casserole dish of chicken enchiladas with text overlay: "Easy Real Food Chicken Enchiladas (healthy Mexican casserole!)"

Deconstructed Chicken Enchiladas

I challenged myself to learn how to make enchilada casserole from scratch -- and it turned out so yummy! With authentic Mexican corn tortillas, homemade red sauce, lots of vegetables, and soaked beans for better digestion, these easy chicken enchiladas are sooo healthy. Top with chopped fresh herbs, sour cream, and avocados... and enjoy for dinner or even breakfast the next day! Can you EVER beat homemade comfort food?!

Course Main
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 9 people
Author Haniya Cherry


For the homemade enchilada sauce:

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 sweet red pepper diced
  • 3 cups kale de-stalked
  • 2 cups shredded chicken or see beef variation, below
  • 4 cups pinto beans cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas halved
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese grated


To make the enchilada sauce...

  1. Melt butter in a medium size pot over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, add flour.
  3. Whisk briskly to combine and continue whisking for 1 minute, letting it cook.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and seasonings.
  5. Slowly add broth, continuing to whisk.
  6. Once combined, increase heat to medium-high.
  7. Bring sauce to a simmer and let thicken.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Add lemon juice.
  10. Set aside.

To make the filling and assemble...

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Saute butter, onion, and bell pepper together until soft.
  3. Add 2/3 of the finished enchilada sauce. Stir.
  4. Add kale, let it wilt for a minute (cover the pot if necessary), then stir it in.
  5. Stir in chicken and beans.
  6. Add sea salt, to taste.

  7. Pour 1/2 of the remaining enchilada sauce into a 9x13" casserole dish.
  8. Cover bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of tortilla halves.
  9. Layer 1/3 of the chicken mixture over the tortilla halves so they are evenly covered.
  10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese in an even layer over top of the chicken mixture.
  11. Repeat.
  12. Finally, layer again with tortilla halves, remaining 1/3 chicken mixture, all remaining enchilada sauce, and remaining 1/3 grated cheese.
  13. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered.

  14. Once warm and bubbly, remove from oven.
  15. Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado chunks, and sour cream. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Beef variation (instead of chicken): When making filling, brown 2 pounds ground beef with onion and bell pepper. (Omit butter unless beef is very lean.) When fully cooked, drain liquid and discard. Add 2/3 of the enchilada sauce and proceed as written to assemble the enchilada casserole, with the exception of 2 cups of pinto beans (instead of 4 cups).