This meal. Grain Free Chicken Enchiladas. It was the first successful meal I made as a new wife. That was six years ago and I still keep it in my back pocket.
If you’ve read my new book Come & Eat then you know about my many failed attempts in the kitchen as a new wife. There was burnt garlic bread, tragically pungent onion casserole, and a pie story I still have not told…give me time.
But this recipe. I first found a version of it in Cooking Light. It was the meal I made when my parents first visited since helping me move cross-country after our wedding. We all crammed into our tiny apartment kitchen and ate salsa like the tomato apocalypse was coming and I beamed as I proudly showed my mom my newfound cooking skills.
I still make it but with my own twist. It’s great to serve especially when we have people come stay with us. It doubles and triples easily. It also reheats really well so we’ve had it for dinner with our guests and then again the next morning as brunch – we just top it with refried beans and sunny-side-up eggs.
Grain Free Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Since Jeremy and I started cooking more Paleo and Primal meals I was determined to convert this to a grain-free option that tasted just as delicious. Also, I turned it into a casserole for all of us too busy to sit down and roll individual enchiladas.
What I am saying is this meal is so versatile! And with real ingredients! It can span days and meals. I have assembled it the night before and stored it in the refrigerator so it is ready to bake the next evening.
Here we go! Can we first talk about shredding chicken? I do not like it. No thank you. Nope. It took me a great deal of time shredding the chicken the first time I made this meal. With two forks and a large bowl.
Enter a stand mixer and a paddle attachment. And this is how we shred chicken in 30 seconds.
Perfectly shredded chicken in 30 seconds. Full tutorial here.
For the salsa verde, I just use a jar from my local grocery store. So many grocery stores now carry delicious jarred salsa verde.
Ready for the big change? Instead of cream cheese I used full coconut cream. Stay with me, sister! You do not taste the coconut cream. It is an amazing binding ingredient and makes the casserole super creamy!
Full disclosure? I was skeptical too but when I took the first bite of the completed product, I knew I could share it with you all. It tastes fantastic and keeps the casserole mixture completely paleo! Full coconut cream is the thick cream that sits at the top of a can of coconut milk. That is all we are using. Just scoop it from the top ; )
Using grain free tortillas keeps the whole recipe grain free. To make it a casserole I just slice the tortillas into 1 inch thick strips and layer it on top of the paleo chicken mixture:
Top with more salsa verde!
You can top with shredded cheese, Queso Fresco or omit the cheese all together and bake! We always serve it with my homemade salsa!
And dinner is served! Do you have a favorite casserole?!
Grain Free Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Grain Free Chicken Enchilada Casserole made with real ingredients! The chicken mixture is all paleo!
- 3 lbs chicken breast or chicken thighs, shredded (or 3 cups precooked, shredded chicken)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 12 oz fresh salsa verde
- 1/3 cup full fat canned coconut cream (or cream cheese)
- 6 (6-inch) grain-free corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips
Optional: 1/2 cup shredded cheese or crumbled queso fresco
Serve With: Lime wedges Cilantro Hot sauce Salsa
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- If your chicken breasts are raw, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 TBS oil. Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 pepper. Add to skillet and cook for 6 minutes on each side. Shred. If you have an Instant Pot, for fresh chicken, add it to the IP with 1 cup water or chicken stock. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes. Shred! For frozen chicken, add to the IP with 1 cup water or chicken stock. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes. Shred.
- In a bowl, combine shredded chicken, salt, cumin, and coconut cream. Stir in 6 oz salsa verde. Reserve remaining salsa verde.
- For casserole style, add the chicken mixture to a 11×7 inch baking dish evenly spreading it throughout the dish. You can either do this in layers or all at once. If you want layers, add half the chicken mixture, then the sliced tortillas. Add the rest of the chicken mixture and the rest of the tortilla strips. Top with remaining salsa and sprinkle with a layer of cheese. You can also just add all the chicken mixture to the baking dish, add a layer of tortilla strips, the remaining salsa verde and then a layer of shredded cheese.
- Cover and bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes to get the cheese bubbly.
Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Additional method: To make it enchilada style, for step 4: spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla and roll up. Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Proceed to step 5.
Can be made a day ahead of time. Cover unbaked casserole and keep in refrigerate. Bake the next evening. This recipe easily doubles and triples.
In the photos it looks like you are making green sauce but you don’t have that in the actual recipe. Do you have green sauce recipe you could share?
I use a jar of salsa verde for the green sauce! (I posted this recipe several years ago and would add fresh ingredients to my jar of salsa verde to make it a little more fresh. But I have since modified the recipe since lots of grocery stores carry delicious salsa verde!)
Hi Bri – LOVE your recipes, giving this one a try next week – however the directions aren’t real clear about how many layers you do. Step 4 says to “add the chicken mixture”, it doesn’t say one half or one third, etc. Thanks.
Hi, Jennifer! I updated the recipe to be more clear on the layers (and the layers are optional but I also address that)!
My 7yo said, “This is awesome! When can you make it again?” It’s definitely getting added to the meal rotation, so happy I don’t have to roll the tortillas. We used Frontero tomatillo salsa, cream cheese (will definitely try coconut cream next), and corn tortillas. So good!
I want to try this! I would hate to waste the rest of the coconut cream, though. Any ideas for what else I can do with the rest of the can before it goes bad? Thanks!
I made this tonight as part of the Everyday Kitchen Masterclass extra tasks. My husband loved it and even went back for seconds. The guacamole and salsa were perfect compliments. This will definitely be added to our normal meal queue. Thanks, Bri!