Healthy meets indulgent in this Cheesy Quinoa Mexican Casserole. Mix cooked quinoa with homemade enchilada sauce, black beans, chicken, and of course, plenty of cheese. Pop into the oven until bubbly and hot, and it’s ready to go! Easy to throw together, can be made ahead and a surefire win for family dinners.
Can’t stop, won’t stop creating riffs on classic chicken enchiladas.
It’s become an insatiable appetite that I can no longer control. How many dishes do you think I can turn into a chicken enchilada?? It started with these Chicken Enchilada Empanadas, next, I went classic with these traditional enchiladas, and then I went way off the beaten path with this Chicken Enchilada Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust. All full of classic chicken enchilada flavors, but all radically different – and today is no exception.
Here’s what’s happening: Toss cooked quinoa with homemade (or store-bought) enchilada sauce, shredded chicken (rotisserie all the way!), black beans, onions, and garlic, layer with cheese and bake! It’s the perfect heart-healthy way to get your enchilada fix without all the nasty white-flour carbs.
- Sauté onion, garlic, salt, chili powder and cumin. Turn the heat on medium and cook until onions are softened, about five minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together chicken, quinoa, veggies, black beans, enchilada sauce and 3/4 cup shredded cheese.
- Transfer to baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake until hot and cheese is melted, about 30-35 minutes.
- Scoop everything into bowls, top with light sour cream, avocado and lots of fresh cilantro.
Do I have to use quinoa??
I’d say yes on this. I haven’t tested it with anything else, but if you do want to venture into something else. Farro, barley or brown rice may work.
Do you have a great recipe for enchilada sauce?
YES! There is no shame in buying enchilada sauce here, but if you want to make it yourself, do it. This is my very favorite enchilada sauce. It’s the perfect combination of tang, spice, and smokiness.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Swap out shredded chicken for leftover fajita chicken, chopped shrimp, or ground turkey.
- Leave out the meat altogether and double the amount of beans for a vegetarian version.
- Be sure to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking! This will get rid of any bitterness the quinoa may have.
- If you can’t find low-fat Mexican cheese, use an equal part of low-fat mozzarella and low-fat cheddar.
For more quinoa bakes, check out these posts:
BBQ Chicken Quinoa Casserole: Gimme Some Oven
Leftover Baked Quinoa and Chili Eggs: Bacon + Egg + Cheesecake
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers: Pickled Plum
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 cups shredded chicken
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ¼ cups low-fat Mexican cheese, shredded (or 1/2 cup mozzarella and 3/4 cup low-fat cheddar)
- avocado, sour cream and cilantro for garnish
- casserole dish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a small sauté pan, add oil, onion, garlic, salt, chili powder and cumin. Turn the heat on medium and cook until onions are softened, about five minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together chicken, quinoa, veggies, black beans, enchilada sauce and 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Transfer to baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until hot and cheese is melted, about 30-35 minutes.
- Serve with low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado, and cilantro.