turkey and refried bean enchilada casserole


This is one of my favorite go-to recipes which I really intended to share before now, but the problem has been getting decent pictures of it. It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t look too appetizing as it’s being prepared..ground turkey and refried beans are kinda gross looking, don’t you think? The other problem is that I normally cook this on those nights when I’m in a rush to get dinner on the table, usually throwing it together after I get home from the gym and letting it bake while I shower, so no time for a food photo shoot. But after a couple requests from my son’s girlfriend, I finally slowed down long enough to get a few pictures of it. Sorry it took so long, Sarah! :)


The inspiration for this recipe came from my cousin Gail’s chicken enchiladas. Just tortillas, enchilada sauce, a can of cream of chicken soup, cream cheese, and of course the chicken or whatever meat I had on-hand, then a couple handfuls of shredded cheese to top it all off. As simple as the recipe was, though, I managed to screw it up the first time around by using flour tortillas instead of corn. So, lesson learned, and since then I’ve always used corn tortillas, which  makes a huge difference. Then to save myself a few minutes and to keep things a little less messy, I decided to make it into a casserole rather than individual enchiladas.


The casserole turned out so well that I started making it for dinner about once a week, then devouring the leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. But then I got serious about losing weight and knew I had to come up with a lighter version of my new favorite food. It was actually pretty simple..skip the chicken soup, replace some of the meat with beans, and use lighter versions and smaller amounts of the cheeses. Making those simple changes brings the calories to under 300 per serving, with 8 servings per casserole. The challenge is limiting yourself to just one serving..it’s really that good!



turkey and refried bean enchilada casserole
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 8

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 16-ounce can fat-free refried beans
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 9 small corn tortillas
  • ¾ cup 2% shredded cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar, or colby jack)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place oil and onions in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, and saute until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the turkey and seasonings to the skillet and cook until the turkey is no longer pink, about 10 minutes, breaking up turkey as it cooks.
  4. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Add ½ cup of the sauce mixture, the beans, and the cream cheese to the turkey mixture. Reduce to low and stir often until the cream cheese is fully incorporated into the mixture, about 5 minutes.
  5. Thoroughly grease a 9×13 casserole dish with about 1 tablespoon of oil.
  6. Pour ½ cup of the enchilada/tomato sauce mixture into the casserole dish and spread with a spatula to completely cover the bottom. Place 3 whole tortillas and 3 tortilla halves into the dish so that the bottom is covered with the tortillas..they will overlap just a little. Cover the tortillas with ½ cup of the enchilada/tomato sauce.
  7. Spoon the turkey mixture into the casserole dish, spreading it out in an even layer, and top with the remaining tortillas. Pour the remaining enchilada/tomato sauce over the top, then top with the shredded cheese.
  8. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and just beginning to brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Garnish with your favorite toppings..sour cream, avocado, black olives, and hot sauce are our favorites.

Nutrition information is based on information from My Fitness Pal and I can’t guarantee it’s 100% accurate.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛th of casserole Calories: 274 Fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 29g Sugar: 2.5g Sodium: 663mg Fiber: 4.2g Protein: 21g Cholesterol: 43mg


Comments: 3

  1. AimeeB February 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Made this tonight for my family, I only had canned chicken from Costco on hand so that is what I had to use, but my picky children loved it !!!! Thank you for the super easy and delicious casserole. I even have left overs for the husbands lunch tomorrow :). Thanks again for th fantastic recipe !!!

    • Lisa February 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thanks for letting me know how much your family liked it!

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