Jazz up your weekly menu with this flavorful dinner time option!
This easy beef enchilada casserole makes a deliciously flavorful and protein-packed dinner. It couldn’t be easier to make–just cook the meat, layer the ingredients in a baking dish, and throw it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. If you’re looking for a Mexican-inspired family dish with excellent leftovers potential, look no further!
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Table of Contents
- Prefer to Watch Instead of Read?
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- How to Make This Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
- Serving Suggestions for this Enchilada Casserole
- Ingredients Used in Our Enchiladas
- FAQ About this Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This easy beef enchilada casserole is low in calories, high in protein, and bursting with Mexican flavors. It couldn’t be easier to make–it’s ready in just 20 to 25 minutes–and is ideal to meal prep in batches to enjoy throughout the week.
It’s the perfect companion for your next potluck, dinner party, or barbecue, but also makes a simple and creative weeknight dinner. Packed with simple, wholesome ingredients, seasoned with low-sodium Mexican seasoning, and drizzled with spicy, savory enchilada sauce, this dish is loaded with vitamins and minerals to keep you energized.
Baked with sautéed ground beef and gluten-free corn tortillas, this dish is a healthier twist on the classic enchilada. It’s bursting with Mexican-inspired flavors, but the spice level is adjustable to your preferences, making this the perfect quick and wholesome dinner for the whole family. Easy to reheat and take on the go, this enchilada casserole is versatile, customizable, and a no-fuss way to jazz up your weekly menu.
How to Make This Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
This easy beef enchilada casserole couldn’t be easier to whip up. In less than a half hour, dinner (and lunches for the rest of the week!) are served. It just takes five easy steps:
1. Preheat the Oven
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the Beef
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add one chopped red onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes (or until the pieces soften). Then, add one pound of lean ground beef and cook it until it’s no longer pink, breaking it up as you go. Stir in two tablespoons of low-sodium Mexican seasoning and remove the beef mixture from heat.
3. Create the First Layer
In the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish, spread half a cup of low-sodium enchilada sauce. Layer four four-inch corn tortillas on top of the sauce (you may need to overlap them a bit). Spread half of the beef mixture on top next, followed by one cup of shredded Mexican-blend cheese.
4. Keep on Layering
Repeat the process until you fill the baking dish. Add another layer of tortillas next, followed by the remaining beef mixture, then another cup of shredded Mexican-blend cheese. Top it all off with the remaining enchilada sauce.
5. Bake and Let Cool
Pop the filled baking dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and bubbly). Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. Dig in!
Serving Suggestions for this Enchilada Casserole
You can slice up this casserole and serve it as is, or top it off with avocado, hot sauce, or sour cream. Try it with a variety of sides, like rice and beans, homemade tortilla chips, taco salad, guacamole, or salsa. You can serve this casserole straight out of the baking dish and slice it up however your heart desires, which makes it perfect for potlucks and dinner parties. You can even add it to a game day appetizer spread!
If you opt to use this recipe for meal prep, simply store each slice in an airtight container with your desired toppings and garnishes. One batch of this enchilada casserole goes a long way–the possibilities are endless!
Leftovers and Storage
Store any leftovers from this casserole in an airtight container in the fridge, or cover the original baking dish with a tight layer of saran wrap or aluminum foil. You can also choose to store individual servings in meal prep containers. This casserole should stay fresh for up to five days, and can be reheated in the oven or microwave. Store sides and toppings like sour cream, salsa, and guacamole separately and add them when you’re ready to serve your leftovers.
You can also freeze this casserole in an airtight container for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy it, simply thaw it and reheat it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Be warned, however–the longer this casserole stays in the freezer, the more likely it is to change in texture and become soggy or rubbery. To prevent this, let it cool completely before freezing, and once it’s frozen firm, use parchment paper to lift it and transfer it to a vacuum-sealed bag.
Ingredients Used in Our Enchiladas
This meal is made up of just a few simple, wholesome ingredients that each add not only flavor, but also immense nutritional value. This high protein, low calorie dinner’s medley of ingredients make it a far healthier take on a classic. Read on for more information on what each ingredient brings to this dish, in terms of both flavor and health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil is more than just a healthy fat and an oil to cook with–it offers a whole host of health benefits. Olive oil is packed with anti-aging, cancer-preventing antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes healthy blood flow, preventing strokes. Olive oil keeps LDL “bad” cholesterol in check, protecting you from heart disease down the line.
One study showed that olive oil may even reduce plaque found in brain cells that causes Alzheimer’s disease. By promoting healthy blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity, olive oil may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. It can even treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially when combined with the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Not to mention, olive oil has antibacterial properties–and it can kill certain harmful bacteria that even antibiotics have trouble fighting.
Onions are incredibly nutrient-dense–they’re low in calories but packed with vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system and prevents diseases and infections like UTIs, scurvy, and even Alzheimer’s. It also increases your bone density and keeps your blood pressure in check, and may ward off cancer.
Onions are also rich in B vitamins like folate and vitamin B6, which help the enzymes in your body function. B vitamins reduce your risk of cancer, support healthy pregnancy, prevent heart disease, and promote healthy cognitive function.
Onions are also a good source of potassium, which many people are deficient in. Potassium helps maintain your muscles and reduce muscle cramps and aches. It also increases your bone density, regulates your blood pressure, prevents strokes, and promotes healthy liver function. They are heart-healthy, packed with anti-cancer antioxidants, help control your blood sugar, and can kill harmful bacteria in the body. They’re also rich in prebiotics and fiber, which means they offer a significant boost to your digestive system.
Lean Ground Beef
Packed with protein, lean ground beef is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in those enzyme-boosting vitamins like B6 and B3, as well as B12, which provides you with healthy energy as well as improved balance and coordination. Beef is also rich in zinc, which supports your senses of smell and taste, promotes healthy digestion, prevents osteoporosis, supports a healthy prostate, promotes healthy pregnancy, and even improves your memory. It’s also loaded with selenium, which promotes healthy hair and nails and a healthy thyroid while also boosting immune function.
Beef is a good source of iron (and in the heme form, which is easiest to absorb). This treats anemia, supports healthy blood and brain function, and promotes healthy muscle function and energy levels. It’s even rich in phosphorus, which promotes healthy bones, teeth, and cells, and helps your body produce and store energy. Beef also contains several antioxidants.
Grass-fed beef in particular is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and omega fatty acids. Including beef in your diet has been linked to improved exercise performance. Plus, this savory protein cooked with olive oil and onions will add a nice heartiness to the dish!
Low-Sodium Mexican Seasoning
Mexican seasoning traditionally contains salt, spices like paprika, oregano, and chili powder, as well as garlic and onion powder. It’s so much more than just a seasoning–this particular blend has several health benefits of its own! For example, paprika is packed with antioxidants, provides a boost for your immune system, and even helps alleviate gas.
Also full of antioxidants, oregano also has antibacterial properties, is anti-inflammatory, and even reduces cough and cold symptoms. Chili powder helps regulate blood pressure levels and aids in digestion and fighting infection. It’s heart-healthy and even alleviates nasal congestion! Onion powder offers all the same aforementioned benefits of onions, while garlic powder boosts your immune system, prevents blood clots, and lowers “bad” cholesterol levels.
Low-sodium Mexican seasoning contains sodium in moderation–you’ll still reap the hydrating benefits of the electrolytes without the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke that comes with excess salt.
Corn tortillas are an excellent source of fiber and whole grains, and are lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas. Made with corn, they’re bursting with cancer-preventing, immune-boosting vitamin C, are heart healthy, and help prevent diabetes and anemia. They even provide a boost for your eyes and skin!
Low-Sodium Enchilada Sauce
Red enchilada sauce is traditionally made from tomatoes, chiles, onion, garlic, broth, and spices like cumin and oregano. This means that with either store-bought or homemade enchilada sauce, you’ll reap the benefits of tomatoes, which boost your immune system, fight blood clots, prevent inflammation, and lower your “bad” cholesterol levels. They’re also rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A (supports healthy vision, immune function, and reproductive function), and vitamin K (crucial for blood and bone health).
The chiles promote healthy digestion, prevent joint pain, fight cancer, colds, the flu, and fungal infections, and even alleviate migraines. The broth provides a boost for your gut health and digestion as well as joint health, sleep, and immune function, while also offering anti-aging properties. You’ll add to the benefits of onion, garlic, and oregano found elsewhere in the dish, with the added antioxidant, immune-boosting, and anti-diabetes properties of cumin. And using low-sodium enchilada sauce means you’ll still get those electrolytes to keep your cells hydrated without overloading on salt.
Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
Mexican-blend shredded cheese typically includes Monterey jack, cheddar, Asadero, and queso cheeses. Each of these cheeses provides protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like zinc and vitamins A, D (builds strong bones, improves concentration, and regulates hormones), and K. Cheese is also a good source of calcium, which promotes bone health, regulates blood pressure, and fights cancer and diabetes. Plus, this mild, slightly tangy blend of melty cheeses ties this whole dish together and gives it a deliciously gooey texture.
FAQ About this Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this easy beef enchilada casserole recipe and its preparation.
How do you prevent enchilada casserole from getting soggy?
Be careful not to overdo it on the sauce before you put your casserole in the oven. Measure carefully (one cup total), and perhaps even try saving some of the enchilada sauce to top off the casserole once it’s baked and ready to serve.
Are enchiladas better with corn or flour tortillas?
We recommend corn tortillas for this recipe. Not only are they healthier and gluten-free, but they also pack a nice crunch and hold up better when soaked and baked with sauce.
What size tortillas should I use for this casserole?
We recommend 4” corn tortillas. These tend to hold up the best when baked, and will overlap slightly over one another in an 8×8 baking dish (providing an added layer of support for your casserole).
Should I cover my enchilada casserole while it bakes?
It’s optional, but covering your baking dish with aluminum foil while your enchilada casserole bakes (at least for the first few minutes) may help prevent the top from burning. (This is a technique often used when baking traditional enchiladas.)
Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1 pound ground beef lean
- 2 tablespoons Mexican seasoning low sodium
- 8 corn tortillas 4"
- 1 cup enchilada sauce low sodium
- 2 cups shredded cheese Mexican blend
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along. Stir in seasoning, remove from heat, and set aside.
- In an 8×8 baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Layer 4 of the tortillas over top (you may need to overlap them a bit). Spread half of the beef mixture and then 1 cup of cheese over the tortillas.
- Repeat with remaining ingredients: another layer of tortillas, remaining beef mixture, 1 cup of cheese and the remaining enchilada sauce.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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If you enjoyed this easy beef enchilada casserole you might also like to try:
- Slow Cooker Skinny Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake
- Easy Turkey Enchilada Skillet