Crispy tortillas are filled with cheesy green chile jackfruit and refried beans, then topped with creamy chile sauce in these Vegan Chimichangas! These are irresistible and so easy to make with three different cooking options! Pan-fry, air fry, or baked… your choice!
Chimichangas are pretty much a spin-off of burritos that you’ll see in a lot of Tex-Mex or in desert-southwest cuisines.
They are filled with a variety of ingredient options and are usually deep-fried. Although, cooking them in different ways is completely okay!
In this fully vegan recipe, we use a green chile salsa instead of red salsa and jackfruit serves as a chicken replacement.
Refried beans are added for protein and even more flavor!. Then we slather these scrumptious chimichangas with a homemade green chile sauce made with vegan cream cheese.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Onions - White or any type of onions add delicious flavor.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic goes so well with the other flavors of the dish.
- Flour - Just a little to thicken the chimichanga filling. Gluten-free works, too.
- Jackfruit - I find jackfruit to be a perfect meat replacement. You can use fresh, canned, or packaged jackfruit. Packed in water or brine is fine because we give it a good rinse before cooking it. If you can't find jackfruit, you can use vegan chicken or plant-based crumbles instead.
- Seasoning - Just a little salt, pepper, and cumin are all you need!
- Refried Beans - Canned refried beans are nice and convenient, but homemade beans work too! If canned, make sure they don’t have any lard or dairy when buying them, and try to find low-sodium if possible.
- Green Chile Sauce - Green chili salsa, also called “salsa verde” is the spicy kick of this recipe. You can find this in the Mexican food section or chip aisle of the grocery store. I specifically try to get the ones made with Hatch green chiles because the flavor is amazing.
- Vegan Dairy - Use your favorite vegan cheese and cream cheese. For cheese, I prefer a white variety such as Monterrey jack or mozzarella because I think it goes well with green chile, but cheddar would be just as tasty. Vegan cream cheese is used to make the sauce for serving. Any soft kind such as Kite Hill or Trader Joe’s is good.
- Broth - Low-sodium vegetable broth is the liquid base for the green chile “chicken” mixture. If your’s isn’t low-sodium, you can simply omit the salt when adding seasoning. Vegan bouillon mixed with water can be used instead of broth.
- Cilantro - Fresh cilantro gives an herby flavor.
- Tortillas - You’ll want large-sized flour tortillas to fit all of the cheesy filling. Brands (without lard) vary based on location, but we’ve found La Banderita or Guerrero to be our favorites.
How to Make Homemade Vegan Chimichangas
Here are some quick visual steps. Find the full recipe with exact measurements on the recipe card below.
Drain and rinse the jackfruit, then dice it into small pieces. Dice the onions and mince the garlic.
Sauté the onions until they're soft. Add the garlic and cook it just until it becomes fragrant. Careful, garlic can burn fast!
Next, add the flour and stir it around till it coats the onions and garlic. The flour is going to help thicken the green chile mixture.
Add the green chile salsa and vegetable broth to the pan. Stir it occasionally as it cooks and thickens.
Then, add the jackfruit, seasoning, and cilantro. Cook it for a few more minutes as the jackfruit softens and absorbs the flavors.
Finally, add the vegan cheese. Keep the heat on and stir until the cheese is mostly melted.
Spoon the beans into a bowl and give them a good stir. If they feel slightly dry and seem like they’ll be hard to spread, stir in a tablespoon or two of broth to thin them out.
Surround the tortillas with a napkin and place them on a plate. Microwave them for about 30 seconds to help soften them. Prepare your chimichanga stuffing area with the tortillas, the bowl of beans, the jackfruit mixture, and a tray for the prepared chimichangas.
Spread some beans in a horizontal line on the end of the tortilla that’s closest to you. Keep the filling from the edges. Then, spread green chile jackfruit above the beans.
Fold the two sides of the tortilla over the filling, then fold the edge closest to you over them. Continue rolling the chimichanga until you don’t have any tortilla left. Place the prepared chimichangas on the tray, seam side down.
You can pan fry the chimichangas in oil, cook them in the air fryer, or bake them in the oven! See below for each method.
Bring an inch deep of oil in a small pan to about 300°F. This is usually met by heating it over medium-high heat for ten minutes. Once heated, add 1-2 chimichangas at a time. Let them cook on each side until they’re golden brown. Use long tongs because the oil will be hot and you don’t want it to splatter on your hands.
Heat the air fryer to 400°F. Once heated, spray the basket with cooking oil, place chimichangas in, and spray the tops of them with just a bit of cooking oil. Cook them for 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chimichangas on a baking sheet and brush a thin layer of oil on the tops and bottoms. Bake them for 10 minutes on each side, starting with the seam sides down.
For Serving - Mix vegan cream cheese with green chile salsa in a small bowl. Serve it over the chimichangas, garnish them with fresh cilantro, and a side of avocado. Enjoy!
Recipe Variation Ideas
- Use black beans instead of refried pinto beans.
- Vegan chicken can be used in place of jackfruit.
- Replace flour tortillas with whole wheat or gluten-free.
- Change things up by using red chile salsa instead of green.
- Top your chimichangas with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and fresh jalapeños.
- For oil-free, add a little bit of water to the pan when sautéing and skip the oil when baking or air frying them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, make the green chile mixture ahead of time. Store it in the refrigerator for 3 days. Assemble and cook the chimichangas when ready. Or prepare the chimichangas entirely but freeze them instead of cooking them. Bake them from frozen at 400°F for 15 minutes on each side.
The chimichangas are best eaten fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days. The tortillas will soften a bit in the refrigerator though. Reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds on each side or in the oven at 300°F for 10-15 minutes.
Related Vegan Recipes
- Enjoy these irresistible cheesy Chiles Rellenos.
- Dip your chips or favorite foods in this Avocado Crema.
- Serve up a tasty side of Jalapeño Popper Dip.
- Healthy Black Beans would serve as a great side dish for these chimichangas.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking
- ⅓ cup white onions
- 1 teaspoon garlic, (2-3 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup green chile sauce
- 1 cup vegetable broth, low-sodium
- 16-20 ounces jackfruit, canned
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup vegan cheese, Monterey jack, mozzarella, cheddar, etc.
- 12-16 ounces vegan refried beans, canned or homemade
- 8 large flour tortillas
For the Chimichangas
- Drain, rinse, and dice the jackfruit. Dice the onions and mince the garlic.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to it. Then add onions to the pan and stir them as they cook for about 2 minutes or until they’re soft. Add garlic and cook it for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir it around to coat the garlic and onions.
- Pour in ½ cup of the green chile sauce and the vegetable broth. Let this sauce cook for about 3 minutes. Stir it a few times as it thickens.
- Stir in the jackfruit, cilantro, salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook it for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the vegan cheese. Take the pan off the heat as soon as the cheese is mostly melted.
- Stir the refried beans to make sure they’re soft enough to spread. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of broth to thin them out. Surround the tortillas with a napkin on a large plate and microwave them for 30 seconds.
- Spread a horizontal layer of beans (about 2 tablespoons) on the side of the tortilla that’s closer to you. Keep the beans about 1 ½ inches away from the edge of the tortilla. Add a layer of about 3 tablespoons of green chile jackfruit above the beans.
- Fold the sides of the tortilla in and then fold the edge closest to you over the filling and sides. Continue to fold or roll the chimichanga until it's closed.
For Pan Frying
- Fill a small pan with a layer of oil about an inch deep. Turn the heat on to medium-high. Once the oil has heated for about 10 minutes or is 300°F, place 1-2 chimichangas in it at a time. They only need 15-30 seconds on each side. Take them out as soon as they are golden brown. Place them on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
For Air Frying
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Once heated, spray the compartment with cooking oil. Place 1-2 chimichangas in at a time. Spray the top of them with a thin layer of cooking oil. Cook them for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For Baking in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush a thin layer of oil on the top and bottom of the chimichangas. Place them on a baking sheet, seam side down. Bake them for 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Mix ½ cup vegan cream cheese with ½ cup green chile salsa in a small bowl. Place one chimichanga on a plate and pour some creamy green chili sauce over it. Add cilantro and a side of avocado. Enjoy!
The nutrition information is estimated and can vary depending on brands and measurements used.