Guatemalan Enchiladas

Like their Honduran counterparts, the Guatemalan enchiladas are also served flat on a tostada rather than rolled up and baked. But that is where the similarity with Honduras ends. Lots of vegetables, pickled and in the filling are used as toppings on the Guatemalan enchiladas.

The taste is very different from the other enchiladas. My daughter did not care much for the pickled vegetables. Interestingly her friend, who was in the house to work on a school project and had dinner with us, loved the pickled vegetables. Her Korean origin may have had something to do with it. And yes, my daughter's friends also get the experimental dishes if they stay over for dinner. Luckily, they are willing to try anything.

I had trouble finding an authentic recipe so I used a lot of sources to verify the ingredients of the components. I also had to convert the recipe to its vegetarian version. I then ensured the enchiladas I made had the same look and feel as the pictures available on the web. Adapted mainly from here.

I used a chayote for the very first time. I had seen it in Whole Foods before and wondered what it was. Now I know. It is a fleshy avacado like squash with a soft seed in the center. I could not name a substitute, if you cannot find it leave it out.

You will have to start a day ahead as the vegetables need to be pickled for about 24 hours.

You will need
Pickled Vegetables
1 medium onion
1/2 chayote
1 carrot
1/4 cabbage
1 small beet
2 cloves garlic, divided
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

For the bean mixture
1 cup dry black beans or 1 can black beans
1/2 chayote
1 carrot
15 green beans
1/8 cabbage
1/2 red
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce
1 roma tomato
1/2 red pepper
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

8 corn tortilla
1 cup Cotija cheese
handful of lettuce or spinach leaves

To get the pickled vegetables started
The day before you are planning on serving these enchiladas start the pickling process. Cut the onions in semi circular rings and soak it in a mixture of oil and vinegar. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and salt/pepper to taste. Cover and keep aside for an hour. Refrigerate overnight.

To prepare the pickled vegetables
Boil water in a pot. Cut the chayote and remove the big seed in the center. Reserve one half for the bean mixture. Julienne the other half. Peel the carrots and julienne. Shred the cabbage. Add the vegetables, a crushed clove of garlic and a bay leaf to the boiling water.

Blanch for a couple minutes and pour through a strainer reserving the hot liquid. Let the vegetables cool completely.

Put the liquid back in the pot and bring to a boil. Wash, peel and grate the beet. Add it to the boiling liquid and let it cook for a few minutes. Strain and discard the water. Let it cool completely.

Throw away the bay leaf. Add the cooled vegetables to the pickled onions. Add salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate.

For the bean mixture
Soak the beans overnight and pressure cook the next day. Skip this step if using canned beans.
Dice the remaining chayote. Wash, peel and dice the carrot. Wash the beans and cut off the ends. Dice. Shred the cabbage. Cut the red pepper in half and remove the seeds and stem. Save one half for the sauce. Dice the other half.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add the cooked beans, all the vegetables and a half cup of water.

Cook until the water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep aside.

For the sauce
Dice the tomato, red pepper and garlic. Cook them in a small pan until the tomato is mushy.

Blend together. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

To put it all together
Grate the cheese.

Fry the corn tortillas one as a time in hot oil for about 30 seconds on each side. Or brush the tortilla with oil and microwave for 2 minutes flipping them over once.

On a plate place the tortilla and add a few spinach leaves. (Or lettuce leaves if using lettuce)

Spoon in the pickled vegetables on the leaves.

Add the black bean mixture.

Sprinkle the cheese and dribble the tomato sauce over the top.



  1. wow another very delicious enchiladas dear :) love your enchilada series , This one looks very inviting !!

  2. Seriously am in love with ur enchiladas series, enjoyed virtually n am pulling myself to make some soon at home.. Guatemalan enchiladas sounds fabulous,filling dish.

  3. what a unique twist with the pickled veggies. I love chayote and use it all the time, I always suggest zucchini as a good substitute as I think the flavors are similar!

    1. Thanks Mir. While we all loved the chayote it is good to know a substitute.

  4. Am thoroughly enjoying your enchiladas series, enjoyed reading and relishing your enchiladas snaps looks so inviting.

  5. Pickled veggies on enchiladas sounds delicious. P

  6. That is a beautiful step by step :) Kudos

  7. That's a wonderful dish Varada, so interesting to read through the recipe..

  8. wonderful flavours! love the way you have explained it! !!


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