Substitutes for Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada sauce, a key component in Mexican cuisine known for its rich, spicy, and savory flavors, can be substituted with various alternatives depending on your needs. Here are some options across different categories:

Best: Salsa Roja

Salsa roja, a traditional Mexican red salsa made from tomatoes, chillies, and various seasonings, is the best substitute for enchilada sauce. It offers a similar flavour profile with a balance of heat, acidity, and earthiness, making it suitable for enchiladas, tacos, and as a dipping sauce.

How to Use

  • Use salsa roja in equal amounts as you would enchilada sauce.
  • It’s great for smothering over enchiladas or as a base for Mexican casseroles.

Cheapest: Tomato Sauce with Mexican Spices

A mixture of plain tomato sauce with added Mexican spices like cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder can serve as a more affordable substitute. While lacking the complexity of traditional enchilada sauce, it can be a quick and easy alternative.

How to Use

  • Mix tomato sauce with a blend of Mexican spices according to your taste preferences.
  • Use this mixture as a base for making enchiladas or as a sauce in Mexican-inspired dishes.

Tastiest: Mole Sauce

Mole sauce, renowned for its depth of flavour and complexity, can be a deliciously rich alternative to enchilada sauce. It combines various ingredients like chillies, chocolate, and spices, offering a unique taste experience.

How to Use

  • Use mole sauce in moderation due to its strong flavours.
  • It’s suitable for smothering over enchiladas, in burritos, or as a sauce for meats.

Most Accessible: Canned Tomato Soup with Spices

Canned tomato soup, spiced up with Mexican seasonings, can be a readily accessible substitute. This option is ideal when you’re in a pinch and need a quick sauce for your enchiladas.

How to Use

  • Enhance canned tomato soup with chilli powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
  • Use it as a simple sauce for enchiladas or in other Mexican-style dishes.

Most Unusual: Pasilla Pepper and Tomato Blend

A blend of pasilla peppers and tomatoes, either fresh or canned, can provide an unusual but effective substitute. Pasilla peppers offer a mild heat and a raisin-like sweetness, creating a unique flavour for enchilada sauce.

How to Use

  • Blend rehydrated pasilla peppers with tomatoes to achieve a sauce-like consistency.
  • Season with Mexican spices and use as an alternative to traditional enchilada sauce.