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Dairy free Chicken Enchiladas??

jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 10:21 AM

Also for a picky eater.....so 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. h
    happybaker RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 10:58 AM

    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
      jenscats5 RE: happybaker Apr 14, 2014 11:31 AM

      Great! Thank you!

      1. re: happybaker
        tcamp RE: happybaker Apr 14, 2014 01:42 PM

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

        1. re: happybaker
          gourmanda RE: happybaker Apr 14, 2014 02:09 PM

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

          1. re: gourmanda
            gimlis1mum RE: gourmanda Apr 14, 2014 05:21 PM

            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
              Ttrockwood RE: gourmanda Apr 14, 2014 07:13 PM

              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
                gourmanda RE: Ttrockwood Apr 15, 2014 07:19 AM

                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
              jujuthomas RE: happybaker Apr 15, 2014 06:55 AM

              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. boogiebaby RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 01:31 PM

              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
                trolley RE: boogiebaby Apr 14, 2014 07:19 PM

                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
                  nothingswrong RE: trolley Apr 14, 2014 11:42 PM

                  +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
                    trolley RE: nothingswrong Apr 15, 2014 07:07 AM

                    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
                      Dirtywextraolives RE: trolley Apr 15, 2014 09:46 AM

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

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                        trolley RE: Dirtywextraolives Apr 15, 2014 10:19 AM


                      2. re: trolley
                        nothingswrong RE: trolley Apr 15, 2014 10:03 AM

                        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
                    jenscats5 RE: boogiebaby Apr 15, 2014 08:08 AM

                    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
                      JTPhilly RE: jenscats5 Apr 15, 2014 08:37 AM

                      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
                        jenscats5 RE: JTPhilly Apr 15, 2014 11:42 AM

                        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
                        trolley RE: jenscats5 Apr 15, 2014 09:35 AM

                        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
                          nothingswrong RE: trolley Apr 15, 2014 10:04 AM

                          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
                            trolley RE: nothingswrong Apr 15, 2014 10:19 AM

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

                            1. re: trolley
                              JTPhilly RE: trolley Apr 15, 2014 10:30 AM

                              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. g
                      gimlis1mum RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 05:18 PM

                      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
                        jenscats5 RE: gimlis1mum Apr 15, 2014 08:10 AM

                        Picky eater does like sweet potatoes.....so 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
                          nothingswrong RE: jenscats5 Apr 15, 2014 10:05 AM

                          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. Ttrockwood RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 07:09 PM

                        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. t
                          tardigrade RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 08:55 PM

                          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
                            ChrisOfStumptown RE: tardigrade Apr 15, 2014 06:50 AM

                            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
                              jenscats5 RE: ChrisOfStumptown Apr 15, 2014 08:12 AM

                              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.....

                          2. d
                            Dirtywextraolives RE: jenscats5 Apr 14, 2014 08:58 PM

                            Depending on how *struct* you need to be about dairy free..... Try velvety cheese in the jar you can pop in the microwave and pour over the cooked chicken pieces. I usually mix with salsa as well for trashy, gringo-type enchiladas.

                            1. c
                              Cynic2701 RE: jenscats5 Apr 15, 2014 09:59 AM

                              Perhaps use a velouté sauce (using schmaltz rather than butter for the roux) flavored with tex-mex seasonings like cumin/garlic/paprika/cayenne pepper.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Cynic2701
                                jenscats5 RE: Cynic2701 Apr 15, 2014 11:43 AM

                                That's a good idea.....I do like the idea of enchiladas with a veloute sauce.....

                              2. jenscats5 RE: jenscats5 May 5, 2014 05:27 AM

                                Good morning all! I'd like to thank you all for your suggestions and help with the enchiladas!! They were a hit!! I ended up sauteeing celery, onion and carrot and mixing it with chicken and rice and then mixed in some veloute sauce. I think I even like them better this way myself now!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jenscats5
                                  Cynic2701 RE: jenscats5 May 5, 2014 07:32 AM

                                  Glad to hear that everything turned out delicious.

                                  What did you spice your enchiladas with?

                                  1. re: Cynic2701
                                    jenscats5 RE: Cynic2701 May 5, 2014 11:44 AM

                                    My guest also doesn't like anything spicy, so kept it simple with some salt and pepper and also just a mixed seasoning blend.....

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