This easy enchilada recipe is made using pantry staples! Using cans of chicken, precooked chicken, canned salmon, beans, or chickpeas, you can create a spicy buffalo style meal that everyone loves!
This post is inspired by Food and Wine magazine’s buffalo chicken enchiladas! We love the recipe, but I didn’t have everything on hand to make it.
So, we we took what we had left in pantry and fridge to come up with this easy enchiladas recipe! This meal is so delicious, we made in 3 times in one week, each time a little different.
The first time was low in lactose/dairy, the next lower in carbs (using zucchini tortillas), and then this spicy buffalo style enchiladas recipe.
To make it gluten free, we use grain free tortillas, and to lighten it up, a bit of Greek yogurt. We also use extra sauce and jalapenos, but you get the point.
It’s an easy, filling meal. Plus, it’s freezable, making it perfect for make ahead meals! I’m also sharing ways you can customize it for your family’s dietary needs.
Easy enchilada recipe for pantry staples
One of my favorite things about this recipe is how customizable it is. I mean, everyone is familiar with chicken enchiladas, but this recipe allows you to use fresh or canned chicken. Or seafood, like canned salmon (it’s delicious, I promise!).
Need to accommodate a vegetarian diet? No problem – pull down a can of chickpeas from the pantry. Use whatever you have on hand, whether it’s fresh, frozen, or from a can.
These are just a few filling ideas, but I encourage you to dig through your pantry. Be bold and creative! After all, dinner doesn’t need to be a “one size fits all” experience.
As you go through your pantry and fridge, keep in mind that whether it’s fresh, frozen, or from a can, your protein must be fully cooked to use in this easy enchilada recipe.
- Boneless chicken – If it’s from a can, drain any liquid before using. If you use precooked chicken, be sure to shred it rather than dice it. As a result, it will fit more easily into the tortillas.
- Salmon – Please don’t roll your eyes. I PROMISE you that fish enchiladas are delicious! Although I haven’t tried it, I bet even tuna fish could be a delicious option.
- Turkey breast – Same rules apply as for the chicken.
- Canned Chickpeas
- Black Beans/Pinto Beans
- Cooked Lentils
- Organic Tofu/Tempeh
Cheeses (or dairy free cheese options)
The first three on this list are lower lactose options. No matter what variety of cheese you use, if it isn’t a soft cheese, be sure to shred or crumble it.
- Feta cheese
- Goat cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Blue cheese – This is a great option to help cool down the spicy flavor of the sauce.
- Mexican cheese – Cojita, Oaxaca, and queso fresco are all delicious, meltable cheeses.
- Vegan con queso – Because it is already melted, cheese sauce is a great option!
- Cream cheese or Vegan Cream Cheese – Regular, low fat, and even dairy free cream cheese are good options.
Corn tortillas, regular gluten free tortillas, or even zucchini tortillas are perfect for enchiladas!
Can you use flour tortillas for enchiladas?
Yes, absolutely! Authentic enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, but gluten free flour tortillas are a delicious option. Plus, they’re easier to roll!
Lighter filling options
Sub half the cream cheese with Greek yogurt or spicy hummus – it works perfectly!
I love this white bean hummus and think it would be a great choice for vegan enchiladas.
For spicier enchiladas
Want to kick up the spice a bit? Just remove the seeds and membrane from 1 jalapeno, dice it up, and add it to the filling.
How to make buffalo sauce
This spicy sauce is a snap to make. Just use your favorite brand of hot sauce or wing sauce, some butter (or vegan butter) and a bit of water.
My favorite sauce to use for this recipe is this paleo buffalo wing sauce.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, or you can melt it in the microwave. Then, stir in the hot sauce and water.
That’s it – easy peasy!
How to make buffalo style enchiladas
- Prepare the baking dish by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray, and preheat the oven.
- Mix the filling. Place cooked protein of choice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese/yogurt, half of the shredded cheese, half of the buffalo sauce, white parts of the scallion, paprika, and cumin. If you are using the jalapeno, add that too. Mix everything to combine.
- Make the buffalo sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the other half of the hot sauce, plus 3 tablespoons of water. Set it aside.
- Microwave the tortillas 3 at a time until warm . It should take no more than 15-20 seconds per batch. Warming them makes them more pliable and easier to roll. Cover and keep warm between damp paper towels.
- Spoon a portion of the filling mixture down the middle of each tortilla and roll up. Add a tablespoon of the buffalo sauce on top, then roll the tortillas up. Place them in the pan side by side, seam-side down.
- Pour the remaining buffalo sauce mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese and the feta cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onion.
For easy meal prep, you can prepare this easy enchilada recipe and freeze it, before or after baking.
I like to bake it completely, allow it to cool, and then freeze it.
The day before you want to serve it, transfer it to the fridge so it can thaw. You can heat it from frozen, but it takes quite a while longer to warm through.
So tell me, what’s your go to recipe with pantry staples? Also, take my word and give these buffalo style enchiladas a whirl. I promise they won’t disappoint!