Best of Basic: Mild Red Enchilada Sauce

Best of Basic: Mild Enchilada Sauce (vegan | vegetarian | dairy-free)

Mexican food has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, with the exception of pizza, I’ve always considered burritos to be my favorite food. More recently I’ve been obsessing over enchiladas. This newer obsession started at one of my favorite NYC restaurants – Taqueria St. Marks Place (formally known as Taqueria Lower East Side).

When eating at this casual, authentic, always-bustling Mexican joint, the cactus tacos and mushroom quesadilla were always my go-tos. But then one-time, I decided to be adventurous and try the cheese enchiladas with red sauce. YUM. There was no denying it. I absolutely, positively love enchiladas! Enchiladas soon became my pick at any and all Mexican restaurants. And before long, I was making my own.

Sure, you can get a really nice enchilada sauce from a jar or a can. But red enchilada sauce is so simple to make and it really kicks homemade enchiladas up a notch. This recipe is simple, clean, dairy-free and uses a standard blend of spices that, if you cook a lot, are probably in your kitchen already. It makes plenty of sauce for a 13×9-ish dish of enchiladas, which is a tray of 8-10 enchiladas, or 4 servings. But don’t stop at traditional enchiladas. Use this sauce to make enchilada stuffed peppers, or in a quinoa enchilada casserole or even as a sauce in burritos and on top of burrito bowls.

Best of Basic: Mild Red Enchilada Sauce
3.5 cups Start to Finish: 15 minutes


3 tablespoons canola oil (non-gmo preferred)
4 teaspoons cumin powder (1 tbs + 1 tsp)
3/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces tomato paste
3 cups vegetable stock (or low-sodium vegetable broth)
1.5 teaspoons sea salt, fine grain (plus more to taste)

To Make

In a medium sauce pan whisk together oil, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, white pepper, oregano, ground coriander and chili powder. Turn heat on to medium/medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk in flour and stir until fully combined. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add tomato paste and whisk to combine. Whisk in 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Continue slowly adding vegetable stock while whisking, removing all clumps. Season with 1.5 teaspoons sea salt.

Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season to taste with additional sea salt.

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