Chicken Enchiladas are a very popular dish both at home and in the restaurant. But finding a tortilla that is low carb, easy and actually tastes better than cardboard is no easy task. So, let’s just skip the tortillas and make a Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Taking care to not dry out the chicken and making a great enchilada sauce ensures that you won’t even miss the tortillas! Btw, great enchilada sauces can be easy when made from a fresh enchilada spice blend.Jump to Recipe
Ingredients for Low Carb Version:
Tortillas are really the only thing that makes enchiladas really heavy in carbs. This version makes the enchiladas as a casserole instead of as the topping for tortillas. Of course you can always serve fresh crispy tortillas with the casserole if you are not on a low carb diet.
If you want to have tortillas with your casserole but want to remain compliant with low carb eating, try these homemade low carb tortillas.
Tomatoes and peppers do include some natural sugars so this is not a carb-free recipe. I personally don’t mind the carbs when they are in the form of vegetables and some fruits, as the benefits of all the micronutrients are significant.
With respect to losing weight with a low carb lifestyle (not keto), it is a matter of looking at the daily totals of carbs and sugar and not just a particular meal. Logging all the daily metrics is a pain, but if you really want to lose weight with low carb eating, it is a necessary pain for a while.
Low Carb Enchilada Sauces
There is a huge array of enchilada sauces, ranging from shelf stable sauces at the grocery store, to scrumptious, home-made sauces.
The enchilada sauces from the grocery store that are typically canned and premade are extremely watery and don’t have a lot of flavor.
Homemade enchilada sauces are typically packed with flavor, but can be time consuming to make from scratch, especially if you are roasting and rehydrating dried chile peppers.
Easiest Way to Make a Great Enchilada Sauce
I’ve tried to find the “goldilocks” solution that gives you a robustly flavored sauce but doesn’t require roasting and peeling or reconstituting the peppers. I believe I have found it using a spice blend from smoked peppers.
The sauce for the Low Carb Chicken Enchilada recipe below is made with HeathGlen’s Enchilada Spice blend, which is a blend of freshly harvested anchos and jalapenos that have been smoked, dried, ground and blended with other spices.
You can find chile pepper powders for purchase in many stores, but just beware that freshness counts for a lot. It is difficult to tell in the grocery store how long the spices have been sitting in a warehouse or on the grocery shelf.
Pros and Cons of Sauce-Making Methods:
- spice blends are easy but you must find fresh ones,
- store-bought sauces are easiest of all but hard to find quality, especially in the low carb versions,
- homemade sauces using dried peppers are great (but take some time).
Basic Steps in Making this Recipe:
Typical Mexican Garnishes
Our family is always happy with pickled jalapenos and some extra cheese or sour cream. But, if that won’t satisfy your family, here are some other great ideas to top off your casserole:
- Sliced avocados
- Chopped green chiles
- Hot sauce or salsa, or more enchilada sauce
Really, the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!
Popular Recipes Using Enchilada Sauce
Want more Enchilada sauce ideas? Try these recipes:
- Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Enchilada Sauce
- Chile Colorado with Cactus and Pork
- Mexican-style braised short ribs
Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely or mashed
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 4 Tbsp Enchilada spice blend
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2-1 tsp salt
- 2-3 large chicken breasts rotisserie chicken or home-made slow cooked chicken
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2-3 med pickled jalapenos, chopped
- sour cream optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.If you are using rotisserie chicken from the store, skip this step. Otherwise, put a pot of water with a little chicken bouillion on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, turn down the heat to medium and cook about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes (or until translucent). Add garlic for 30-60 seconds
- Add the next 5 ingredients (bell pepper through salt) to skillet and simmer gently over med-high until slightly thickened (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from burner and let cool slightly.
- While enchilada sauce is cooling, shred chicken and place in bottom of 9 x 11 baking dish. Your can use store-bought rotisserie chicken or you can cook raw chicken breasts ahead of time.
- Pour sauce from skillet into a blender and puree a few minutes until smooth. Pour over shredded chicken and bake until heated through (about 10 minutes).
- Pull casserole out of oven and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Place back in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with chopped pickled jalapenos and sour cream and serve alone or with heated, crisped tortillas
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