Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

Before we even get started, let me just say that I know many of you (don’t look away, I’m talking to YOU!) are going to dismiss this recipe because of the ingredient list. And while I admit, it’s on the long side, I have to implore you to dig deep within your cooking soul and trust me when I say that it looks worse than it really is. Promise.

With absolutely no exaggeration in my words, this Mexican-inspired meal is hands down the best Mexican/Tex-Mex style recipe I have ever posted. I’m not kidding. I make a decent amount of Mexican food but am usually left a bit underwhelmed and 90% of the recipes never get posted because I really, really only want to put the best of the best out here for you to try.

Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

This enchilada casserole is truly the best of the best. It is mild in spiciness (you could definitely heat it up more if you like) but has tremendous flavor from the classic cumin/chili powder/coriander trio and the myriad of peppers, onion and garlic. Quickly browning the corn tortillas before assembling is brilliant because while they soften a bit during baking, they keep a tasty amount of tenderness and bite which keeps the casserole from becoming a soggy, mushy mess. And I don’t know about you but I firmly believe that soggy, mushy casseroles do not belong on the planet.

I have my share of food cravings; Mexican-inspired dishes are rarely, rarely among them. Until now. I literally have wanted to make this casserole every day since we first had it. The leftovers are fantastical and I already have the real deal on our menu plan for next week because it is just that good. I mean, just look at it. Doesn’t it scream “eat me up” with all that cheesy, saucy, black bean goodness? In the words of others far more eloquent than I: Holy Yum.

P.S. Winners were chosen for the Panini griddle giveaway. Kind of freaky that all three random winners have last names starting with P. Or is it just me? Congrats to the winners!

Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

What To ServeTortilla chips (or for something more fancy these Curried Nachos with Mango Salsa)
Fresh, seasonal fruit
Steamed veggie or something like this Skillet Squash Medley

One Year Ago: Brown Sugar Crackle Cookies
Two Years Ago: Healthy Chicken Nuggets {Baked}
Three Years Ago: Lemon Berry Trifle

Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

Yield: Serves 6-8

Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

Don't let the poblano chile scare you! If I can find it in my small-town grocery store, you can find it, too. Poblanos are fairly mild and longer and more slender than a bell pepper. Just do it. You'll be happy at the flavor it imparts. Oh, and also? Don't be turned off by the long list of ingredients. This comes together quickly and perfectly. By the way, I have not tried freezing this ahead of time, but I think it would probably fare pretty well as a freezer meal. Also (and I promise this is the last thing), it stands a good chance of being spectacular as a meatless dish if you omit the ground meat (or conversely, subbing in cooked chicken for the meat).

Ingredients

  • 14 corn tortillas cut into thirds
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 large poblano chile, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9X13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Arrange the cut tortillas in a single layer on two large, rimmed baking sheets. Bake the tortillas until slightly crisp, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef or turkey with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper breaking the meat up into bite-sized pieces. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Scrape the meat onto a plate and wipe the skillet clean (you may need to drain off excess grease from the meat depending on the fat content).
  4. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil and stir in the onion, bell pepper, poblano, corn and garlic. Cook until the veggies are softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir the flour, chile powder, cumin and coriander into the vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans, lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Line the bottom of the greased baking pan with 1/3 of the baked tortillas. Layer with 1/3 of the meat and then 1/3 of the veggie/sauce mixture and then sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat that process again twice more ending with the cheeses.
  6. Bake the casserole until hot and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/tex-mex-enchilada-casserole/

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home October 2012 (cut out significant amount of butter/oil, changed the meat mixture and a few other spices and added cilantro)

92 Responses to Tex-Mex Enchilada Casserole

  1. hlalle says:

    Hi Mel- This casserole looks fantastic. When should we add the cooked meat to the casserole? I don’t see that step listed in the recipe. Thank you so much.

  2. Jen T says:

    Yum! What about using flour instead of corn tortillas???

  3. Stacey says:

    I crave Mexican all the time, so with your glowing recommendation I’ll definitely give this a try!

  4. Teresa R. says:

    I may try this with cooked chicken. I love one dish meals and this recipe sounds like a winner!

  5. Rebecca says:

    dang. my pin it button isn’t working. Can not wait to try this!!!!

  6. Jocelyn says:

    I am most eager to try this! However, some members of my family don’t care for corn tortillas. Could I substitute flour tortillas? Thanks so much.

  7. This looks absolutely amazing!! Love the corn and black beans peeking out around all that cheese….perfect!!

  8. Connie says:

    This looks and sounds delicious. Do you think this would freeze well? I’m thinking that the tortillas and the sauce would not freeze well, but would be able to freeze half of the meat/vegetable mixture and assemble the second half of the casserole after thawing. One 9X13 pan is too much for two old empty-nesters at one time.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Connie – I mentioned in the note above the recipe that I haven’t tried freezing it so I can’t guarantee results but it’s probably worth a try. To minimize work, I’d just go ahead and freeze the assembled casserole (before baking), then just thaw and bake (or even bake from frozen adding extra time). The tortillas in the frozen casserole may get a bit softer.

  9. Jenna says:

    Oh, definitely going on our next menu plan.

  10. Kathy says:

    We love Mexican food in our house! I’m sure this would be a winner!

  11. Kim in RI says:

    so glad I found this recipe today! I am making it tonight, but plan to use some cooked chicken that I have leftover, as well as the flour tortillas. Will come back tomorrow and let you know how it turned out!

  12. Tamera says:

    How did you cut the tortillas into thirds? Pie shapes or long strips?

  13. Kara Penrose says:

    I am making this for dinner tonight! I’ll let you know what the hubs thinks :)

  14. Rebecca says:

    Hmmm. I just added your Mexican lasagna to my menu for next week and then you posted this!! Which of those two do you prefer?

    • Mel says:

      Rebecca – I probably prefer this casserole right at the moment because I’ve had it more recently but the Mexican lasagna is a winner, too.

  15. danielle says:

    Another recipe I want to try to make right away! I’m putting Poblano pepper on the gorcery list. :)

  16. Laura D says:

    This looks so good!!! I agree that it will probably freeze well – I have frozen dishes containing both corn and flour tortilla enchiladas just fine.

  17. Tiggerr says:

    I can’t believe it. A recipe without cream cheese in it!. Since I have been following you, my kids have noticed that we now have more cream cheese in the house than ketchup! That’s saying something because my in-laws think ketchup can cure anything. Thanks for all the good things to try!

  18. Melanie from SLC says:

    I make a recipe that’s very similar to this and I have tried freezing it–let me tell you, yuck. The corn tortillas get mushy and it just ruins the texture. Flour tortillas might make a difference–I haven’t tried it yet. This looks great! Can’t wait to make it!

  19. Michelle says:

    Looks delicious!! Can’t wait to give it a try. I also love your new look! Very clean and professional. The colors are great!

  20. christine says:

    This came as a SHOCKER… my 7 year old kids gobbled this up! No such a surprise for my son as it was my daughter. She thought the bean looked like a plumped raisin – that being the only reason she tried it and a testament to how much she detests all Mexican food. Kids had big seconds, renamed the recipe, and requested leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner!! What a winner!

  21. Kara Penrose says:

    Ok, so I have it in the oven! I will update my blog with pics of how it turned out. I can tell you now that it smells amazing. We made a few changes, tho:
    1) we omitted the cumin… a mexi dish without cumin? i know! But I didn’t realize til it was too late that I was out!
    2) we added a smidge more flour to thicken the mixture (about 1/3c instead of 1/4)
    3) we added more cheese! why? because we LOVE cheese, haha.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Mel! We are pairing it with some taco rice for a carbalicious mexi meal.

  22. Colleen says:

    I made this for dinner tonight (was writing my shopping list when you posted this morning). I am normally not a fan of corn tortillas, either, but you’re right, they really do make this dish. I like that it didn’t just taste like a taco seasoning packet, too. The length of the ingredient list wasn’t intimidating, but the prep time took me forever. I think next time I may try the sauce/veggies in the crock pot with raw chicken breast (reducing the broth). Then I can shred the chicken while the tortillas bake, so it’s less prep when I get home from work.

  23. Laura Gratias says:

    We just tried this dinner and it was DELICIOUS! My son left for wrestling practice before it was done and I promised to save him a large helping as he was commenting on how delicious it was smelling! My grocery store didn’t have the poblano pepper so I just added an orange pepper. Anxious to try it again with the poblano pepper! Thanks for all the wonderful, home-made recipes!

  24. Jen M says:

    If you omit the meat would you replace it with more beans to take the place of the meat or just leave it out without replacing it with anything?

  25. KathyH says:

    I made this for dinner tonight & it was a hit, just the hubby & I but we both really liked it. I couldn’t find a pablono so use an anheim as that was all my store had. I think a couple of seeded jalapenos would work in a pinch too. Couldn’t find any Monterey Jack cheese except for a pack of shredded with jalapenos which worked out well I think. I live in a tiny town in the middle of Montana, we are lucky to have a store! I pinned this & we will have it often, I agree the list is long but not a difficult recipe at all. Thanks!

  26. Jody says:

    Ooh, this looks incredible!! I can’t get poblano peppers in the country im currently living in but I am going to make this sometime this week. Thank you so much for posting!

  27. hlalle says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was wonderful! Thank you for the recipe. My family loved it.

  28. Courtney says:

    This was unbelievably delicious. I made it with your Divine One-Minute Salsa and my husband gave both a score of 10/10!

    • Mel says:

      Ok, can I just say that I have the best visitors/readers/friends/whatever-you-want-to-call-yourselves in the world? The fact that so many of you have made this AND REPORTED BACK already is astounding to me. Even my husband couldn’t believe that the same night I posted this, there were reviews of the recipe in the comments section. Thank you for being awesome (and for making the recipes!). Love your guts. Tons.

  29. KathyH says:

    After seeing the picture I had no choice, had to make it that night. It was every bit as good as I thought it would be too. Now on to those Eskimo Bars, those look dangerous!

  30. SusanK says:

    Hi Mel-
    Is the flour just used to thicken the sauce? Would corn starch work do you think? I want to make a gluten free version. I can’t wait to try this it sounds so yummy. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Susan – yes, the flour is used to thicken the sauce so you could probably adapt using cornstarch (mixing the cornstarch with liquid before adding it to the sauce) to make it gluten free.

  31. StephanieW says:

    I made this last night as well – I used shredded chicken and it was great! We all loved it and the leftovers were great for lunch today!!

  32. Jessica says:

    Yum! Going to try this soon! For those who think flour would bea better choice of tortilla, I would warn that they tend to get soggier faster in these types of dishes. But, I’m a corn tortilla girl all the way. :) love your blog!

  33. Marie says:

    What size corn tortillas are we talking about?

  34. Clarissa Meegan says:

    This was an simple, quick and delicious dinner! I omitted the meat and just doubled the amount of beans. I also didn’t have a poblano pepper on hand so I didn’t add that either…but it still turned out great! Thanks again!

  35. Marinda says:

    Trying this tonight! Went to get the pepper at the store and they didn’t have it. Luckily for me I just googled it at the store on my phone and found that they are usually mislabeled at the stores as pasillas. Lucky for me they had those! So pasillas that are fresh are really poblanos. Real pasillas are dried poblanos. Can’t wait to try it. Tempted to do the chicken version someone else did since I have chicken already in the fridge.

  36. Jill says:

    Hi! I made this tonight…I am wondering if there might be a typo in the recipe. Mine turned out incredibly spicy. Did you mean 2 teaspoons (vs tablespoons) Chile powder, or maybe Chili powder (vs. Chile powder?) Other than being super spicy, the casserole is great! Will definitely try it again with less spice

    • Mel says:

      Jill – it isn’t a typo but you might want to check to see what kind of chile powder you are using. That might be the issue. What kind did you use? I was using “chile” and “chili” interchangeably since my chile powder is labeled just that – “chile” but it isn’t spicy. Just a deep kind of smoky flavor with a hint of heat.

  37. Danielle says:

    Loved it! My husband isn’t a huge veggie eater but this has worked for him. :) We’ll be making it again.

  38. Rachel says:

    Thank you Mel for another great recipe! My family loved it.

  39. Anna says:

    My boyfriend made this for me after I bought all of the ingredients, but I was too busy doing homework to cook. It was so amazing! We will be making it again for sure.
    He added some re-fried beans because we didn’t have the full amount of ground beef we needed. Also, we couldn’t find poblanos so we used a jalapeno and half an Anaheim pepper. And, we also added tomatoes!
    Delicious!

  40. MaryAnn says:

    Started off the Cinco de Mayo weekend with this dish, absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing, it’s a keeper!!!

  41. This looks delicious! I love poblano peppers but have a really hard time finding them. I guess I’ll start searching again :)

  42. Carol says:

    Made this last night and my family loved it! We are gluten free so we substituted with the flour blend I use. It has rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. It thickened beautifully. Oh, and I had made great similar recipes in the past, but the part that I LOVED about this one was the toasted tortillas. Made such a difference. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes!

  43. Rita says:

    Yup, another winner! I’m planning on freezing half since I’m having surgery later this week. Any suggestions for other make-ahead and freeze type meals. I’d love to have a bunch ready for when I’m not up to cooking.

  44. Karen says:

    Another name for Poblano pepper is Pasilla pepper. That is how both of my grocery stores had them.(Albertsons and Smith’s) I am not a fan of corn tortillas so I don’t buy them but after reading the comments I will try them. I noticed at the store that there are white and yellow-I’m assuming it doesn’t matter which to use but what did you happen to use?

  45. SusanK says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight – yum!! I used white corn tortillas and substituted my fav gluten free flour blend for the regular flour to make this gluten free. My husband and I loved it and are looking forward to the leftovers. Thanks for the great recipe Mel!

  46. Tina says:

    Just an FYI… Poblano peppers are also called Pasilla peppers (that’s how’s they’re labeled at my store). May want to put that in the recipe for all who look for poblano and can’t find them.
    I made it last night and everyone went for seconds. Quite time consuming prep though. Not a weeknight meal for sure.

  47. Brandie says:

    Thanks for bringing another winner to the table. The whole family loved it so it will definitely be making an appearance at our house again. I halved it for us and it worked great. Next time I will be making a whole batch and freezing half. Thanks Mel!!!!!!!!

  48. Erika says:

    The whole family loved it! Took about 45 mins to get in the oven. So not a really quick weeknight meal but to me definitely doable! Wouldn’t change a thing!

  49. Sarah says:

    I made this tonight with chicken and it was okay. I love pre-baking the tortillas to make them crispy but I prefer more sauce. Maybe next time I’ll double the sauce.

  50. Michelle says:

    Made this for the first time last night with great results! Everyone in the family really enjoyed it. Thanks Mel!!

  51. Valerie says:

    Looks like I’m a little late to the party, but I made this tonight and it was awesome. I used a “Mexican chili powder” blend which is a little spicier, since there were just adults eating it, and halved the recipe, but it turned out great. Agree it’s a little labor-intensive, but SO worth it. Yum!

  52. GT says:

    Wow — this was fantastic! A real crowd pleaser! I garnished with chopped avocado along with the cilantro. Definitely will make again!

  53. Barbi says:

    We made this for dinner last night. This meal was super yum, when our lips and mouth weren’t on fire! LOL. I struggled with buying the Chil”e” powder. I wasn’t sure what kind to buy since there were a few options, but none of them were straight up “chile” powder. In an attempt to not spend $5-$7 on a bottle of chile powder, I bought a small package of arbol chile powder in the Mexican isle at my grocery store. It was $1.50 and the perfect amount! I soon learned not all “chile” powders are the same. I purchased a chile powder that is the equivalent to cayenne pepper and proceeded to put 2 tablespoons into my vegetable mix. Unfortunately, I did not know this until I sampled the vegetable mix and it was very, very spicy. After a quick google search we learned the spice level of the arbol chile and the “fun fact” the Chile De Arbol Powder is on the high end of the heat scale… Oops! So in summary, be careful with the chile powder you buy/use unless you like it *SPICY!*

  54. Susan says:

    Mel!

    Whenever i want to try a new recipe, yours is the blog i turn to. This recipe is fantastic. I made the dish as a casserole without adding the tortillas, and stuffed tortillas with the mix after, as a wrap. And i also used mexican chile powder which was fantastic. This dish was a complete hit with my boyfriend – it is going into regular rotation for sure! Also, now i know what combination of spices to use to make my own taco seasoning, as i hate buying the seasoning packets from the grocery store, as they have just way too much sodium content!

    thanks for this. :)
    Susan

  55. Kristina says:

    I made this for dinner tonight with your Mexican rice on the side. So yummy!!! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  56. Alli says:

    I was looking for a Tex Mex dish to make for “my night” of cooking at the family beach vacation next week! I found it! I’m going to make guacamole and my frozen margarita mocktails to round it off. Looking forward to tasting this! Thanks for sharing.

  57. Jocelyn says:

    My family really enjoyed this. It was my first time using a poblano chile, but it won’t be my last! Thanks so much.

  58. Amanda Z says:

    This was so amazing!! I made an enchilada casserole a while ago, I don’t know where I got the recipe, but it wasn’t that impressive, so I was hesitant to try this. Wow, I was sooo wrong!! This had so much flavor and the crisp corn tortillas, this is a great one!! I added some sliced avocado in addition to the cilantro on the side, but followed everything else exactly! So so many of your recipes in my regular rotation now, I love you Mel!!

  59. Amy P says:

    The flavour of this is really good! I’d like it to be a little saucier next time though – my tortillas stayed kinda tough and dry. Next time I’ll add a bit more chicken broth I think.

  60. Leslie says:

    Could I substitute the ground beef for shredded chicken, or would that be weird? Cooking for a large group, but trying to accommodate some. Also how many would this feed?

  61. Deb says:

    SO yummy! I made this with cooked chicken, the sauce was delicious and I loved the texture from the toasted corn tortillas. Real winner Mel!

  62. Krissa says:

    With the hunts currently going on, I have had a lot of time on my hands and have made many of these recipes. This dish is SO good that after my husband and 13 yr old got home… My son came upstairs to my room and said, “thanks for dinner, it is soo good. I’m not done but I just wanted to let you know” What!?!? Is this my kid? Needless to say, Best feeling ever! Thanks Mel for sharing so many delicious recipes.

  63. Diane says:

    I was pretty skeptical about midway through this recipe (also… it didn’t come together especially quickly for me, but I already know I take FOREVER on most recipes), when my sauce started to thicken, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess I’ve never had a Mexican-style casserole without tomato something. But I was pleasantly surprised! Both my husband and I liked it enough to take seconds. I used an anaheim pepper, since I couldn’t find a poblano.

  64. Diane says:

    Mel, it may be worth noting that grocery stores may be labeling the poblano as a pasilla, as another commenter discovered. I checked today, and my store had pasillas, not poblanos, though the anaheim was still tasty. That might be why so many people couldn’t find them.

  65. Nicole L says:

    Has anyone tried freezing this?! It’s too much for our family of three at one meal…I like to make large casseroles in three loaf pans and freeze two for quick meals on busy nights. Just was hoping someone could share their thawing experience! Although it sounds like there’s usually not leftovers to experiment with ;)

    • Mel says:

      Nicole – I haven’t tried freezing it because we usually eat it up in a day or so (with leftovers) but my guess is that it would freeze great. Good luck if you try it!

  66. Alison says:

    I just came across this amazing sounding recipe while on the Six Sister’s website. I have all the ingredients to make this and I may just make it tomorrow night. I can not wait to try this one!!! Thanks in advance!

  67. Brianne Seamons says:

    If we wanted to sub chicken how much? The same as the ground beef? 1 1/2 lbs? Thanks

  68. Tricia Schrock says:

    Made this for dinner last night. It was delicious! My picky eaters even went for 2nds. This is the 3rd recipe from your site I have made and all have gotten a thumbs up at my house. I am loving your website!

  69. Debbie says:

    Made this last night and my family loved it! Thanks! I used white corn tortillas and it was great. I used two poblanos but otherwise everything as written. It was a tad dry — I might have over-thickened the vegetable mixture?

  70. Sharon S. says:

    We have just finished dinner, and this delicious dish was the star! I knew I would like it but was skeptical about my husband. He had two huge helpings and has some packed for tomorrow’s lunch already. Mel, I’ve just discovered your blog and am so please with how it’s working with my fairly new emphasis on clean eating. Your recipes fit wonderfully with my Weight Watchers program, often with little or no adjustment. You have a new fan!

  71. Jenn says:

    This was great, though I’ve come to expect nothing less from your recipes! I served it with tortilla chips and one of those new chopped salad kits from Dole, the chipotle ranch one. Went very well together.

  72. Diane says:

    I wanted to add that I’ve frozen half of this. I pulled it out the night before and had to cook it a little longer, but it was just as good.

  73. Mary says:

    This recipe is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing! I love tex-mex, but my family, not so much. I made this as a surprise dinner and they loved it!

    Plus I wasn’t in the kitchen forever!
    Thanks again!

  74. karen says:

    Hey Mel! I love this recipe but tonight we have family running in all different directions. Do you think it would work in a crockpot? Thanks!

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