How to Make Enchilada Sauce From Scratch

I grew up in a large family where everyone was a part of the dinner-making process. From prepping to cleaning, all hands were on deck during dinner preparations. Our recipes were usually formulas that we had come to by trial and error. We had some beautiful cookbooks in our house, but for the most part our recipes came from our imaginations. Recipes were about taste and feeling, not about precise measurements. Needless to say, I grew up with “kitchen confidence.”

It also helped that I was blessed with a wonderful mother would loves to experiment in the kitchen. When she heard about a new technique or a healthy new product, she loved to bring it home and try it out in her favourite recipes. An example that comes to mind is when I was about eight or nine years old and came home to a beautiful dinner with a side of roasted vegetables and edible flowers. I tried my hardest to convince her that flowers were not meant to be eaten, but she said she knew what she was doing.

I’m a bit more analytical when it comes to cooking, so I like my recipes. I often make things by feel, like my mother, but unlike my mother, I love to analyze the ingredients.

After all, cooking is part science. Really understand the formula and then you are free to manipulate, add, or subtract the components.

One of the very first cookbooks I purchased was a vegetarian cookbook. I had just started dating my now husband, who was a lifelong vegetarian, and I thought it would be fun to try out some new recipes. The cookbook itself was quite humble. Nothing fancy, but plenty of new ideas. Like vegetarian enchiladas; something that I always enjoyed at Mexican restaurants, but had never tried making until then.  They were a hit and became a regular recipe that I would turn to.

The original recipe that inspired me called for a filling of spinach, spring onions, cheddar cheese, celery, corn, and grated carrot, which never really felt Mexican to me. I was inspired by the photo and the idea though, so I went ahead and modified the recipe, creating a filling that was much more me (Spanish rice with mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, and refried beans). Every time I made these enchiladas, I’d pick up a powdered enchilada sauce mix from my local grocery store to finish it off. I had no idea what was in my sauce pack, but I blindly picked it up on shopping trips whenever I felt a craving for enchiladas.

And to tell you the truth, I had no blinding revelation about this powdered mix. Rather, I was forced to find an alternative when my grocery store stopped carrying enchilada sauce. When I looked into enchilada sauce from scratch recipes, I realized that making enchilada sauce at home was both easy and economical while leaving me in charge of exactly what was in the sauce. Control over ingredients? Yes, please! It was an amazing feeling to actually understand what was going into every part of my dish.

Perhaps unlike some of my fellow Scratch Mommies, I didn’t come to a place of #LifeFromScratch through purposeful decisions, but rather through needing good, fast solutions.

This enchilada sauce is one example. Sure, I could have just gone back to buying the packaged sauces later, but I choose not to, because I choose to have control. This enchilada sauce help set a trend in the choices that I make at home and I choose to serve my family food that I can stand behind 100%.

So dive in and try out this enchilada sauce. I promise you, you’ll love how easy it is to whip up (especially if you’re like me and love having tons of extra sauce on the side!).

Enchilada Sauce From Scratch
Serves: 3 cups of sauce
  • 3 Tbl grassfed butter or any oil with a high burning point (we love Fatworks for fats like lard and tallow which have high burning points)
  • 2 Tbl sprouted spelt flour (organic, like this)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, hot
  • 3.5 Tbl tomato paste (preferably in glass jars like this)
  • 2 Tbl chili powder, can add more or less depending on how spicy you like it (organic, non-irradiated chili powder like this)
  • ½ tsp cumin (organic, non-irradiated spices like this)
  • ½ tsp onion powder (like this)
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder (like this)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano (like this)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (like this)
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt, optional (our favorite affordable unrefined sea salt)
  1. Add the butter/oil to a medium saucepan on medium heat. Let heat and then add the flour and stir.
  2. When you have cooked out your flour (about 1-2 minutes, stirring), slowly whisk in the hot broth. Increase the heat slightly while you whisk.
  3. Once the broth is incorporated, whisk in the tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Add all the other spices, tasting for spice level from chili powder. Simmer for 3-4 minutes on low.
  5. Use immediately on top of enchiladas, or store in an airtight container.
Spice level: Mild

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