The Whole Enchilada

Enchiladas, like so many brilliant culinary innovations, date back to the ancient Mayans. Corn was plentiful, which gave rise to the fundamental, unassailable corn tortilla. Of course, they were called tlaxcalli at the time, later changed by Spanish conquistadors who couldn’t pronounce the word and forever changed the course of history. While tacos might seem like the most obvious use, a strong argument could be made that enchiladas were the first tortilla-based delicacy written into the annals of history. Originally, the dish consisted of nothing more than empty corn tortillas, rolled for a compact bite, and dipped in chili sauce. Before they were ever fried or filled, people have found these edible vessels worthy within their own rights.

Thus, I present to you an entirely controversial proposal: Try taking the tortilla out of the enchilada.

I promise, that’s not a hypothetical request or an impossible riddle. It occurred to me early on in the pandemic, when grocery deliveries were more akin to a new episode of Chopped, bringing with it a new mystery basket each week. Pasta has always been essential, but the exact form it would take was a bit of a wild card. Not a problem if you’re swapping ziti for penne, but giant manicotti tubes instead of pastina? Something was lost in translation on that exchange. Having never made manicotti before, those jumbo cylinders sat in the pantry for quite some time.

While I may be old, I certainly wasn’t around when the Mayans were creating this ground-breaking food, so my association with enchiladas is more strongly linked to the sauce and filling. One day, craving something with Mexican flair but lacking the traditional nixtamalized base, I came across that Italian staple just waiting for a purpose, and had this wild idea. Why smother them in plain red sauce when we could spice things up a bit?

Thus, Enchilada Manicotti were born. Perfect for a fiesta, family dinner, or cozy night in, the chewy pasta casing is stuffed with high-protein soyrizo and drowned in piquant enchilada sauce. Arguably easier than the contemporary take on this dish, you don’t need to worry about finicky tortillas cracking or unrolling in the oven. After a bit of assembly, you can take the rest of the night off, since it pretty much cooks itself.

Try a few different twists to make this formula your own:

  • Tender cubes of buttery gold potatoes add more heft to the filling, but this could be a great opportunity to sneak in other veggies, like riced cauliflower, diced zucchini, corn kernels, diced bell peppers, or a combination of your favorites.
  • Add shredded vegan cheese to the filling and/or topping, if you want to increase the richness and crave-worthy goo-factor.
  • Go all-out and make everything from scratch, including your own soyrizo, enchilada sauce, and sour cream for a real show-stopper of an entree that will impress all your friends and relatives.
  • Swap the red enchilada sauce for mole or chile verde sauce when you want a flavorful change of pace.

What can you serve with Enchilada Manicotti?

Both enchiladas and manicotti are ideal complete meals in and of themselves, needing no additional flourishes to completely satisfy. However, there are still plenty of complementary accompaniments you can consider to round out your plate:

  • Green salad or cabbage slaw
  • Yellow rice or cilantro rice
  • Black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans
  • Pico de gallo or your favorite salsa
  • Sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Tortilla chips

Is it Ital-ican, or maybe Mex-alian? Honestly, neither really capture the free spirit and full flavor of this dish. I’m perfectly satisfied to call it “delicious” and leave it at that. No matter what, you’ll want to leave room for a second helping.

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

Enchilada Manicotti

Enchilada Manicotti

Get all the spice and sabor of enchiladas, wrapped up in al dente manicotti pasta! This meatless version is even easier and healthier than the original stuffed tortilla dish.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


Soyrizo Filling:

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 (9-Ounce) Package Soyrizo
  • 1/2 Pound (About 2 Cups) Finely Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes

To Assemble:

  • 1 (28-Ounce) Can Enchilada Sauce (or 3 1/2 Cups Homemade)
  • 1 8-Ounce Package Manicotti, Cooked al Dente
  • 1/4 Cup Vegan Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1 - 2 Scallions, Thinly Sliced


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic, sauteing for 4 - 6 minutes until lightly browned and highly aromatic. Add the soyrizo, breaking it up with your spatula, followed by the potatoes. Cook for another 5 - 8 minutes until browned. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. To assemble the dish, start by spreading about 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Gently stuff the cooked manicotti with the soyrizo filling. Arrange the filled past in the baking in and pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top.
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the sauce around the edges begins to bubble.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together the sour cream and lime juice in a small bowl. When the enchiladas are done baking, drizzle the sour cream mixture on top, and sprinkle sliced scallions over to finish. Serve hot!

Recommended Products

Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 454mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

3 thoughts on “The Whole Enchilada

Leave a Reply