Homemade Enchilada Sauce
If you’re anything like me, you want your meals to be quick and easy but still healthy. Having frozen pre-prepared foods at my house is one of my keys to success. I seriously need things to be simple in my life and while I love eating out, I find that if I have simple to prepare meal ingredients at home, I’m more likely to stay put and make something myself. I live in the city, making getting to the grocery store a not so simple task so this Homemade Enchilada Sauce is a lifesaver for me.
Another important consideration for me is that jarred enchilada sauce may be quick and easy, but it is definitely not the healthiest option. Have you ever read the ingredients in store-bought enchilada sauce? It may look something like this:
Water, tomato puree, modified corn starch, salt, sugar, distilled vinegar, chili pepper, soybean oil, citric acid, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, onion powder, red pepper, color added, natural flavor.
Think you can do better? YES! The good news is it only takes minutes to whip up a batch of my Homemade Enchilada Sauce that can be stored in the freezer. This makes it totally perfect for a healthy grab-and-go topper to your weeknight enchiladas. Your future self will thank you so much on a busy night when you just need something to make that’s easy. I hope you enjoy this DIY recipe for a Homemade Enchilada Sauce that you can use in so many recipes including my Vegan Enchilada Casserole.
Benefits of Homemade Sauces
In the past, I always bought enchilada sauce, reading labels and feeling frustrated at the poor quality ingredients UNTIL I found out that it takes just a minute to make on your own, it tastes better and there is no need for added color or protein fillers. And it only takes a few minutes to make a huge batch of fresh sauce in your own kitchen. Make it once while other foods are cooking and set some aside in your freezer to grab-and-go in the future.
One of the major differences in pre packaged sauces and homemade sauces is the amount of sodium in them. Like many packaged and ready to eat foods, store bought enchilada sauce is high in sodium. Many people should cut back on salt for their blood pressure. Remember, water follows salt so if you’ve got a lot of salt in your diet, you will have more water which increases blood volume, making your whole system work harder. If you’re always eating these high sodium foods it can potentially lead to health issues like high blood pressure.
Making this Homemade Enchilada Sauce yourself allows you to control how much salt is being added into the recipe making it easier to reduce your sodium intake. Another related health benefit of this sauce is that it contains a good source of potassium. Potassium is the partner to sodium and it’s something you want more of. That’s easy because potassium is found in all fruits and veggies. It’s particularly high in tomatoes so as the base of this homemade enchilada sauce, you’re getting a nice dose of that nutrient.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are known for being high in a unique antioxidant called lycopene. The bioavailability of this antioxidant is actually enhanced by cooking, making this Homemade Enchilada Sauce a great source of the anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Lycopene is an antioxidant known for bone health, heart health, and anti-cancer benefits (especially prostate cancer).
Many of the healthful compounds in tomatoes are fat-soluble, meaning that your body won’t be able to absorb these nutrients if there is no source of fat in your meal. So, cooking with a little healthy oil will also increase the absorption of these benefits during digestion. If you are interested in more easy recipes that use tomatoes so be sure to try my Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce, Simple Spicy Vegetarian Chili, or Apricot Tomato Chickpea Stew.
If you love the idea of this sauce and the anti-inflammatory benefits of whole foods, please check out my book!
Making The Homemade Enchilada Sauce
The nice thing about making your own homemade enchilada sauce (and other sauces as well) is that YOU control the flavor. Want more or less spice? Go for it. Add more or less onion or garlic. Make it saltier or less salty depending on your preference for taste as well as your health needs. Feel free to play around with your ratios until you find the perfect sauce for you.
While this step is not necessary, it is another way to customize your sauce to your own tastes. If you prefer your sauce with a bit more texture you can totally leave it as is. IF you want a smoother texture more similar to a store bought sauce you can easily just blend everything together once you are finished cooking.
An immersion blender is perfect for this task as you can just blend your sauce right in the pot it was cooked in. If you don’t have an immersion blender through, don’t worry. You can also blend your sauce in a traditional blender. Just be sure to wait for your sauce to cool first or to blend it with a kitchen towel over the blender. This is to avoid a buildup of pressure from the hot sauce that could cause harm to you and make a huge mess.
This Homemade Enchilada Sauce is ready to slather on your Vegan Enchilada Casserole as soon as it is done cooking. If you are making this as part of your meal prep, just wait for it to cool before storing it in an airtight container in the freezer. I recommend storing it along with a batch of that Vegan Enchilada Casserole for the quickest and easiest nourishing home cooked meal for busy nights. Remember to date your containers and to keep sauce for only up to 6 months to ensure food safety the next time you pull it out to use.
For this recipe and other sauces with a healthy twist like my Firecracker Garlic Sauce and Hasselback Potatoes With Cheesy Vegan Sauce sign up for my newsletter to get more tips and recipes you can use today!
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 28- ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4-1/2 cup water (as needed for consistency)
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add water if needed for desired thickness.
- If you find the sauce too chunky, feel free to use a blender or immersion blender for a smoother finished product.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.