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Enchiladas are a rich and heavy dish that originates from Mexican cuisine. They are both figuratively and literally oozing with delicious flavours and as such, the popularity of this Mexican dish has improved as the recipe spread to the whole world. If you’re not familiar with the enchilada recipe, or Mexican dishes in general though, you may be unsure of what side dish to serve alongside enchiladas. If so, don’t worry, we’ll show you what to serve with enchiladas.

What Are Enchiladas?

Often compared to burritos, enchiladas consist of a tortilla wrap made from corn or flour that is tightly wrapped around a filling. However, where the enchilada differs is in the fact that they will be placed in a baking dish, covered in a rich sauce along with a generous amount of cheese, and will then be baked. The result is a rich, decadent and hearty dish that is oozing with a variety of flavours.

Depending on the filling you choose, your hearty enchiladas will have very distinctive tastes and feels to them. Common options include chicken enchiladas and bean enchiladas. That said though, using a mix of fillings such as meats, veggies, cheese, and potatoes is not unusual. Additionally, red meat options such as steak or pork are typically my favourite choices when serving enchiladas.

There are a few ways you can put your own spin on enchiladas, including the aforementioned filling choice. However, another way to do so is with the type of cheese you use. Personally, though, I like to use traditional Mexican cheeses for an enchilada meal as these will often melt very well and be very creamy and potentially a little smoky.

Arguably though, what truly makes an enchilada dinner, is the enchilada sauce. Traditionally, this will be tomato and chilli based and have quite a kick to it due to containing quite a lot of chilli powder. However, if you want less spicy enchiladas then using less chilli powder and pepper is advised, or alternatively adding some lime juice can help mellow the flavours.

What Goes With Enchiladas?

As a result of all the factors mentioned above, there are many layers of flavour and texture that you will experience when eating enchiladas. These include the tangy cheesy, spicy, and tarty sauce, soft and crispy tortillas along with those from whatever choices you make for a filling.

As such, when you are picking options for your side dishes, the choices you make should reflect the diverse array of flavours present in your main dish. Due to how flavour-filled these are, one route you can go down is to use sides with more simple flavours and textures. However, another alternative option is to pick sides that are full of distinct flavours of their own that either contrast or reflect those of your enchiladas.

Old el paso mild enchilada sauce, 12 cans, 10 oz

What To Serve With Enchiladas?

With the above in mind, when serving enchiladas you may feel overwhelmed with options of what to choose for your sides. However, like with something such as choosing the right onions for your fajitas, there are plenty of side dish options that are known to work well with enchiladas. Some of these options include the following choices:

  1. Rice
  2. Refried Beans
  3. Mexican Slaw
  4. Salad
  5. Grilled Corn
  6. Grilled Avocado
  7. Guacamole
  8. Salsa
  9. Tortilla Chips

Rice

Perhaps one of the most commonly chosen sides for a variety of different Mexican dishes is served with a side portion of rice. Rice is an incredibly versatile dish option and as mentioned is very much a side that can be made to have very simple flavours or quite complex ones.

Of course, one option is to serve a simple bowl of steaming white rice. The benefit of doing so of course is that it will allow the flavours of the enchiladas to really stand out on their own whilst providing the extra texture of fluffy rice.

On the other side of things though, you can also serve a varied and flavourful rice dish that reflects or heavily contrasts the flavours of your enchiladas in a complementary manner. To accomplish the former, Mexican rice (also known as Spanish rice), meanwhile for the latter fresh cilantro lime rice or black beans and rice.

What to serve with enchiladas? 9 delicious side dishes

Refried Beans

Refried beans are a wonderful choice for a halfway option between a side dish and a dip for your enchiladas. Despite, what the name implies, these are not beans that have been fried twice. Instead, they are pinto beans that have been boiled and mashed. Following this, they are then fried with seasonings along with cheese.

The result of this is a dish that has a wonderfully creamy, plump, and tender texture. Additionally, these fried beans will also have a diversity of flavours with them primarily being sweet and earthy, with the addition of cheese further diversifying things.

When paired with enchiladas, there is a wonderful balance of flavours and textures that both contrast and reflect each other. For example the cheese in the two link together perfectly, meanwhile the sweet beans contrasts with the spicy enchilada sauce. Additionally, the creamy texture makes for an excellent contrast to a particularly meaty filling.

Mexican Slaw

Mexican coleslaw is very similar to that found in America and Europe with the same premise of raw and crunchy veggies in a dressing. However, whilst your typical coleslaw will use mayonnaise to add extra creaminess to the dish, this is not the case with Mexican coleslaw.

Instead of the mayonnaise, Mexican coleslaw will use a tangy dressing of apple cider vinegar and cilantro. This changes the dynamic quite considerably by making the coleslaw more light and refreshing and light instead of creamy. Additionally, the number of ingredients included in Mexcian coleslaw is much more diverse including ingredients such as avocado, jalapeno, black beans, corn, red onions, and cumin.

When paired with enchiladas though, a Mexican coleslaw dish provides an excellent contrast to your main by providing a wonderful crunch and refreshing air to an otherwise hearty dish.

Salad

In a similar vein to the option above, a salad can work excellently for pairing with your enchiladas. Like with coleslaw a salad may be used to add some freshness, crunch, and zesty flavours to your dish. However, salad can often be a very broad term meaning that there are many different options that can come under the umbrella of salad.

One excellent option is to serve a classic Mexican sweet potato salad. As the name suggests this salad revolves around sweet potatoes, however, it also mixes in a large amount of corn. Additionally, it will then be topped with a fresh cilantro dressing along with some hearty black bean salsa.

The result is that it adds some delicious crunchy texture and sweet tastes along with some zest from the dressing and salsa. All of which wonderfully contrast with the flavours found in your enchiladas.

Alternatively, to keep things simple, a classic green salad also makes for an excellent choice. For adding some crunch and fresh flavour. Meanwhile, a pepper salad made with chilli peppers and bell peppers will add some extra spice to the meal.

What to serve with enchiladas? 9 delicious side dishes

Grilled Corn

Another option for including corn in your dish is to serve it with some grilled corn on the cob. Doing so adds some extra smokey flavour alongside the sweet tastes and soft but slightly crunchy texture. However, to make it even more interesting, why not turn it into some elote corn.

Elote corn, also known as Mexican street corn is some grilled corn that has been slathered with a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, lime, cotija cheese, and chilli powder. The result of which is corn that is wonderfully creamy, spicy, cheesy, and zesty, alongside being sweet and smokey.

When paired with enchiladas, these add a variety of flavours that both mirror and contrast those of your main dish. As such they make for a phenomenal pairing.

Grilled Avocado

Keeping in theme with the barbecue theme, another excellent choice is to serve some grilled avocado alongside your enchiladas. These will have the hallmark creamy, earthy, and buttery flavours of avocados along with some smokiness from the grill. Additionally, they will also have a texture that is soft, oily, and buttery but with a little bit of extra char.

These tastes will add some wonderful contrast to your meal with the smokey flavours complementing the cheese and any meats used in the enchiladas. Meanwhile, the creamy and buttery flavours and tastes contrast well with the tangy and spicy sauces.

What to serve with enchiladas? 9 delicious side dishes

Guacamole

On the theme of the avocado, another wonderful side option for your enchiladas is of course some guacamole. Honestly, this combination of guacamole and enchiladas makes for an iconic combination when paired together.

This is for a very good reason though as the hearty, cheesy, and tangy aspects of your main meal will be contrasted wonderfully by the cool rich and creamy guacamole. Additionally, the guacamole will also add some extra freshness to the meal, along with some slight tartness depending on the extra ingredients that you use.

When serving guacamole with your enchiladas though, there is of course the temptation to use a store-bought pack due to convenience. However, homemade guacamole is not only more tasty and satisfying but also incredibly simple to make. In order to do so, simply mix and mash a combination of ripe avocados, lime juice, white onion, fresh Roma tomatoes, and cilantro.

Salsa

I’ve mentioned salsa previously as a topping but that was only one specific type of salsa, many of which can make for a great side dish in their own right. As such, when if you’re wanting to choose some salsa as a side dish then you have a wide array of options. Each of which will provide wonderful extra taste and texture sensations that both mirror and contrast those of your enchiladas.

A classic tomato salsa works well as do a variety of other saucy salsa options such as mango salsa or even salsa verde (meaning green salsa). However, other options are less saucy such as pico de Gallo which combines onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, lime, and cilantro into an easy-to-make homemade salsa.

Ultimately whichever option you go for though, salsa will make for a perfect choice of side for enchilada. This is because the cool, light, and refreshing tastes and textures make for wonderful contrast for such a hearty main dish.

Tortilla Chips

For a delicious Mexican-style chip (or crisp in the UK) then some tortilla chips make for an excellent choice. This is because with how saucy and cheesy your enchiladas are, the tortilla chips can be excellent for dipping. Additionally, they can also add that wonderful extra crispy crunch texture and a slight light corn taste to your meal.

Additionally, though, they can be combined with the prior two options to add even more flavours and textures to the meal. Naturally, this works perfectly because both tortilla chips and enchiladas will pair excellently with guacamole and salsa, along with potentially some sour cream.

This can be taken even further to make a proper nachos dish. This can be done by adding even more toppings such as the sauces mentioned above, along with cheese and maybe jalapenos for extra spiciness. Nachos will work as an appetizer, or alternatively can be topped with extra meat if you wish to make a rich and hearty feast with two main dishes.

What to serve with enchiladas? 9 delicious side dishes

Answered: What To Serve With Enchiladas?

When debating what to pair with enchiladas you truly do have a wide variety of options. Whether you want something light and fresh to balance out the main dish’s flavours or something rich and flavourful that mirrors it, there are plenty of options available.

For the former, options such as salads. Mexican coleslaw and certain rice dishes work excellently. Meanwhile, dishes such as tortilla chips, refried beans, and elote corn double down on the rich and flavourful nature of the enchiladas. With that in mind then, a mix and match of some of these ingredients can work wonderfully, as can the inclusion of some ideas of your own.

FAQ – What To Serve With Enchiladas?

What do you eat on top of enchiladas?

When topping enchiladas with other ingredients there are a variety of possibilities. Some of the best options though include sauces such as salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Should enchiladas be cooked covered or uncovered?

When cooking enchiladas it is best to cover them in foil whilst baking, until they are cooked through. This is because doing so will help them to cook more evenly.

How do you keep tortillas from getting soggy in enchiladas?

In order to prevent your tortillas from becoming soggy, you should quickly fry each one in oil for ten seconds on each side. Doing so, will keep them pliable but prevent them from absorbing extra liquid whilst also adding some extra flavour.