Red Quinoa Enchiladas Rojas

Red Quinoa Enchiladas Rojas – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan Mexican Spicy Dinner Recipe

Medium |  Servings: 6  |  Ready In: 60 minutes |  Yield: 12 tacos

Dried Ancho chilies bring smoky heat to this authentic Mexican entrée. Healthy, gluten-free red quinoa provides the base for the hearty filling.  This makes the perfect vegan dinner for a crowd – they’ll be begging for more!  Serve with 5 Minute Guacamole, Spicy-Sweet Raw Pineapple Salsa, Jicama Salad, and Mexican Chocolate Sauce.


For Ancho Roja Sauce:

  • 4 dried Ancho chile pods (about 1.5 oz)
  • 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into large chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water, as needed

For Enchiladas Rojas:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoons ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Red Quinoa Enchiladas Rojas – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan Mexican Spicy Dinner Recipe

How it’s Done

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the Ancho Salsa Roja:  Toast the Ancho chilies in  a large, dry sauté pan over medium-high heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl.  Cover with 1 1/2 cups hot water. Place the red onion and red bell pepper in the sauté pan and cook until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Transfer the red onion, pepper, and garlic to the bowl with the Ancho chilies.  Make sure the chilies are fully submerged in the water.  Set aside for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the enchiladas filling.

To make the Red Quinoa Enchilada Filling:  Use the same sauté pan used to toast the Ancho peppers.  Add the diced red bell pepper, red onion, cumin, and paprika.  Sauté over medium heat just until onions start to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  When onions and peppers start to stick to the bottom of the pan, you’re ready for the quinoa.

Add the red quinoa to the pan.  Stir well and continue cooking over medium heat 2-3 minutes, to toast the quinoa.  Add 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Cook until the quinoa is done, about 12 minutes.  The quinoa will be ready when it “pops” open. Remove the lid to cook off any excess moisture.  Salt to taste and set aside until ready to assemble enchiladas.

To finish the Ancho Salsa Roja:  Remove the dried Anchoes from the soaking liquid.  Remove the stems and scrape out the seeds. Tear into large pieces.  Place the anchoes in a blender along with the charred onion, pepper, and garlic. Add the red wine vinegar, salt, and about 1 cup of soaking water.  Puree until smooth. Add more water, as needed, to reach a smooth, pourable consistency. Taste to adjust seasoning.

To assemble the Red Quinoa Enchiladas: Place your tortillas in the 350F oven for 3-5 minutes, to soften.  Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.Spread about 1/2 cup of the Ancho Chile Salsa into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.  Stir another 1/2 cup into the Red Quinoa filling mixture.  On a small plate, pour another 1/4 cup of the Ancho Chile Salsa.  This is your “coating” station.  Take one tortilla and dip it on the plate.  Flip over, coating both sides with the Ancho Chile Salsa.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture into a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla. Place the tortilla in the sauced baking dish, seam-side-down. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas.
Spoon extra Ancho Chili sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Cover bake in the oven 10-12 minutes.

Garnish with chopped cilantro to serve.

Yield: 12 enchiladas

Red Quinoa Enchiladas Rojas – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan Mexican Spicy Dinner Recipe

Chef Katie’s Tips: 

Ancho Chile Pepper: Dried Ancho chilies come from fresh Poblano peppers. Literally translated from the word “wide”, Ancho are wide, flat peppers with a smoky flavor.  They have mild spice, and they’re often referred to as part of the Mexican “trinity”. They are the base for many mole sauces.

Kid-Friendly: This dish is very kid-friendly. However, kids can be more sensitive to heat. You may need to scale down the amount of Ancho chilies when making this for kids.

Red Quinoa Enchiladas Rojas – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan Mexican Spicy Dinner Recipe

Save on Spices: If you want to save cabinet space, you can substitute a store-bought Mexican or taco spice mix. Look for a salt-free or no-sodium blend. Use 2 1/2 teaspoons, in place of the paprika, cumin, and coriander.

Tortilla Dip: Dipping the tortillas in the Roja Sauce makes helps keep the tortillas pliable and evenly distributes the flavor.  For a quicker version of this recipe, make a big batch of the salsa ahead of time and save for future enchilada dinners.

Watch to Learn More:

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 270
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 215 mg 9 %
Potassium 350 mg 10 %
Total Carbohydrate 51 g 17 %
Dietary Fiber 9 g 36 %
Sugars 6 g
Protein 8 g 16 %
Vitamin A 59 %
Vitamin C 45 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 22 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Shopping and Gear List

  • Dried Ancho Chiles Peppers 4 oz, Great For Sauce, Chili, Stews, Soups, Mole, Tamales, Salsa and Mexican Recipes By Ole Mission
  • truRoots Organic Red Quinoa, 12 Ounce
  • Artisan Spanish smoked paprika, Pimenton from La Vera region.
  • The Spice Way – Mexican Seasoning Spice Blend
  • Simply Organic, Cumin, 2.31 oz


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    • Ancho peppers come from fresh poblano peppers. There’s no such thing as a “fresh Ancho”. Don’t ask me why they get a new name just because they get dried out, haha! You can substitute with fresh bell peppers (stick with red, yellow, or orange to keep the red color). I do this for clients who need less spice. Use 2 fresh peppers instead of the Anchoes. Still char or grill the peppers until darkened on the outside – more flavor 🙂