Help pimp my green chili enchilada recipe
May 29, 2023 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I wanted a recipe for easy casserole style green chili enchiladas that was as low in saturated fat as I could reasonably make it. I came up with the recipe which follows at the end. Please help me pimp it!

I did not want to use any shredded cheese which permeates most Mexican dishes. The following recipe meets that requirement and actually tastes pretty good. It is also simple which is also a requirement. However, it does lack the binding and flavor enhancing qualities of cheese. What can I add instead that is very low in saturated fat but also bakes well and tastes good?

I've thought of some refried beans, nutritional yeast (which I have no experience with) and yogurt. However, I'm not sure how these would taste, bake, or otherwise positively effect the recipe. Can you please think of something else or comment on what I have thought of?


- 1 lb deli shredded chicken
- 6 flour tortillas 8"
- 16 oz can Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
- 16 oz can black beans
- 16 oz can southwest style corn
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt


- Further shred the deli chicken into smaller pieces
- Combine and mix the aromatics in a bowl
- Poor 1/3 the enchilada sauce into a 9 x 13 in baking dish
- Place shredded chicken and mixture onto each tortilla, roll up and place in baking dish
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on the enchiladas
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

posted by Rad_Boy to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could top with sliced black olives before baking and sliced avocado after.
posted by shadygrove at 3:18 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]

If I weren't going to use cheese, I might try baking or roasting and then mashing some potatoes, then layering them in. Potatoes go well with enchilada-type dishes. For me, I would probably use the technique below:

Take as many potatoes as you like, pierce the skins and microwave them for about 10 minutes until they are starting to soften, then smush them so that they break open and are slightly flattened. Brush with olive oil, season as you see fit and bake in a 425 oven for about 30 minutes.
posted by Frowner at 3:30 PM on May 29 [2 favorites]

I think refried beans would go well in there and as you say provide some of the binding benefits of cheese.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:31 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]

Nutritional yeast will definitely add some umami flavor and thicken the sauce. In that sense it's 'like cheese', and I like the stuff a lot. But it doesn't really taste that much like cheese, and some people don't like it, only way to find out is to try! I'd mix 1-2 tablespoons with the second half of the sauce as a starting point.

Another fun way to dress up any Mexican /ish dish imo is to hydrate a few dried ancho peppers then purée them with some of the liquid and a bit of oil. You can do this a few days ahead of time and use that sauce for lots of other stuff too. It will have a lot of flavor but very little heat, so is very versatile.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:32 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]

Avocados definitely. And this might sound crazy but stirring your favorite low in saturated fat, finely crushed nuts/seeds or nut/seed butter into the enchilada sauce before adding to the baking dish. Maybe around 2-4 tablespoons? And maybe an extra spoonful of chili powder to round out the flavor. You’d be essentially creating a quick version of mole, which is lovely stuff for enchiladas.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 3:38 PM on May 29 [4 favorites]

Would you consider adding a step? Cooking some masa harina into your enchilada sauce might boost the thickness and texture a little bit?

Maybe try some onion powder to your spices too.
posted by dazedandconfused at 4:28 PM on May 29 [4 favorites]

Many recipes here in New Mexico use cream of chicken soup as a binder. It seems to meld the flavors and adds creaminess.

If you add avocado, don't heat them. It'll make the leftovers darken. Serve avocado fresh with green onions, for texture.
posted by answergrape at 5:03 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]

Use real green chile mixed into the chicken. You can get it online dried, frozen and canned.

Don't use chili powder from the grocery store. It's used for Texas chili con carne.
posted by answergrape at 5:16 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]

I'd add thinly sliced green chilis - the twisty long green ones are mild and delicious. Maybe some jalapenos if you like heat.
Refried beans or just mashed pinto beans as a base would add umami and a nice texture as abase.
posted by theora55 at 5:55 PM on May 29

Roasted butternut squash, sweet potato, or pumpkin that’s puréed with some chipotle peppers, cumin, and Mexican oregano. I usually purée with some cream cheese and use as an enchilada filling but to lower the fat you could leave it out. Contributes some of the umami and creaminess of cheese.
posted by wilky at 6:20 PM on May 29 [3 favorites]

My mom makes a white chicken enchilada casserole with a bechamel style base- you’d get saturated fat from the butter and milk/sour cream/etc, but maybe you could use oil or a butter substitute with the flour and just some chicken broth to make the sauce? This is similar to the recipe she uses.
posted by MadamM at 7:20 PM on May 29

Add pepitas and avocado oil to the chicken filling. Also mix in some of the green sauce. Ideally, you would mince up half of your pepitas, heat up avocado oil in a pan, and the other half whole to the oil and let them get a little fried. Turn off the heat and mix in the minced pepitas, then the chicken and sauce, just enough to lightly coat all the chicken. The avocado oil and minced pepitas should help add some slight binding and the whole ones will have great texture and flavor. The sauce will help moisten the meat and the interior of the tortillas so they are more tender throughout.

I highly suggest briefly frying your tortillas before assembling them (in a plant oil, obviously I suggest avocado oil). This would add a lot of richness, keep the tortillas malleable as you assemble the casserole, and allow the sauce to better flavor them. That probably doesn’t qualify as simple though because you need to assemble while the tortillas are still warm and kind of do an assembly line style construction where you fry them one at a time. Huge improvement though.
posted by Mizu at 7:30 PM on May 29

There's some great advice here already, especially adding masa harina as a sauce thickener and flavor enhancer (even if you only add 1-2 tablespoons to the entire volume of sauce you're working with, it'll help consolidate the liquid-ness and the flavor and fragrance of masa is a spot-on essential for "restaurant style" enchiladas). I also suggest that you really up the spice volumes. A single teaspoon of cumin for an entire tray of enchiladas seems woefully inefficient. Try a tablespoon or two (or three). Same goes for the garlic. While you're at it, consider adding a few other aromatic herbs. Oregano plays well with this recipe, for instance. If you're finishing with fresh avocado, cilantro should come along, too.

I love nutritional yeast (nooch). Feel free to play around with it in this recipe, including as a dry sprinkle that you add just before eating. It's pretty versatile. Start with a small amount to make sure you like it. It might seem odd at first, but all new foods tend to feel that way... then you start to crave them.

You might also be interested to try yondu. It's related to soy sauce but it doesn't have an overpowering flavor. A teaspoon or two added to your sauce will add some umami oomph to the dish without interfering with the sauce's flavor (like soy sauce or tamari would).

I am so hungry.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:00 AM on May 30

The new trick for this is to use fat free cottage cheese, blended until smooth. I know this sounds weird but I promise it works and tastes great.
posted by ananci at 6:13 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow so many great ideas! Thank you!
This will keep be busy for weeks.
posted by Rad_Boy at 11:49 AM on May 30

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