Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ground Turkey Low-Carb Enchilada Casserole with Red and Green Chiles (Gluten-Free)

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This Ground Turkey Low-Carb Enchilada Casserole was so good, I had leftovers for breakfast one day.

Ground Turkey Low-Carb Enchilada Casserole with Red and Green Chiles found on

I'm a casserole-loving girl, and after I came up with Green Chile and Chicken Mock Enchilada Casserole earlier this year, I kept thinking about variations of that recipe that might be good.  Then one day at the store I noticed Hatch had a gluten-free version of their Red Chile Enchilada Sauce, and that got my creative cooking energy working a bit more. 

This Ground Turkey Low-Carb Enchilada Casserole with Red and Green Chiles uses the red chile sauce but has layers of whole green chiles as well, for a flavorful casserole that will really get your tastebuds going.  And just like the chicken mock enchilada casserole, there's plenty of cheese and a little sour cream to tone down the heat.  Jake and I gobbled this up when we tested the recipe, and then I had leftovers for breakfast yesterday after I found them in the fridge, so I think I can say it's a keeper!

Chop up a large onion and a large Poblano (Pasilla) pepper into pieces about 1/2 inch or slightly smaller.

Heat a little olive oil and saute the onion and Poblano pieces over medium high heat until they're starting to brown, 4-5 minutes.

I used this Jenni-O lean ground turkey that's 90% lean, but if your store sells freshly ground turkey thigh meat that would also be great.

Remove the onion-pepper mixture, heat a little more olive oil, and add the ground turkey and cook over high heat until it starts to brown.  (Most ground turkey has water added, so you need to let that evaporate before any browning will start.)  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is the gluten-free red enchilada sauce I used for the recipe, and unless you really like a lot of heat I definitely recommend getting MILD.  If you need gluten-free and can't find this sauce, La Victoria also makes a gluten-free enchilada sauce.

When the turkey is nicely browned, put the onions and peppers back in the pan, add 2 cans enchilada sauce, and let the mixture simmer until most of the liquid is reduced, about 30 minutes on low.

While the meat mixture simmers, drain the large can of whole green chiles well. 

When the meat mixture has cooked down like this, turn off the heat and let it cool enough that you can add sour cream without it curdling.

Use your fingers or a knife to split the green chiles open, stacking them into two piles so you can make two equal layers in the casserole dish.  (I pat them dry with paper towels if they still seem wet.)

Once the meat mixture has cooled about 10 minutes, stir in the sour cream.

Spray a 9" x 13" (or similar size) casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of green childs, completely covering the bottom of the dish.

Spread half the turkey/sauce mixture over the green chiles.

Sprinkle that with half of each type of cheese.

Make another layer each of whole green chiles, sauce, and cheese.

Bake at 375F uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the casserole is bubbling.  Serve hot (with sour cream if desired.)

Ground Turkey Low-Carb Enchilada Casserole with Red and Green Chiles (Gluten-Free)
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn and inspired by Green Chile and Chicken Mock Enchilada Casserole.

1 large onion, chopped in pieces about 1/2 inch or slightly smaller
1 large Poblano (Pasilla) pepper, chopped in pieces about 1/2 inch or slightly smaller
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
2 lbs. lean ground turkey (I used ground turkey with only 10% fat)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to season turkey
2 cans (15 oz.) red chile enchilada sauce (I recommend mild unless you really like a lot of heat; I used Hatch Gluten Free Red Chile Enchilada Sauce.)
3/4 cup light sour cream (plus more for serving if desired, optional)
1 large can (27 oz.) whole green chiles (I found Hatch Whole Green Chilies, 27-Ounce can at, but they are more expensive that way.  Look for them in a Mexican market if you can.)
1 cup + 1 cup grated low-fat Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup grated low-fat 4 Cheese Mexican Blend

Chop onion and Poblano (Pasilla) pepper, then heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large heavy frying pan and saute the onions and peppers over medium-high heat until they're starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove onions and peppers to a bowl, heat the other 2 teaspoons olive oil and saute the ground turkey over medium-high heat until it's nicely browned, breaking apart with the turner.   (Most ground turkey in the U.S. has added water, so you will need to evaporate all the water before the browning will start.)  Season the turkey with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

Once the turkey is well-browned, add the sauteed onions and peppers back into the pan with the meat, add the 2 cans red chile enchilada sauce, and simmer over low heat until the mixture is thickened and most all the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.

When the meat/sauce mixture is thickened, turn off the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  

While the meat cools, drain the whole green chiles into a colander placed into the sink.  Use your fingers or a knife to split the chiles open and remove any seeds, stacking them in two piles so you can make two equal layers of chiles in the casserole.  (Pat each chile dry with a paper towel as you go if they seem wet.) 

When the meat mixture is cool, stir in the sour cream.  Spray a 9 inch x 13 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray.  (Any size similar will work.)  Lay half the whole chiles in the bottom of the casserole dish, making sure the entire bottom is covered.  Spread half the meat/sauce mixture over the chiles and top with half the Mozzarella and half the 4 Cheese Mexican Blend.

Make another layer each of whole green chiles, meat/sauce mixture, and cheese.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the casserole is bubbling.  Serve hot, topped with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This casserole using low-glycemic ingredients like ground turkey, chiles, and cheese would be approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet.  I use gluten-free enchilada sauce partly because it won't have flour, but if you can't find the gluten-free enchilada sauce I used, look for enchilada sauce with the lowest amount of carbs.  South Beach recommends lean ground turkey and reduced fat cheese and sour cream.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Casseroles with Mexican Flavors:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Quick and Easy Brown Rice Mexican Casserole ~ Fannetastic Food

Vegetarian Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Healthy Mexican Casserole ~ Lauren Kelly Nutrition

Spicy Green Chile Mexican Casserole with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Tomatoes ~ Kalyn's

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. Now I absolutely must track down some of the Hatch whole chiles. They're not easy to find here on the East Coast, but I will persevere -- because this casserole looks so good.

  2. Lydia, let me know if you want me to ship you some. They are pretty readily available here, although some brands are kind of pricey. A Mexican or Latin market would be a good place to look.

  3. This sounds awesome. I'm going to try it next week. I already have ground turkey in the freezer and I'll keep my eyes peeled for whole green chilis. Do you think roasted red peppers would work as a substitute?

  4. Jacki, I hadn't thought of it myself, but I think roasted red peppers might be really good in this. (And now you have probably stimulated my cooking brain in a whole new direction.)

  5. I love, love, LOVE enchilada casseroles. This one looks DElish!

  6. Thanks Donna, I have to say that it was!

  7. Hi Kalyn,

    I tried looking for Hatch chiles in a Mexican market and got very confused looks when I asked for them --which I guess makes sense given that they come from inside the U.S. (New Mexico). They are definitely worth the trouble it takes to find them, though. YUM.

  8. Yes, Hatch Chiles are definitely good, although in a canned product like enchilada sauce or canned chiles I've found pretty much every brand I've tried has been good.

  9. This looks so good Kalyn! Love adding the sour cream to the meat mixture. Yum!

  10. Thanks Karen, glad you like it!

  11. This would be gobbled up in my house in no time! I have to head to the Mexican market for some Hatch chiles.

  12. I purchased the chilis on Amazon and ended up paying a lot. I did some more searching and found La Preferida brand at and ended up buying a case of 12 and added a $2 item to get free shipping :) My husband doesn't know if we'll go through a whole case, but if we make this once a month we'll use them all in a year. We're making this again tonight with the new chilis.

    I still can't find GF enchilada sauce. The downfall of living in Southern Indiana I suppose :/

  13. Jessica, glad you found the chilis at least. The Gluten-Free enchilada sauce is a pretty new product, so maybe it will get there eventually.

  14. If you can't find the canned, I just roasted some Anaheims (the large bright yellow green peppers, they aren't spicy.) I only did 5 and I probably should have done 7 or even 8, but they worked great. Spray or rub them with olive oil and roast them till they start to brown, flip them and let them brown on the other side too. Let them cool, but not too cold, and peel the skins off. They are easier to peel when still slightly hot. Pull the tops off after they cook and all the seeds should come with them.

  15. Sarah, good idea to roast your own!


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