onion and garlic in the spices. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Pour the broth into the skillet, stirring well to help the spices dissolve. Increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat and maintain a simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, pour the tomato sauce into the skillet. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/205 degrees C.
- While the sauce cooks, gather your ingredients for the enchiladas. The recipe comes together quickly and easily if you have everything ready to go and on hand.
- When you're ready, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and corn. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add the chopped spinach and black beans to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Next, add half (1 cup) of the shredded cheese and all of the cream cheese to the skillet. Stir frequently to ensure the filling is evenly coated. Cook for about 3 minutes until the cheeses melt. Remove from heat.
- To a 9×13 baking dish, add 1 cup of the prepared enchilada sauce (or 1 cup of your store-bought sauce, if that's what you are using). Spread it out to coat the bottom.
- Assemble the enchiladas. Spoon ½-cup of the filling onto one half of a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla, starting with the edge closest to the filling. Place the rolled tortilla seam side down in the baking dish with the sauce. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. They should fit snugly next to each other and take up the whole baking dish.
- Spoon the rest of the enchilada sauce (1 cup) over the rolled tortillas, leaving the edges exposed. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over the sauce.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are slightly browned. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Make ahead: You can assemble the enchiladas without baking them up to 12 to 24 hours in advance. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. Let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Freezing: You can also freeze assembled, unbaked enchiladas. Be sure to assemble them in a freezer-safe dish. Cover with foil, then wrap the entire dish with a couple layers of plastic wrap. Keep the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, thaw in the fridge overnight before baking. You can also bake from frozen, but you will need to add 15 to 30 minutes of extra baking time. Remove the plastic wrap but keep the foil for the first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent the edges from getting too browned.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in a skillet for 3 to 5 minutes until warmed through.