Tomatillo and Spinach Chicken Enchiladas

Some days you literally just can’t, you know? Like, you literally cannot be bothered to make another salad, pot of pasta, or pan of roasted vegetables. The struggle of a cooking rut is real.

At times like these, only one thing can put the pieces of your crushed, crumbled spirit back together: a pan of Tomatillo and Spinach Chicken Enchiladas. The power of cheesy carbs truly knows no bounds and this assemblage of saucy, slightly spicy, utter deliciousness is here for you. Lest you feel guilty about the layers upon layers of flour tortillas, cheese, and a creamy chicken mixture, keep in mind there is an entire package of spinach in here. So, in this case… enchiladas actually = antioxidants, vitamins, and such. Let’s get into it.

enchiladas on plate

Although these are called Tomatillo and Spinach Chicken Enchiladas, we’re actually just using a jar of store-bought tomatillo salsa. This Frontera brand is my go-to. Not just because (according to Eater) Rick Bayless is quite possibly the most interesting man in the world, but that has a lot to do with it.

Frontera Tomatillo Salsa

To start, roast a couple chicken breasts in the oven and shred them into bite-sized pieces.

shredded chicken on pan

Then, saute some thinly sliced garlic and a giant pile of chopped spinach in a skillet. No exaggeration, we’re going for a mountain of spinach here:

garlic and spinach on cutting board

Add the shredded chicken to the pan with the garlic and spinach, stir in the salsa and a bit of sour cream, and shredded cheese. All of these elements together create a rich, creamy mixture that will later ooze lovingly out of your enchiladas.

chicken enchilada filling in skillet

The key to the enchilada kingdom: layers

If you’re all about rolled enchiladas, be my guest. But, I much prefer the luxury of a lasagna-type situation, with layers of tortillas and filling. This way, when it’s time to eat, you’re not left hunting for the end of one rolled enchilada and the beginning of another. You know what I’m talking about. #tedious

The ideal tortilla size for this “enchilada casserole” is the large, burrito size. Cut them into quarters and they fit perfectly into an 8×8 baking dish – just line the straight, cut sides up with the sides of the dish so all the rounded edges meet in the center.

flour tortillas in dish

The layers go like this: a little tomatillo salsa on the bottom of the dish > tortillas > chicken mixture > cheese.

layers of enchiladas in dish

Repeat that one more time, then finish the whole thing off with another layer of tortillas, any remaining salsa/saucy mixture from the skillet, and a boatload of cheese. After your enchiladas bake, blast them under the broiler to achieve bubbly, cheesy goodness and those all-star crispy corners. Yes, please.

baked enchiladas in dish
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Tomatillo and Spinach Chicken Enchiladas

enchiladas on plate

An enchilada casserole with layers and layers of flour tortillas, cheese, and a creamy chicken, spinach, and (store-bought) tomatillo salsa filling. 

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 34 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 TBS McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 5oz. package of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 16 oz. jar tomatillo salsa (I used Frontera brand)
  • 1/3 C sour cream, plus extra for garnish
  • 12 oz. shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 large flour tortillas (the burrito size), cut into quarters
  • sliced green onions, for garnish
  • diced red onion, for garnish
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1-2 TBS extra virgin olive oil and season with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-32 minutes, until the internal temp reads 165 degrees. Set aside until cool enough to touch, then shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken in any remaining juices left behind on the baking sheet. Increase the oven temp to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until they’re fragrant and beginning to get toasty. Add the shredded chicken and remaining juices to the skillet followed by the chopped, fresh spinach. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted. Add 3/4 of the jar of tomatillo salsa and 1/3 C of sour cream to the pan and stir to combine. Stir in a handful of cheese then turn off the heat.
  3. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of tomatillo salsa then arrange 4 pieces of tortilla over top (line the straight, cut sides up with the sides of the dish). Spread a few scoops of the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas and sprinkle with a handful of cheese. Top this layer with 4 more tortilla pieces, another layer of chicken mixture, and a sprinkle of cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas and cover with remaining tomatillo salsa and any remaining sauce leftover from the mixture in the skillet. Cover the whole thing with more shredded cheese. 
  4. Spray a sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and crimp it over the baking dish, oiled-side-down, to prevent the cheese from sticking. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and turn the broil on, set the dish on an oven rack about 6 inches away from the broiler, and cook for a couple minutes, just until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then, slice and serve, garnished with green and red onion, cilantro, and sour cream!

Keywords: easy enchiladas, enchilada casserole, jarred salsa