This recipe for healthy turkey enchiladas is packed with good-for-you ingredients like lean ground turkey, fiber-rich black beans, and sweet corn! It’s easy to assemble these inexpensive enchiladas ahead of time for a make-ahead meal that you can stash in your refrigerator or in your freezer.
I always like to have a batch of enchiladas ready to go in my freezer. Who doesn’t? When you discover them, on that inevitable cold winter evening when you have NO IDEA what to make for dinner, it’s like finding gold.
But it’s better than gold. Because it’s enchiladas!
I served these to my family right away, because they were too delicious to stash in my freezer. But next time I make them, you better believe I’m making a double batch and storing one away.
And hey- they have turkey in them! This recipe calls for ground turkey, and it’s great year-round, but it’s also easy to substitute your leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat in these enchiladas.
How to make the turkey enchilada filling
It’s so easy to whip up this enchilada filling! Just sauté some diced onions in olive oil, add ground turkey, salt, and pepper, along with some minced garlic, and cook until only JUST cooked. You don’t want to overcook it, especially because it’s going to bake after this.
Then, add some canned black beans (drained and rinsed, of course) and frozen corn, and heat until it’s just warmed through.
THEN – and this is my favorite part – just add a little of the enchilada sauce to the skillet! It adds seasoning and flavor without needing any additional items from your spice cabinet. And it thickens the mixture, keeps it moist and juicy, and binds it all together, making it easier to roll up in the tortillas.
What kind of enchilada sauce to use
I recommend a red enchilada sauce for this recipe. I used my special homemade enchilada sauce with chipotle peppers– a smoky, spicy version that’s easy to make in bulk for many batches of enchiladas.
You can also use any store-bought kind you want. Or in a pinch, you can even use store-bought salsa as an enchilada sauce! I love doing this with a green salsa when I make chicken enchiladas verdes, and as a layer in my Mexican Lasagna.
How to assemble the turkey enchiladas
- First, spread just a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. This will not only create a barrier so the enchiladas don’t stick, but also help keep them moist and flavor them from the bottom as they cook.
- Then, roll up flour tortillas with some of the filling, along with a little shredded cheese, and place seam side down in the baking dish. This will ensure they don’t come apart.
- If you have extra filling, just stuff it along the ends of the enchiladas in the baking dish! That’s what I did. You could also repurpose it in something else, like toss it with some pasta or scrambled eggs.
- Finally, top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. I kept it all in the center, and if I’m being honest- it was just to make them look pretty for photos. If I wasn’t making this for the blog, I would have slathered the entire top in sauce and covered it in cheese.
- Then, bake! Start covered, then uncover towards the end. This will ensure the enchiladas heat through evenly without browning, and therefore drying out, the cheese too much.
Should I use flour or corn tortillas?
Ah, the eternal debate. I’m a big fan of using flour tortillas in enchiladas.
Why? They hold up better, whereas corn tends to crumble and disintegrate into everything as it bakes. They’re also easier to handle straight out of the bag, but you usually have to toast corn tortillas to make them more manageable.
But if you want to use corn tortillas for a whole grain and/or gluten-free version, go ahead! Either will work in this recipe, or in any other enchilada recipe (like these vegetarian enchiladas verdes).
How can I use my leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in these?
Glad you asked! It’s actually super easy to substitute the ground turkey for leftover, cooked turkey in this enchiladas recipe. Or shredded rotisserie chicken, for that matter.
Just add about 2 cups of shredded turkey meat to the skillet, along with the black beans and corn, after cooking the onions. Toss it with the sauce and continue with the recipe as directed!
Other make-ahead dinner recipes to stash in your freezer:
- Bacon and Swiss Chard Quiche
- Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Mini Meatloaves
- Easy Chicken Enchiladas
- Crockpot Turkey and Vegetable Chili
- Taco Casserole (from Sweet Peas and Saffron)
Here are all my make-ahead and freezer meals.
Did you make this easy turkey enchiladas recipe? Please click the stars below to comment and Rate this Recipe
Turkey Enchiladas with Black Beans and Corn
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- kosher salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 15 oz. canned black beans drained and rinsed (1.5 cups)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1.5 cups enchilada sauce (homemade, or a 15 oz. can)
- 10-12 flour tortillas (see notes for corn)
- 16 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar, pepper jack, etc.
- cilantro, red onion, sour cream, avocado, etc. for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Sauté the diced onion over medium-high heat in the olive oil in a large skillet until softened and starting to brown (about 3 minutes).
- Add the minced garlic (2 cloves) and ground turkey (1 lb.), along with kosher salt and black pepper. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, breaking up the turkey into small pieces and stirring consistently, until turkey is just cooked through (about 5 minutes).
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the black beans and corn. Stir and heat until ingredients are warmed through (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce to the turkey mixture and stir together. Turn off heat.
- Meanwhile, wrap the flour tortillas (10) in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, to warm them up. This will make them more malleable and easier to roll.
- Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the turkey mixture (just estimate, it doesn't have to be perfect), along with about 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over to overlap the two sides, and place each seam-side down in the prepared baking dish.
- If you have any leftover filling, just stuff along the ends of the prepared enchiladas in the baking dish (or use it for another purpose).
- Cover the center of the enchiladas with the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce, and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese is fully melted and ends of enchiladas are starting to brown a bit.
- Serve topped with diced avocado, red onion, fresh cilantro, and sour cream, if desired.
- For a gluten-free version, use corn tortillas. I recommend toasting them before using them, so they hold together better. You can do this in the oven for a few minutes or over a gas burner. At the very least, warm them in the microwave so they are more malleable and don't break apart.
- Make them vegetarian: Use a vegetarian meat substitute for the turkey, such as vegetarian chorizo or even mushrooms.
- Make ahead/freezer instructions: Assemble the enchiladas and store in your refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer, wrapped tightly in foil, for up to 3 months. Cook from the refrigerator for 30 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered. Cook directly from the freezer for 40 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.
- Use cooked/shredded turkey: if you have Thanksgiving leftovers, just add 2 cups shredded meat to the skillet after cooking the onions, along with the beans and corn, until it's heated through. Then, proceed as directed.
- Larget Skillet