Looking for a simple dinner that’s great for a family but also for sharing? These cheesy Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas are smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce and make for an amazing, hearty meal. Makes 4-6 servings, but can be doubled.
Enchiladas are a hearty, comforting dish, but they’re a bit of a labor of love.
Real talk: I’ve had more than my fair share of kitchen fails involving enchiladas. When I first discovered the recipe these enchiladas are adapted from, I fell in love.
We’ve been making them for the better part of 10 years now, and they’re a crowd pleaser.
Why I love this recipe:
Not only is this Zucchini Chicken Enchilada recipe delicious, but it’s is versatile, too!
If you have a lot of zucchini on hand, you can double the recipe and freeze a batch for later.
If you don’t eat chicken or don’t have it on hand, leave it out and double the zucchini instead.
Over the years, we’ve made this recipe with and without the chicken, double the zucchini, double the pepper, double the sauce… and every time, it’s been delightful. But this rendition? It’s our favorite.
Need some dinnertime inspiration? Head on over to my Dinner Recipe Index for more ideas.
What you need to make this recipe:
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In addition to these tools, you’re going to need ingredients to make these from-scratch enchiladas, too. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card to get the exact amounts.
- Extra virgin olive oil—or another neutral oil, like avocado oil.
- Red onion—also known as purple onion, this gives so much flavor and color to our dish! While you could use a yellow or white onion, I really like the red onion here.
- Green bell pepper—technically, you could use any color of bell pepper here, but I really like the color and texture the green bell pepper adds.
- Garlic cloves—fresh garlic cloves (the kind you chop yourself) add so much more flavor in a recipe like this, so give it a little extra time and do that.
- Zucchini—fresh from the garden or the store! We’ll shred these with our box grater.
- Seasonings—we’re going to be using a combination of cumin, dried basil and dried oregano to season up our veggie and meat mixture. We’re also going to add both salt and pepper, and maaaaaybe a pinch of cayenne pepper, too.
- Shredded chicken breasts—before we had kids, I’d bake these up and shred them myself. Now, I purchase a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it. Use whatever makes your life easier.
- Pepperjack cheese—different brands of pepperjack are spicier than others, so if you have a sensitive palate, consider using half pepperjack and half colby jack cheese.
- Tortillas—we always use flour tortillas in our household because that’s what we like, but you can make these with corn tortillas, as well. Just be sure to wet the tortillas a little bit before rolling them because they are more brittle than flour tortillas.
- Red enchilada sauce—we smother these enchiladas in red sauce. You can grab a jar at the store, or you can make a batch of homemade Spicy Homemade Enchilada Sauce!
How to make Cheesy Chicken Zucchini Enchiladas
Prep the chicken. It needs to be is cooked through, cooled and shredded. Set it aside when done. You may also purchase and shred a rotisserie chicken for this.
Make the enchilada sauce. (This step is optional because you can use sauce from the store!)
Prep the veggies. Chop the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Shred the zucchini. (Alternately, you can cut the zucchini into slices or zucchini strips with a knife, if desired.)
Make the enchilada filling.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper and garlic to the pan, cooking until the onion is soft. Watch this because you don’t want the onion to brown, about 5-6 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Add the zucchini. Season with the salt, cumin, basil and oregano, stirring into the onion. Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cooked chicken.
Add the grated pepperjack cheese and any additional seasonings, stirring until incorporated.
Allow the filling a few moments to cool before filling the tortillas.
Make the enchiladas.
Grease a large baking dish with nonstick baking spray. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Dollop 4 tablespoons of zucchini chicken mixture into a tortilla. Carefully roll the tortilla, and transfer to the greased baking dish.
Repeat until all the filling has been used.
Smother the enchiladas with the sauce, and sprinkle on extra cheese to the top.
Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. The sauce will get nice and bubbly.
Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned, if desired.
Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Spoon extra enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas, and enjoy immediately.
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
We love enchiladas for entertaining because while they’re a labor of love, it’s not incredibly challenging to make a double batch of this recipe.
Here are some ways to share this recipe with friends:
- Make a double batch in two separate pans, and bake them both at the same time for a crowd.
- Alternatively, make a double batch and place one in the freezer for later. (Just be sure it’s in a freezer-safe container!)
- Host a Mexican Dinner Party! Serve these Zucchini Chicken Enchiladas alongside homemade margaritas, Homemade Loaded Queso and more!
- Customize it to your (and your guests’) tastebuds. This recipe is very easy to turn into vegetarian enchiladas, so omit the chicken and add extra shredded zucchini!
Quick tips and tricks to the best cheesy chicken enchiladas with zucchini:
- Make it ahead of time. These enchiladas, wrapped but not smothered in sauce, can hang out in your fridge for a day or two before baking.
- Double the recipe for a crowd. Yes, enchiladas take time and effort, but if you’re going to be rolling them already, you can easily make a double batch. Serve them both, freeze one or bring one to a neighbor to share.
- Make it work for you. Customize the recipe to your tastes. Use rotisserie chicken (or bake your own.) Make your own enchilada sauce or grab a jar from the store. Use less spicy cheese if you’re concerned about pepperjack. The options are endless, and you can make this easier on yourself with them.
What to serve alongside this recipe:
Looking for a simple dinner that's great for a family but also for sharing? These cheesy Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas are smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce and make for an amazing, hearty meal.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lb. zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 12 oz. (2 cups) shredded chicken breasts (can bake them OR use rotisserie)
- 2 cups grated pepperjack cheese (8 oz.)
- Cayenne and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 15-16 tortillas (corn or flour)
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- Before you make the enchiladas and enchilada sauce, make sure your chicken is cooked through, cooled and shredded. Set is aside when done. You may also purchase and shred a rotisserie chicken for this.
- If you're making the enchilada sauce, do that first. (This is my enchilada sauce recipe, and it is delicious with these enchiladas. However, there's no shame in purchasing a jar from the store!)
- Make the enchilada filling: Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, green bell pepper and garlic to the pan, cooking until the onion is soft. (Be sure to watch this, as you don't want the onion to brown, about 5-6 minutes while stirring occasionally.)
- Add the zucchini and the salt, cumin, basil and oregano to the skillet, stirring into the onion. Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the shredded chicken.
- Add the grated pepperjack cheese and any additional seasonings, stirring until incorporated.
- Allow the filling a few moments to cool before filling the tortillas.
- Make the enchiladas: Grease a large baking dish with nonstick baking spray. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Dollop 4 tablespoons of filling into the tortillas.
- Carefully roll the enchiladas, and transfer to the greased baking dish.
- Repeat until all the filling has been used.
- Cover the enchiladas with the sauce. Add extra cheese to the top.
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. The sauce will get nice and bubbly.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the cheese, if desired.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve on individual plates and spoon the enchilada filling on top of the final enchiladas. Enjoy immediately!
Recipe adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook.
How to store: In an airtight food storage container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave until they reach the desired warmth.
Make the recipe work for you. Customize the recipe to your tastes. Use rotisserie chicken (or bake your own.) Make your own enchilada sauce or grab a jar from the store. Use less spicy cheese (colby jack or a Mexican blend are both excellent) if you're concerned about the heat-level of the pepperjack. The options are endless, and you can make this easier on yourself with them.
This recipe is freezer-friendly. Freeze leftover enchiladas (or an entire pan) in a freezer-safe baking dish. Seal the enchiladas with plastic wrap and foil, and it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months. (I dare you to let it hang out this long!) Freeze the sauce in a separate container.
Defrost the sauce in the fridge, and pour over the frozen enchiladas.
When ready to bake, bake covered in a 350°F oven. Bake for 40 minutes, then crank the heat up to 375°F, uncover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the enchiladas are done.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 39g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.