This Zucchini Enchilada Casserole recipe is stacked (instead of rolled) up with layers of sliced zucchini and your favorite enchilada ingredients. Feel free to add meat or make this a vegetarian casserole!
- 1 batch homemade red enchilada sauce* (or 2 cups store-bought enchilada sauce)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, cored and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cooked rice* (or quinoa or farro)
- 2 cups (about 1 pound) shredded or diced cooked chicken*
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup whole kernel corn
- 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced into strips*
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican blend cheese
- recommended toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion, sliced jalapeño peppers, sliced green onions, Mexican crema, and/or sliced avocado
- Prepare the enchilada sauce. Cook the enchilada sauce according to recipe instructions. While the sauce simmers, continue on with the steps below.
- Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Turn off the heat.
- Combine the filling. Add the cooked rice, cooked chicken, beans, corn and 1.5 cups enchilada sauce (not all of the sauce) to the pan along with the veggies. Toss until evenly combined.
- Layer the casserole. Heat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce evenly in the bottom of the baking dish. Place a layer of overlapping zucchini slices on the bottom of the baking dish so that it is completely covered. Spread half of the chicken filling evenly over the zucchini, followed by 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Repeat with a layer of zucchini slices, chicken filling, and cheese. Finish with a final layer of zucchini slices, then drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup enchilada sauce atop the zucchini.
- Bake. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove pan and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top of the zucchini, and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Serve. Transfer pan to a wire baking rack. Add a generous sprinkling of your favorite toppings to the casserole. Then slice, serve and enjoy!
Enchilada sauce: I highly recommend using my homemade red enchilada sauce (or green enchilada sauce) to make this casserole. But if you would like to use store-bought sauce, just be sure to check the label to be sure that you have enough (16 ounces), since different brands vary the size of their cans.
Rice: The rice (or quinoa or farro) are optional ingredients, but I love the extra heartiness that they add to the casserole and they also help to soak up any excess water that the zucchini releases. One cup of uncooked rice generally yields about 3 cups of cooked rice. But feel free to use more or less if you prefer.
Chicken: I also typically shred a rotisserie for this casserole to save time. But you are welcome to use any kind of diced or shredded cooked chicken that you prefer. Or you can swap in a different meat (such as ground or shredded cooked beef, pork, chorizo, turkey, etc).
Zucchini: As explained in the post above, I typically just use a vegetable peeler to thinly slice the zucchini strips. But a mandoline or (very carefully using) a chef’s knife would also work. Or alternately, you can just slice the zucchini into thin round coins instead of strips and overlap those to form your zucchini layers.