Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese
posted by Kalyn Denny on January 8, 2014
This Layered Mexican Casserole has chicken, green chiles, pinto beans, and cheese in a gluten-free casserole that’s also low-glycemic and South Beach Diet friendly! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
I grew up eating casseroles, which in those days usually had white rice, noodles, pastry, tortillas, or potatoes, and some kind of canned cream soup. Then I changed my eating habits and didn’t want to use those ingredients any more, but I still craved the comfort-food appeal of a casserole, as well as the way they make such great leftovers.
To fill that casserole craving I’ve been experimenting for several years with updated casserole combinations, using low-glycemic ingredients for a healthier result. I’ve come up with quite a few Casserole Recipes that have been winners, but I think this Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese might be one of my best creations so far!
If you also had a mom who made those canned soup casseroles, the flavors in this recipe may remind you of chicken enchilada casseroles from the past with layers of tortillas, diced chicken, a sauce made of sour cream and cream of chicken soup, and cheese. My casserole has seasoned pinto beans to replace the tortillas, and Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce is reduced on the stove and then combined with diced green chiles, light sour cream, diced chicken, and green onions to make the sauce. I also used low-fat Mozzarella for the cheese layer, for a finished dish that’s lighter but still very tasty.
When we were sampling this Jake had the idea of mashing a few of the beans so that layer would stay together a bit more, and I think I’ll try that the next time I make it. And there’s no doubt that this casserole is one I’ll be making again many times!
Put the can of Green Chile Enchilada Sauce into a small pan and simmer on the stove until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to one cup. (If you need gluten-free be sure to choose a brand of green chile sauce that doesn’t contain wheat. One is La Victoria.)
Drain two cans of pinto beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse with cold water, and drain.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy frying pan, and saute the chopped onion and green bell pepper until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
As soon as the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce is reduced to one cup, put it in a bowl and mix in the can of diced green chiles. Let the sauce cool before you mix in the other ingredients. (Taste at this point to see if you want to add some Green Tabasco Sauce; we did!)
As soon as onions and peppers are starting to lightly brown, season with cumin, mix in the drained pinto beans, and cook for a few minutes to get the beans hot.
Measure out 4 cups of diced cooked chicken. (You can cook four chicken breasts or use leftover rotisserie chicken.)
As soon as the enchilada sauce no longer feels hot, stir in the light sour cream, then the diced chicken, and then the sliced green onions.
You need a fairly deep casserole dish for this. I used a dish that was 9″x9″x3″. If your dish isn’t that deep, make sure it’s slightly bigger. Spray dish with olive oil or non-stick spray and then make a layer with half the pinto bean mixture.
Spread half the sauce/chicken mixture over the beans.
Then layer half the cheese over the sauce/chicken.
Repeat with another layer of seasoned pinto beans, sauce/chicken, and cheese. (As you can see, it came close to the top of the dish!)
Bake at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is nicely browned. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.
Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese (Phase One, Gluten Free)
(Makes about 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)
1 can (15 oz.) Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (If you need gluten-free be sure to choose a brand of green chile sauce that doesn’t contain wheat. One is La Victoria.)
2 cans (15. oz) pinto beans
1 large onion, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 large green bell pepper, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil
1 T ground cumin
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles plus juice (not jalapenos unless you want it really hot)
1-3 T Green Tabasco Sauce (Optional, but nice if you want it a bit hotter; we used two tablespoons.)
3/4 cup light sour cream
4 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 cups grated low-fat Mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Put the green chile enchilada sauce in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to one cup. While sauce simmers, put the two cans of pinto beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain well (or blot dry with paper towels if you’re in a hurry.)
Dice the onion and green bell pepper and slice the green onions. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy frying pan, add onion and green bell pepper and saute until they’re softened and starting to barely brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ground cumin and drained beans and cook about 3-4 minutes more, or until the beans are hot. (You can mash the beans slightly at this point if you’d like a layer of beans that sticks together a bit more.)
As soon as the green chile enchilada sauce has reduced to 1 cup (about 10-15 minutes), place it in a bowl to cool and stir in the diced green chiles with juice. Taste the mixture to see if you want to add the optional Green Tabasco Sauce. When the mixture no longer feels hot (it can be warm), stir in the sour cream, diced chicken, and sliced green onions.
Spray a 9″x9″x3″ casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. (If your dish has lower sides than that, be sure it is slightly bigger.) Spread half the pinto bean mixture over the bottom of the dish, followed by a layer of half the sauce/chicken mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of grated Mozzarella over the sauce/chicken mixture. Repeat with another layer of pinto beans, sauce/chicken mixture, and cheese.
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and nicely browned on top. Let stand about 10-15 minutes before cutting, then serve.
This freezes well, or will keep in the fridge in a covered container for several days. (I divided it up into single-serving portions and frozen some and put some in the fridge to eat.)
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe is probably too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan, but all ingredients in this low-glycemic casserole are approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. However dried beans are a limited ingredient, so I’d have a small serving (with some vegetables on the side) if you’re eating this for phase one.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.