This Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole is ready in just 40 minutes, a snap to make, and super yummy making it a delicious weeknight dinner recipe your whole family will love.

The ingredients are just layered into the pan and baked. Super quick and easy to throw together and it reheats well making it an awesome next day lunch option, too. There’s a Gluten Free version, too!

Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a baking dish with cilantro and avocado

I originally shared this recipe on February 11, 2019. I have updated the images and some of the text today.

Why We Love This Recipe For Healthy Enchilada Casserole

This layered enchilada casserole recipe is courtesy of two registered dietitians, Andy DeSantis and Julie Andrews and is featured in their book The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed to help lower or control high blood pressure. The diet focuses on eating more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts and cutting back on foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fat, as well as limiting sodium, sweets, sugary drinks and red meat.

This easy recipe fits right into the DASH Diet approach and your whole family will love it. It features simple ingredients like seasoned lean ground chicken, veggies, whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat dairy Greek yogurt. The flavor is really amped up with a little jalapeño, homemade taco seasoning, homemade enchilada sauce, creamy avocado, fresh cilantro and cool yogurt toppings. It’s a delicious and easy weeknight meal!

Before we get into the details of how to make this Healthy Enchilada Casserole, I have a note for Mexican Food lovers! If you love enchiladas but don’t have a ton of time, these Easy Chicken Enchiladas are super fast! And our brand new recipe for Ground Turkey Enchiladas are another one to try. The DASH friendly sauce from this recipe can be used interchangeably in these other two enchilada recipes. And same goes for our Mexican Chicken Casserole.

Ingredients For This Recipe

  • Avocado or organic canola oil – These oils boast the same health benefits of olive oil, but have a higher smoke point which makes them perfect for sautéing.
  • Vegetables – Yellow onion, red bell peppe, garlic and jalapenos are classic ingredients in many Mexican recipes and add great fresh flavor and texture.
  • Ground chicken – A great lower fat and calorie protein option for this hearty casserole because the seasonings and enchilada sauce really add so much of the flavor.
  • Taco seasoning – There is usually a lot of added sodium and preservatives in taco seasoning packets. Making taco seasoning is easy, involves spices probably already have and is less expensive.
  • Whole-wheat flour tortillas – This recipe can be made gluten free by using corn tortillas instead of whole wheat.
  • Enchilada Sauce – Canned enchilada sauce can sometimes include an entire days worth of sodium. Making it from scratch is easy and can be done ahead of time and frozen.
  • Shredded Mexican-style cheese – Most Mexican cheese blends include Monterey Jack, cheddar and a mildly tangy soft melting cheese called queso asadero. These pre-shredded blends are a great way to save time without sacrificing flavor.

How To Make Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Step 1: Make the Filling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9 x 11 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Add the ground chicken and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the garlic and taco seasoning. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Assemble

Place two tortillas in the bottom of the dish overlapping as needed.

Step 3: Layer

Layer with 1/3 of the meat, 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Create another two layers, ending with a layer of cheese.

Step 4:To Bake and Serve

Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the casserole just before serving. Cut into eight portions with a sharp knife. Serve hot.

Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a baking dish

FAQs and Expert Tips For This Recipe

Can I layer enchiladas instead of rolling?

Yes!! Just follow the steps in this easy casserole and layer the tortillas, filling, and cheese instead of rolling them like traditional enchiladas.

What are the best tortillas for enchiladas?

Corn tortillas are more traditional and naturally gluten-free, but flour tortillas are also a good option. Choose 8-inch flour or 6-inch corn because they fit best in the baking dish to create the layer of tortillas.

What sides go with enchiladas?

Try servings this casserole with this 5 minute Mexican Coleslaw recipe, which is the easiest and fastest option. The lime dressing and cilantro go great with the earthy spice in this recipe. Or if you are serving a crowd the Mexican Corn Salad would be fantastic and can be made ahead. Mexican Bean Salad is also a great make ahead side dish to serve with these Enchiladas. 

How To Make Homemade Low Sodium Red Enchilada Sauce

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons avocado or organic canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Chop half an onion, add it to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in 5 chopped garlic cloves and sauté for 30-60 seconds.
  2. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, add 1 1/2 cups homemade stock or store-bought unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, one 28 ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and puree until smooth.
  3. Use immediately or divide into smaller containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

The best part is that this recipe makes 6 cups of enchilada sauce and you’ll only need 2 cups for this Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole, so just freeze the remaining sauce for an even quicker weeknight meal in the future!

Additional Recipes To Try

This chicken and rice casserole is one of our favorite recipes and is made entirely from scratch (no canned soup!)

A family tradition, this fish casserole is cheesy and comforting and gets rave reviews!

A classic combo: chicken and biscuits casserole, and left-over turkey also works. 

This butternut squash lasagna is a great recipe to make for company.

Tell the kiddos it’s mac and cheese!! They’ll love this Macaroni and cheese with broccoli.

This healthy beef lasagna with spinach and basil has a nice flavor and is a fan favorite. 

We like to call this butternut squash mac and cheese “grown-up mac and cheese!”

More Healthy DASH Recipes

Eating Well’s Eggplant Parmesan is a lighter take on the classic layered casserole.

Change up taco night with these fun Roasted Cauliflower Tacos.

This Mexican Style Bean Soup with Shredded Chicken will warm up and fill up your whole family.

This Paleo Taco Salad has a creamy spicy dressing that really takes it to the next level.

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a baking dish

Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Description

This Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole is adapted from the 28-Day Dash Diet. It is ready in just 40 minutes, a snap to make, super yummy and kid friendly. The simple homemade enchilada sauce takes this dish over the top. Gluten Free version, too! Serve with avocado, cilantro and Greek yogurt.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or organic canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning, *see note for homemade
  • 6 (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas, cut to fit the pan as needed *see note for gluten-free version
  • 2 cups Enchilada Sauce, homemade (see note) or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9 x 11 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Add the ground chicken and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the garlic and taco seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place two tortillas in the bottom of the baking dish overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/3 of the meat, 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the cheese. Create another two layers, ending with the shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese in melted and bubbly. Serve hot.

Notes

DASH Friendly Enchilada Sauce

  • Heat 2 tablespoons avocado or organic canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Chop half an onion, add it to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Stir in 5 chopped garlic cloves and sauté for 30-60 seconds.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, add 1 1/2 cups homemade stock or store-bought unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, one 28 ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and puree until smooth.
  • Use immediately or divide into smaller containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Gluten-Free Tip

For a gluten free version substitute corn tortillas for the whole-wheat.

Salt Free Taco Seasoning

Stir together 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (optional), 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 casserole
  • Calories: 420
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 28 g

Keywords: Dash recipes, layered enchilada, enchilada casserole, healthy enchilada casserole