Don’t throw away those unripe green tomatoes. Save them and make this delicious beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe. It won’t disappoint. (Tomatillo’s work too)
Keep scrolling past the recipe card for an in depth explanation of how to make this beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe, including how to photos, a full list of ingredients, what to do with the leftovers, and a list of more great Mexican recipes.
Table of Contents: Beef enchiladas with green sauce
Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce
Green Tomatoes Make the Best Green Sauce!
Every fall we end up with a pile of green tomatoes that we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. Being from the south, I love fried green tomatoes and we certainly cook our share of them. This beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe is just another great way to use them up.
If you don’t have any green tomatoes don’t worry. Tomatillos are more commonly used in sauces like this, and they can be bought year around. They both offer a wonderful, tart, acidic flavor punch.
Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce Ingredients
Here is what you’ll need to make this beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe.
- Beef: For a super juicy, flavorful beef enchilada, use 80/20 beef to fat ratio ground beef. Ground turkey works great in this recipe as well. Just add a little olive oil to the skillet, as turkey is a much leaner meat.
- Tortillas: I prefer the taste and texture of a flour tortilla, but corn is certainly more traditional. If you use corn, make sure to warm each tortilla up before constructing your enchilada. They tend to fall apart if you skip this step.
- Cheese: More traditional enchiladas will just have cheese on top, but this gringo likes to stuff it on the inside as well. The cheesier, the better, am I right? For this beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe, we use a Mexican blend from Tillamook. Sometimes I like to stuff the enchiladas with mozzarella or a Mexican blend and top them with cotija or queso fresco.
- Veggies: The star of the show is the tart green sauce. For this beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe, we use unripe green tomatoes, but if you can’t get your hands on any, tomatillos are more commonly used and easy to find. You’ll also need an onion, garlic, and some hot peppers.
- Herbs/Spices: Cilantro adds a lot of flavor to the green sauce, while classic Mexican spices bring your beef to life. We use ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika, and Mexican oregano in this beef enchiladas with green sauce recipe.
How to make the Green Sauce
Step 1: Sauté the Veggies
To make the sauce, heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté your chopped garlic, onion, and jalapeño 3-4 mins or until they are soft.
Dice your tomatoes (or tomatillos) into 1 inch cubes and add them to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are wilted, 5-10 minutes. They will cook faster if they are in one layer. Stir them to make sure all sides are sautéed.
Step 2: Blend & Set Aside
Remove from heat and let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a food processor. Once cool, add the cilantro and blend until smooth. Taste and season with more cilantro, salt, and pepper if needed.
Pour into a bowl and set aside until you are ready to construct the beef enchiladas with green sauce.
How to Make the Filling
So for this beef enchilada with green sauce recipe, we like to use ground beef. I usually buy 80/20 beef to fat ratio, it makes for super juicy and flavorful beef. But if you prefer a leaner beef, 85/15 or 90/10 works just fine.
Once you’re ready to cook your beef, take it out of the fridge 15-20 minutes ahead of time to let it get to room temperature. This isn’t required, but will make for an easier and more even cook.
Step 1: Cook the Beef
Next, simply heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once your skillet is hot, toss in the ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. If you’re using 85/15 or anything fattier you don’t need to add any oil to the pan.
Step 2: Season the Beef
As the meat browns season it with salt, pepper, and any spices you’re using. For this beef enchilada with green sauce recipe, we use ground cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, and some chili powder. Mix everything together.
Step 3: Drain & Set Aside
Stir your beef from time to time to break up ay large pieces. After about 5-8 minutes everything should be nicely browned with no signs of pink. Drain the fat from your meat and set aside until you’re ready to construct your beef enchiladas with green sauce.
How to make Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce
Step 1: Create the Base
Set up a little work station with a stack of tortillas, cheese, ground beef, green sauce, and a baking dish. Spoon some green sauce into the baking dish, making sure the entire bottom is covered.
Step 2: Sauce the Tortillas
If you’re using corn tortillas you’re gonna need to individually warm them before making your enchiladas. If you don’t they’ll likely crumble. Just heat them in a skillet over medium heat, a few seconds on each side. If you’re using flour tortillas, you don’t need to do this.
Next, take your blank canvas tortilla and paint the middle of it with a hefty spoonful of green sauce. Use a serving spoonful, not a soup spoon.
Step 3: Add the Filling
Then, add your meat, cheese, and anything else you wanna put in there. Maybe grilled onions or peppers? For this recipe we keep it simple with just the sauce, meat, and cheese.
Step 4: Fold, Tuck, & Repeat
Fold the sides of the tortilla in on itself and roll the back to the front. Tuck any excess tortilla in as you roll it. Place in the baking dish and repeat until there is no more room.
Once you have everything rolled and in the baking dish, generously spoon more green sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle cheese all over the top.
Step 5: Bake
Cover with tin foil and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350. Remove tin foil and bake another 2-4 minutes to get a nice brown on the cheese.
Step 6: Garnish & Serve Your Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce
Garnish with some chopped cilantro, raw white onion, and sour cream.
Serve and enjoy your beef enchiladas with green sauce!
Storing Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce
Sometimes I’ll double this recipe in two baking dishes, eat one and freeze the other. It’s a super easy dish to pull out on a weeknight and reheat in the oven. Just let the frozen dish thaw in the refrigerator the morning before you want to cook it.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days. Just cover in an airtight container and use a microwave or oven to reheat the enchiladas with green sauce.
Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce FAQ’s
No, tomatillos also work great for this Beef Enchiladas with Green Sauce recipe.
No, you could try shredded beef or brisket. Or even ground turkey or chicken for a healthier option.
Yes, you can assemble beef enchiladas ahead of time and refrigerate them until ready to bake.
Warm the tortillas slightly before rolling to make them more pliable. I plop them directly onto a oven burner for a second or two on each side.
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