Sometimes I’m in the mood for a salad but I want something a little bit carb-y with it. Other times I want enchiladas, but don’t necessarily want the beans and rice that come with them. Cheesy, saucy enchiladas are high up there on my list of favorite Mexican foods. I like to tell myself that putting them atop a salad makes them a little bit healthier. This salad is the perfect mix of naughty and nice.
My husband and I got married in June 2013 in south Orange County. Our rehearsal dinner location was at a local historic restaurant called El Adobe de Capistrano. The food was great and everyone had a good time. Now we just happen to be living in a home we just purchased a few months ago and it happens to be just a few miles away from our rehearsal dinner site. El Adobe has a cheese enchilada salad that I like to order whenever we go there; I have never seen anything like this on a Mexican restaurant menu before. It is so unique and delicious that I decided I needed to recreate it at home.
This is the original salad.
For my recreation, I decided to make my own tortillas (because they are pretty much the best thing ever), but use canned enchilada sauce to save some time. I am not one of those people who need to have fresh enchilada sauce, but if you are, by all means, make your own.
The recipe takes a little bit of work, but all the steps are fairly simple. If you can’t find roasted pepitas, you can easily roast your own. After you do that, you lightly fry your tortillas before soaking them in enchilada sauce and filling them with cheese.
While the enchiladas bake, you just blend up the dressing ingredients and prep your salad. Then you gobble it up like there’s no tomorrow (or at least, I do).
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 10 oz medium or mild red enchilada sauce (I used canned)
- 1 1/2 cups monterey jack and cheddar cheese mix, shredded
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas
- 1 tsp oil
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled
- Romaine salad
- 1/2 cup light sour cream (120 g)
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt (I used 2%) (29 g)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp queso fresco
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- Pinch ground cayenne
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat pepitas in oil and a pinch of salt and spread out over baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 7 minutes and remove to let cool.
- Pour half of the enchilada sauce a shallow dish. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in medium pan. Heat each corn tortilla in oil for just a few seconds until warm and pliable. Using tongs, remove tortilla from the oil and place into dish with enchilada sauce. After coating the tortilla completely with sauce, put a couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese into tortilla and roll. Place into 11 x 7 or 8 x 8 casserole dish. Repeat with all following tortillas, adding more oil to the pan in between every couple of tortillas.
- Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas, and top with remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 375°F for 15 minutes.
- While enchiladas are baking, make dressing. Place all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth. Add more oil if you want to thin the consistency.
- Serve with diced tomatoes, crumbled queso fresco, roasted pepitas, and enchiladas topped with dressing.
- The Greek yogurt isn't absolutely necessary for the dressing, I just liked the little extra tang and creaminess it added.