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Top Chef Vegetarian Enmoladas and Savory Salad Recipe

“Top Chef” Claudette Zepeda demonstrates how to cook a high-end dinner that’s easy to make – the delicious dish of Enmoladas (enchiladas with mole sauce) and a savory salad.

Although the James Beard Award semifinalist has moved on from El Jardin, this recipe is still a cool twist on a timeless classic. We’ll add in a transcript of her instructions from the video above (lightly edited for clarity) in italics below.

mole sauce definition

You’ll need:

  • Mole Negro (you can buy this ready-made at some stores, or try making it yourself)
  • Tortillas
  • Neutral blend oil
  • sunchokes, potatoes, romanesco & carrots chopped large (for filling)
  • pumpkin seed dressing
  • Bitter salad greens (for the salad)
  • honey vinaigrette dressing
  • pickled onions
  • black sesame seeds
  • rich grated cheese (cotija or parmesan)

enmoladas finished


Chef Claudette Zepeda 00:01 – So today, I’m going to show you guys how to make vegetable enmoladas, which are enchiladas, but instead of using a chili based sauce, I’m going to use a mole: A mole negro with a little bit of sesame. Enmoladas are similar to enchiladas, and they just pack a crazy flavor punch. And you can make them in literally five minutes.

Chef Claudette 00:20 – Instead of deep frying my tortillas, I just put them in a little bit of a neutral blend oil so I can get a pliable tortilla.

tortilla frying

Chef Claudette 00:39 – So here I have my very hot pan that I’m going to saute my vegetables in and they are just dressed in a little bit of a pumpkin seed dressing. We have sunchokes, potatoes, romanesco, and carrots. So that’s just going to go in a flash.  And I just want to warm them through so when I stuff them inside the tortilla, they’re also just going to have the warmth. Nothing worse than a cold center in an enchilada.

enmolada filling mixture

Chef Claudette 01:21 – So here, just like you would any protein filling, you want to go ahead and put the filling in the center of the tortilla. And the reason why you fry your tortillas is if they were not cooked, at least partially, you wouldn’t be able to roll them they would crack. This is my plate and I’m going to go ahead and transfer them onto here.

Enmoladas without sauce

Chef Claudette 01:49 – You know your mole is perfect when it has that sheen and it’s very, very silky. And now I like to pair the enmoladas with a little bit of an herb vegetable salad next to it, and we have beautiful vegetables and herbs in our garden. So we have some shiso leaves. We have some fava bean leaves, cilantro, we have jamaica leaves, a little bit of kale in our little honey vinaigrette dressing, which is also a tart spicy, has acid. Some pickled red onions just toss that together. And this cuts through the thick, rich flavor of the mole. Just like to put those two together like that.

bowl of salad

Chef Claudette 02:34 – For a super simple and quick garnish, I have black sesame seeds and here I have a 10 month aged piece of cotija, the denominacion, which means that it is from the origin of cotija. Similar to a parmesan cheese, its extremely rich, dried in caves in Michoacán. And there you have beautiful healthy . . . celebration dinner. Enjoy.

enmoladas final

Looking for a margarita recipe as innovative as this dish? Try this recipe for a spicy watermelon margarita. Or if you’d rather go a more traditional route, get the recipe for a perfect classic margarita here.

Bonus recipe: Three guacamole recipes that range from trad to tangy.

Extra bonus: see our entire recipe archive here.