The Whole Enchilada - Red

The Whole Enchilada - Red

Healthier version of traditional chicken enchiladas with homemade ranchero sauce. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and low-FODMAP.

By, variation of Emeril Lagasse’s easy (red) enchilada sauce

Tex-Mex food is one my Mr. Wonderful and my own major craves, especially enchiladas. Unfortunately, they are usually filled with cheese which he cannot have and onions and garlic which I cannot have. Making a homemade enchilada sauce solved this problem, and it is actually much easier than I had ever expected. I like to double this recipe and store one dish in the freezer for a future, cozy night in our City-Ranch house. This recipe is easy on the tummy (no onion, no garlic, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, and corn tortillas are low-FODMAP).

Masa flour is very fine corn flour. In this recipe, it is used as a thickener for the roux. The brand I like is Maseca masa corn flour, which is gluten-free.


For Enchilada Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil (olive, canola, or grapeseed)
  • 2 Tbsp masa flour (Mexican corn flour; I use Maseca masa corn flour)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (use less if you are not into spice – if reducing, then add more masa flour at a 1:1 ratio)
  • 2 cups Onion-Free Chicken Stock
  • 10 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
For Enchiladas
  • 2 boneless, with skin on, chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped cilantro
  • 2 sprigs fresh, chopped thyme
  • 6 ounces (½ a jar) roasted red peppers chopped (I use Jeff’s Naturals and Delallo)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh green salsa (I use Wrights of Texas fresh green salsa medium – gluten-free and onion-free)
  • 12 six-inch diameter corn tortillas (I use Margarita’s stone ground corn vegan tortillas)
  • 2 ½ cups Enchilada Sauce


    For Enchilada Sauce
  1. In large pot, add oil; heat on stovetop at medium-high heat until just glistening. Immediately add masa flour, and whisk mixture constantly. Allow mixture to cook for one minute in order to remove the flour flavor.
  2. Add chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Immediately add to the mixture chicken stock, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and salt. Mix well. Adjust heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken at this point. The sauce should be a dark rusty brown color and texture of a tasty gravy. Take a wooden spoon, stir the sauce, and run your finger along the back of the spoon to form a thick line. If the line holds and looks like ski tracks in the dark snow, then you have done the job well!
  4. For Enchiladas
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Place chicken breasts onto sheet pan. Sprinkle salt on chicken. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until chicken meat springs back when pressed with finger.
  7. While chicken is roasting, this is a good time to make Enchilada Sauce.
  8. Remove pan from oven and allow chicken to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  9. Remove skin from chicken (discard), and cut ¾ of the chicken into small, ¼-inch dice pieces; shred the remaining ¼ of chicken. Place chicken into medium bowl. Set aside.
  10. In small bowl, add cumin, oregano, cilantro, thyme, chopped red peppers, and fresh green salsa. Mix well with fork. Add the fresh seasonings mixture to the reserved chicken. Combine well. Set aside.
  11. Place tortillas onto microwave-safe plate. Wrap in damp paper towels. Microwave for 1 minute or until tortillas have softened. Discard towels. Set aside.
  12. Into a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish, add one ladle-full of Enchilada Sauce. Using spatula, spread sauce evenly along the bottom of dish. Set aside.
  13. Into medium bowl, pour remaining Enchilada Sauce. Set aside.
  14. Onto counter, line out the following plates/bowls in this order: tortillas, Enchilada Sauce, chicken-seasonings mixture, and prepped casserole dish.
  15. Assemble enchiladas by taking one tortilla, dip tortilla into Enchilada Sauce (coating both sides), wipe off excess, spoon 2 Tbsp chicken-seasonings mixture into the middle of tortilla (spread lengthwise so it is a little chicken log), wrap both ends of tortilla around chicken filling to form enchilada, place enchilada into casserole dish with seam side down. Repeat for remaining tortillas. Press enchiladas tightly into casserole dish in a neat, even pattern of 2 rows of 6 enchiladas per row.
  16. Once all enchiladas have been assembled, top with an even layer of remaining Enchilada Sauce.
  17. Place casserole dish into oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


  • Serve with a fresh salad of shredded cabbage and sliced avocado.
  • Store baked enchiladas in storage container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. These reheat well.
  • Store unbaked enchiladas in freezer container, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then in foil for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight before baking. Bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes. If there is no time to defrost, no worries: place foil over casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until enchiladas are sizzling.
  • If you cannot find Wrights of Texas fresh green salsa medium, then simply make your own green salsa in the food processor using this amazing green salsa recipe. I would eliminate the onion, as the Wrights’ jar does not list onion as an ingredient.
  • Enchilada Sauce yields 2½ cups which is enough for one dish of The Whole Enchilada.