This Mexican-style green enchilada sauce is the perfect blend of roasted green chiles, onion, garlic and herbs to make a rich, flavorful sauce for enchiladas and more. This gluten free enchilada sauce takes only 20 minutes to make. You’ll never buy store-bought enchilada sauce again!
Enchiladas are any easy and delicious dinner to make, and using a homemade enchilada sauce adds so much extra depth of flavor. Plus, it’s so easy to do! This sauce is great for green chile beef enchiladas or carnitas enchiladas, but can even be used for chilaquiles verdes or as a substitute for salsa verde.
Why this recipe works
- A sauce that bursts with flavor while using simple produce. So many enchilada sauce recipes use tons of seasonings, but if you treat the produce properly, you won’t need it!
- This green enchilada sauce recipe is gluten free, vegan, paleo, and whole30!
- Only fresh wholesome ingredients, meaning NO added thickeners, preservatives, flours, gums, or other additives.
- Quick broil tomatillos and green chiles for imparting extra charred flavor to this sauce.
- Making homemade enchilada sauce is a quick way to improve your enchilada game!
- This organic enchilada sauce uses authentic Mexican techniques.
- Freezing this sauce is so easy, that way you’ll always have homemade sauce on hand!
Tomatillos are the little green fruits that look like mini unripe tomatoes with a leafy husk around it. They are typically a bright green (although some can even be a darker purple!) and sometimes called husk tomatoes.
Tomatillos are more acidic and less sweet than tomatoes, but have a similar texture to an unripe tomato. They taste tangy, citrusy and a little tart. Tomatillos add a delicious acidic and citrusy flavor to the plant-based enchilada sauce.
Substitute for: canned hatch green chiles, green tomatoes with a touch more lime juice to bring out the tartness, or canned tomatillos.
Also called pasilla peppers, these peppers are mild and earthy in taste.
Substitute for: green bell peppers (more mild and less earthy) or anaheim peppers (a little more spicy but still quite mild). You can also substitute for Hatch/New Mexico chiles, which will be a little more spicy.
Jalapeños add a mild heat to this enchilada sauce.
Substitute for: serrano pepper to add some serious heat!
To make this vegan enchilada sauce, this recipe uses vegetable stock or broth. This helps thin the sauce and blend all of the chiles. (You can always use your own homemade vegetable stock)
Substitute for: water, which will result in slightly less flavor, or chicken stock if not vegan.
Adding fresh cilantro to Mexican salsas and sauces helps add freshness and brings out the citrus flavors. You can always omit.
As with most traditional Mexican sauces, charring some of the ingredients first is an absolute must. This adds extra flavor and if you have the time, it shouldn't be skipped! If you have a gas stove you can char peppers and onions on the open flame, but for a safer bet the broiler is best!
To do this, place peppers, chiles, onion and garlic cloves on a lightly oiled baking sheet and toss with 1-2 teaspoons of neutral oil.
Broil for about 5 minutes, flip all broiled ingredients and then broil for additional 5 minutes -until there’s a char - this adds a ton of flavor to the sauce!
Let the peppers, onion and garlic cool for a few minutes. While you wait, add the cilantro lime juice, vegetable broth and salt to the blender.
Add the roasted chiles, onion and garlic to the blender with all other ingredients.
Blend until reaching a pureed, thin consistency with no chunks of ingredients.
Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
There are so many ways to use this green enchilada sauce, in both enchiladas recipes as well as others.
Use this green enchilada sauce:
- In Carnitas Enchiladas Verdes
- In Green Chile Ground Beef Enchiladas
- In Chilaquiles Verdes
- On top of Mexican rice, in burritos, on chorizo and eggs
- As a substitute for red enchilada sauce
- To substitute for recipes that call for salsa verde
- On breakfast tacos.
Charring adds extra flavor: When you char the chiles, onion and garlic, it adds an extra layer of flavor.
For extra spice: Swap out the jalapeño for a serrano pepper.
Storage directions: Store this sauce in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Reheat directions: Warm enchilada sauce in a saucepan on the stove on medium-heat or in the microwave at 30 second intervals.
Freezing directions: The best thing to do with any leftover enchilada sauce is to freeze it. Portion the sauce (I love to use Souper Cubes to freeze leftovers) in ½ cup or 1 cup sizing. Then, when ready to use, thaw overnight or reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
Most canned or jarred enchiladas sauces use wheat or malt as a thickening agent, and therefore are not gluten free.
Most canned or jarred enchiladas sauces use chicken stock or broth to thin the sauce, and therefore are not vegan.
The difference between types of enchilada sauces (green, white and red) is all down to the ingredients. White enchilada sauce is typically a cheesy and creamy sauce, red enchilada sauce uses red chilies or chili powder and is typically sweeter, and green enchilada sauce is made with green chiles and/or tomatillos.
Typically the green color of this sauce is made from using green chiles, like poblanos, serranos or jalapeños. It can also include tomatillos, like this recipe!
To make this sauce spicy, swap out the jalapeño for a serrano pepper.
- Healthy Green Chile Beef Enchiladas
- Authentic Mexican Chilaquiles Rojos
- Chilaquiles Verdes
- Carnitas Enchiladas Verdes
- Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole
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Green Enchilada Sauce
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 jalapeño
- ½ white onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- ½ cup cilantro
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ¾ cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place poblanos, tomatillos, jalapeño, white onion and garlic on a lightly greased or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Add neutral oil and toss ingredients to be fully coated in oil.1 pound tomatillos, 2 poblano peppers, 1 jalapeño, ½ white onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- Turn oven to broil and then place baking sheet directly underneath the broiler. Broil for 5 minutes and flip all ingredients to other side.
- Place back in broiler for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
Add roasted green chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos to high-powered blender with all other ingredients.½ cup cilantro, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ cup vegetable stock
- Blend, beginning at a low speed and then turning to high speed before ending at low speed. Blend until completely smooth and liquidy, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer to an airtight container.