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Apr 14, 2014 10:21 AM

Dairy free Chicken Enchiladas??

Also for a picky pretty much no veggies!

I'm thinking chicken and rice as a filling....Anyone ever use dairy free cheese? Is it even worth using taste-wise? Any other suggestions as a way to make them taste good? I haven't been able to find any recipes I've liked doing a search.....

Thank you!

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  1. Kenji at Serious eats goes vegan once a year and posts his recipes. This year he created a dairy free nacho sauce that looks awesome!

    As a bonus, in the comments, folks talk about what ready made dairy free cheese works for them - and this brand got props.

    7 Replies
      1. re: happybaker

        Wow, that is worth a try, thanks for posting.

        1. re: happybaker

          Nacho sauce *looked* awesome...not so much in real life. Didn't work out for me at all.

          1. re: gourmanda

            I like this vegan "nacho" cheese sauce recipe. I use a lot less of the nutritional yeast, like one tablespoon,and soak the cashews for about 3 hours before making it. Then puree the heck out of it in the blender to get it really smooth.

            I've made the kale chips recipe several times and like them but I also just like to eat the sauce with a spoon...


            ETA I usually add a clove of crushed garlic to the "cheese" sauce, too.

            1. re: gourmanda

              Isa is the queen of vegan comfort food, her nacho cheese is thick and a little gloppy and tastes waaaaayyy better than the real stuff ever did.

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Thanks for this link. I've made some of her recipes before and they have been successful. Perhaps I will give this a try.

            2. re: happybaker

              daiya is one of the better non-dairy cheeses I've tried. i usually keep a bag of shreds in the freezer because I don't use it very fast. most popular application so far has been dairy free jalapeno poppers. oh so good.

            3. I would just leave off the cheese. Dairy is not my friend, so sometimes I make my enchiladas with no cheese. I don't use sour cream or crema in my enchilada recipe so it's not an issue except for the cheese.

              Do all chicken, chicken and rice, or chicken and beans for your filling. Roll, top with sauce, and bake. Garnish with lettuce and salsa if the top looks too plain with cheese.

              13 Replies
              1. re: boogiebaby

                I agree with leaving dairy off. i find most fake cheese pretty offensive. unless you have a true dairy allergy i find it unnecessary. does picky eater like guacamole? that's a nice topping.

                1. re: trolley

                  +1 to guac or even just ripe avocados. When I was vegan, I'd smear every taco I made with mashed avocado and it lends a real creaminess. You don't miss the cheese.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    you can keep the guac relatively simple. a bit of lemon or lime juice and salt can go a long way with guac. i've noticed most "picky" eaters don't care for the onions/tomatoes/cilantro in the guac.

                    1. re: trolley

                      Most picky eaters wouldn't touch avocados or guacamole either......

                      1. re: trolley

                        Agreed. My favorite quick way to prepare was just mashed avocado with lime juice (or lemon, if that's all I had) and a sprinkle of garlic salt. Sometimes I'd add in a few squirts of hot sauce too.

                        I'm a super picky eater, but always loved guac and avocados, even as a kid when I wasn't into green things. I think they are a neutral enough flavor and mostly just taste creamy.

                        ETA: I say that all in past tense because I developed an overnight allergy to avocados about 4 years ago. Biggest bummer ever.

                  2. re: boogiebaby

                    Thanks BB! Yes, I was afraid just chicken and rice would be "too plain."

                    Will probably just put a bunch of garnishes on the side such as lettuce, salsa, etc.....

                    Picky eater is super picky and will most likely not eat beans, guacamole, etc.....I will definitely eat the avocado/guacamole tho!

                    1. re: jenscats5

                      I think its a good idea to put the garnish/veg on the side - that way picky eater does not get scared off buy you still can have the variety - keep the base enchilada simple

                      Mexican does nice with a mix of warm/mushy and cool crispy so crispy cool side/garnish will complement the enchilada nicely like others I would just leave off the cheese and let the sauce bake and brown a bit on top

                      in absence of picky eater issues I think shredded veg would be nice.. zucchini and carrot or something

                      your chicken and rice wont be plain if you season well - I would sauté the chicken with as much of a trinity as you can get away with - onions carrot pepper - diced very fine mirepoix or grated they may not be discoverable in sauce but will add much flavor - onions at the least if you can

                      1. re: JTPhilly

                        Thanks JT! I'll definitely do that with the base to get as much flavor into it as I can...I think I can get some of the trinity in there successfully.....

                        @ trolley - LOL....he is definitely not 5 yo.....super picky but is at least for the most part willing to try things....

                      2. re: jenscats5

                        sheesh, are you inviting over a 5 year old?? ;)

                        ok, that was mean. I had a college roommate who only ate pizza, plain hamburger with salt, hawaiian bread, hershey's kisses and pepsi. i worried for his future but he's happily married now to a very forgiving woman.

                        1. re: trolley

                          Lol. I have a friend who eats like that. I find it astonishing; he's in his mid 30s. Will only eat processed food. The ONLY "vegetable" he'll eat is a single slice of tomato doused in salt on top of a plain hamburger.

                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            i was gonna say, maybe it's the same guy but my friend is in his 40's.

                            1. re: trolley

                              I have an adult brother who would not even touch the tortilla rice or sauce leaving him quite happily with a plate of plain chicken - every other part of an enchilada being fear-factor worthy

                    2. Can you sneak in veggies if they're not easily visible? I make them with diced cooked chicken thighs, shredded zucchini (salt it & let it sit, squeeze out the water and saute with minced garlic in a little Earth Balance spread), and maybe some sauteed mushrooms as the filling. Bind it together with a chicken veloute-type sauce, also made with Earth Balance instead of butter. Use more veloute or your favorite enchilada sauce to cover the filled enchiladas. If you like tomatillos, a nice green tomatillo sauce is good as the binder/sauce too.

                      Another dairy-free trick is to puree cooked sweet potatoes with black beans. You could stir in cooked chicken with that & I don't think it would need a binder, just some nice sauce to go on top.

                      My son likes the Daiya cheese well enough. I sometimes add it to the filling to give extra creaminess, and sprinkle a little on top to get the cheese-topped look, but I don't lay it on too thick. It's hard to cut through and tends to slide off the enchiladas when you serve/eat them if you put a lot on top.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        Picky eater does like sweet I could offer them blended maybe with the black beans....that sounds tasty to me! Good to know on the Daiya cheese.....I was considering using it in the filling only....

                        1. re: jenscats5

                          You could also do sweet potato fries then as a side dish. Toss with olive oil and salt to keep it simple and roast away.

                      2. The nacho cheese sauce from kenji may be too thin for a lasagna.

                        This recipe is awesome, the cashew ricotta gives richness and great mouthfeel. Soak the raw cashews overnight and you can make this ahead a few days no problem. I would blend a few veggies into the sauce so they aren't visible.... If you use noodles then i would skip the rice.

                        Daiya shreds are the ONLY vegan cheese that doesn't taste like melted plastic. But its $$ and not especially fabulous. I'd just do without it on top.

                        Or, if you are looking for a lower cal option this one uses tofu and is very good. Blending the drained firm tofu with the spinach makes the veg hard to even see- be sure to use the nutritional yeast, i always double it to a quarter cup.

                        1. If you go back to basics, "enchilada" refers to tortillas dipped in a chile sauce and maybe wrapped around a filling. Cheese is not necessary - I think people in Central America were eating enchiladas long before the Spanish came over with dairy cattle.

                          Your chicken and rice filling sounds good to me. How about beans, either refried or cooked with various spices?

                          I personally think dairy-free cheeses are not worth eating.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tardigrade

                            You are describing the enchillada style I like best. While a crumble of queso fresco atop or a bit of crema is a nice touch they really don't benefit from a lot of dairy (cheese enchiladas being an exception).

                            I'd suggest the OP lightly fry the tortillas on both sides, fill with shredded chicken, add chile sauce and cook til heated through. Top with a fried egg per person. The egg yolk works fantastic with the chile sauce.

                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                              Oooo I like the idea of the egg on top! Thank you!

                              Picky eater may not eat the beans, so unsure whether I can use them.....