Christmas Enchiladas

My visits to Santa Fe, New Mexico, are what inspired these vibrant red and green enchiladas! I enjoy going to Santa Fe to get my fill of enchiladas, brunch items, and saucy burritos. I usually say “both” when the server asks if I want red sauce, green sauce, or both. They refer to it as divorciadas or Christmas-style (divorced).

These enchiladas are a festive and delectable main course that are available to you just in time for Christmas or Christmas Eve dinner. They are loaded with enough colorful veggies, spinach, black beans, and cheese to count as a dinner for a special occasion.

I’ve been saving this dish for the holidays, but I’ve only just realized that I mispoured the enchilada sauce. Each Santa Fe enchilada has both red and green sauce because the sauce is divided down the middle of the enchiladas. Although you could always just eat two enchiladas to obtain one of each, I think my method might be a little easier to spread.

Do as you please; the ingredients and amounts won’t change. Below are some ideas for side dishes to complete your meal. I hope you have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Notes on Christmas Enchilada Sauce

You must prepare both red sauce and green sauce for this recipe. Both recipes are quite easy to make.

If you’re serving a large group, you can either double the recipe for the enchiladas to use up both sauces or just freeze half of each for another batch of Christmas enchiladas. Added choices? Maintain both in the refrigerator and use them as a drizzling sauce on improvised meals like quesadillas and eggy breakfasts.


  • ½ batch (1 cup) red enchilada sauce
  • ½ batch (1 cup) green enchilada sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 2” long thin strips
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 2” long thin strips
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces (1 packed cup) Monterey Jack cheese or pepper jack cheese (for extra kick)
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • Garnishes: Chopped red onion or radish or green onion, cilantro leaves and crumbled Cotija or feta cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. In a medium Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the onion and pepper are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Continue cooking for 6 to 9 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms start to caramelize and stick to the base of the pan.
  4. Add the spinach in big handfuls, stirring after each. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the black beans, followed by the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper as desired. Set the mixture aside to rest for a few minutes.

Also read: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

  1. Meanwhile, spread the tortillas across a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake just until they are warm and pliable, about two minutes. Stack the tortillas and wrap them in a clean tea towel to keep them warm.
  2. To assemble the enchiladas, pour ⅓ cup of each sauce into the base of the prepared baking dish (half on one side, half on the other). Gently spread each sauce over each half of the baking dish.
  3. Working with one tortilla at a time, spread about ⅓ cup filling down the center of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling, then place them snugly side-by-side in the baking dish with the seams down. Spread the remaining ⅔ cup red sauce over one-half of the tortillas (to match the red sauce in the base of the dish), and the remaining green sauce over the other half.
  4. Bake, uncovered, on the middle rack for 20 to 22 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top of the enchiladas are turning a bit more matte than glossy. Garnish as desired, and serve.