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This homemade green enchilada sauce recipe is a bright, complex sauce that will help you get restaurant-quality enchiladas on the table—even on a busy weeknight. It’s got the perfect combination of fresh flavors and a deep base for truly satisfying creamy enchiladas.
You Will Love This
- It’s super quick! Mostly because we’re leaning on store-bought salsa verde. I love a homemade salsa, but for those weeknights when you need creamy enchiladas on the table in a hurry, roasting tomatillos might not fit into the schedule. This creamy green enchilada sauce pairs perfectly with these black bean enchiladas or cheesy chicken enchiladas.
- It’s an easy way to elevate your enchiladas! Yes, this homemade enchilada sauce uses a store-bought salsa verde, but the sautéed garlic, fresh cilantro, and cream cheese are an easy way to turn a jar of salsa into a creamy enchilada sauce in a matter of minutes! In the mood for a red enchilada sauce? Check out this easy recipe!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Olive Oil - The deep, earthy flavor of a good, organic, cold-pressed olive oil works especially well in this green enchilada sauce, but you can use whatever cooking oil you have on hand.
- Smashed Garlic - Smashing the garlic clove releases all its naturals flavors. If you’re out of fresh garlic you can substitute ⅛ teaspoon ground garlic per clove.
- Cilantro - Fresh cilantro brightens up this green enchilada sauce. If you’re in a pinch, you can substitute dried herbs for fresh (1:3 ratio). If cilantro tastes like soap (I’m so sorry!), you can leave it out or try fresh parsley instead.
- Salsa Verde - Salsa verde is spicy, sweet, and a bit tart. But it's not hard to find a jar to suit your heat tolerance. This is our family's favorite salsa verde.
- Cream Cheese - The not-so-secret ingredient for creamy enchiladas! A vegan cream cheese will work fine for this sauce, or you can skip the cream cheese for a dairy-free enchilada sauce, just keep in mind the consistency will be a bit thinner.
Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
Add salsa and cilantro to a blender or food processor or blender. Add sautéed garlic and oil as well.
Pulse until smooth.
Return sauce to sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium. Turn heat to low and gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Don’t skip the sauté! It’s tempting, when you’re in a rush, to dump everything in the blender, but you’ll miss out on so much flavor! Garlic infuses with the olive oil for a rich, warm bite that really MAKES the enchilada sauce.
This short-cut, green enchilada sauce recipe makes it so easy! Sauté your garlic and spices, add some salsa verde, and blend! Add cream cheese for a creamier texture or leave it out for an equally delicious green enchilada sauce.
Green enchilada sauce and salsa verde look similar, but they're not quite the same thing. Salsa is made with fresh, raw ingredients whereas enchilada sauce is cooked. However, both are delicious!
The difference between red and green enchilada sauce is primarily the peppers used to make them. Red enchilada sauce uses red chilies, and green enchilada sauce uses green chilies and tomatillos. Red enchilada sauce has a deep, earthy flavor, while green enchilada sauces are generally brighter in flavor.
Family Favorite Dinners
- Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
- Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas
- Quick & Easy Skillet Enchiladas
- Walking Taco Casserole
- One-Pot Quinoa and Black Beans