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Lighter chicken and black bean enchiladas

Lighter chicken and black bean enchiladas, fun to make with the kids!

In the house where I grew up, nary an enchilada graced our dinner table. In fact, we never ate any Tex-Mex or Mexican food at all. (A deprived childhood. I know that now.) In my own kitchen, I love to create pans of enchiladas with leftover bits from the Thanksgiving table, and sometimes I make the classic combos, too. This version of the popular creamy chicken and black bean enchiladas is a little bit healthier without losing any of the gooey goodness that makes them crave-worthy. Use whole wheat low-carb tortillas, low-fat cheese, and nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the filling; you won't miss a few calories and carbs. I love my own crazy mixed-up red enchilada sauce, which gets its light, bright flavor from sofrito; a good-quality canned sauce will be fine if you don't have time to make your own. The small amount of green chiles doesn't make these very spicy, but you can leave them out if you wish. Let your kids help you fill and roll the enchiladas for some family fun in the kitchen.

Lighter (but still creamy) chicken and black bean enchiladas, a hit with the whole family.

Lighter chicken and black bean enchiladas

From the pantry, you'll need: frozen chicken breasts, canned black beans, cumin, canned green chiles, grated or shredded cheese, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, whole wheat low-carb tortillas, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, cooking spray.

Makes 8 enchiladas; serves 4.


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken)
2 cups canned black beans
4-oz can diced green chiles, drained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cups grated cheese, divided (I use storebought low-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
2-1/2 cups enchilada sauce, homemade or canned
8 taco-size whole wheat low-carb tortillas
Cooking spray


If you're starting with uncooked chicken breasts, set a small pot of water on the stove. Add the chicken, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, and place in a large mixing bowl to cool. When it's cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray, and set aside.

To the mixing bowl with the shredded chicken, add the beans, chiles, cumin, Greek yogurt, 1 cup of the grated cheese, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Divide the filling evenly among the 8 tortillas. Place the filling at one end of each tortilla, and roll firmly. Place the tortilla seam side down in the casserole dish. Continue filling and rolling all of the tortillas, and pack them into the dish.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce all over the tortillas, and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Serve hot, garnished with your favorite toppings (chopped green onion, chopped avocado, salsa, sour cream).

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More enchilada comfort food:
Smoky pumpkin and brown rice enchiladas, from The Perfect Pantry
Easy beef enchiladas, from Recipe Girl
Breakfast enchiladas, from Gimme Some Oven
Pineapple salsa chicken enchiladas, from Gluten-free Goddess
Spicy beer braised lime chicken enchiladas, from How Sweet It Is
Roasted vegetable enchiladas, from Vintage Mixer

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I don't think I ever tasted enchiladas until I first went to a Mexican restaurant in high school. But we did have greasy fried tacos on the menu often when I was growing up. Can't imagine not having those flavors now, and your enchiladas sound great!

Using Greek yogurt and l/f cheese looks looks like a good sub, with plenty of taste. And I'll go for hotter chiles.

Thanks! Making enchiladas seem like a huge undertaking, but your recipe is quite the opposite. Perfect for cooks like me!

Kalyn, I know all of these foods existed in New York, where I grew up, but my parents just didn't expand our food horizons. I can't imagine not having these flavors now, either.

Susan, you'll never notice that these enchiladas are a little bit less rich.

Deborah, not hard at all. My grandson made these with me, and we had a wonderful time.

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