Turkey Enchiladas are a cheesy baked Mexican inspired rolled tortilla dish made with leftover turkey, salsa roja and a three cheese blend. They are the perfect way to use up leftover turkey!
There are so many great things about having leftovers. For one, just plain reheating them makes for an easy meal on busy days. However, creating an absolutely new dish out of leftovers is truly the mark of a talented and thrifty home cook.
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What to Make with Turkey Dinner Leftovers
The dishes are done, the tablecloth has been laundered, and the guests have all gone home. Once holiday dinner is over, there’s usually a fridge packed full of turkey dinner leftovers.
The day after the big meal often leaves many wondering what to do with all of that turkey.
Have no fear, there are so many great ways to use up that turkey! How about Turkey Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole, Hot Turkey Open Face Sandwiches, Toasted Santa Fe Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey a la King, Turkey Pot Pie, Turkey Stock and Soup; the list goes on!
Cheesy Baked Turkey Enchiladas
However, I love creating a dish that doesn’t taste like another turkey dinner (after day 3 turkey dinner gets a little monotonous!). My ideal leftover turkey dinner involves a little spice and a whole lot of cheese. I want the whole enchilada!!
Fresh tortillas are filled with tender turkey mixed with three cheeses, onions, peppers and spices. The rolled enchiladas are then covered in red sauce and smothered with a three cheese blend.
The aroma coming from the kitchen is so intoxicating, the whole family will be crowding around the oven and asking when dinner is ready.
What Are Enchiladas?
Enchiladas are a traditional Mexican dish of filled and rolled tortillas dating back to Aztec times (1300-1521). They were often served by street vendors as simple folded tortillas dipped in red chile sauce (con chile rojo).
However, there are many modern day enchiladas varieties distinguished by their fillings, toppings, and even structure. There is one kind, Enchiladas Montades which are stacked (like lasagna) instead of rolled.
What Ingredients are in Turkey Enchiladas?
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- cooked cubed turkey
- red pepper
- orange pepper
- cumin powder
- chili powder
- ancho chili powder
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cotija Cheese (or Oaxaca cheese)
- Red Enchilada Sauce
- tortillas (corn or flour)
These Turkey Enchiladas are simple to make and so very satisfying. They are full of lively spices such as cumin and chili powder, along with aromatic garlic, onion, and sweet peppers.
Let’s talk turkey. Feel free to use a combination of white and dark meat or whatever is left over. Enchiladas are a great way to get rid of all the dry white meat. If you don’t have leftover turkey, use browned ground turkey or cooked chicken.
Feel free to use 100% corn tortillas, as is traditional in Mexican cuisine or if you prefer, use flour tortillas or a combination of flour and corn.
This recipe features traditional red Enchilada Sauce, or chile rojo which is made with ground dried mild red chile peppers and other spices. It is simple to make but for convenience sake I have used a canned version.
Don’t forget the cheese! This recipe contains three kinds of cheese for the ultimate in ooey gooey goodness. Classic Tex Mex Monterey Jack is mixed with Cheddar and a good measure of Mexican Cotija cheese.
More Filling and Topping Possibilities
Feel free to add your own favourite enchilada ingredients into the turkey mixture. Other flavour combinations may include:
- corn or other vegetables
- potatoes and sweet potatoes
- jalapeno, green chilies, guajillo or poblano peppers
- mild or hot enchilada sauce
- black beans
- other sauces such as moles, chile con queso, tomato sauce, refried beans, bechamel sauce, salsa verde
How to Make Turkey Enchiladas
This is such an easy dish to make, especially when the turkey is already cooked for you! Begin by sauteing the diced onion and peppers together with some olive oil over medium heat (remember to keep the very finely diced portion of red pepper for the final topping).
Add the garlic and spices to the pan when the onions and peppers have begun to soften. Cook a few minutes more then set aside.
Next, clear the leftover turkey of any fat, cartilage, or bones then dice it up into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the turkey in a bowl and make the filling by adding the cooked vegetables, cheese, and enchilada sauce. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Drizzle enough red sauce to thinly cover the bottom of a 8 x 11 baking dish the preheat the oven to 350 F.
To assemble the enchiladas, grab two handfuls of filling (about one cup turkey mixture) and place it in a continuous row just below the center of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla over the filling in an upward motion.
Place the rolled tortilla in the prepared baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas, placing them firmly against one another.
Once the baking dish is full, pour remaining enchilada sauce to cover the rolled tortillas halfway plus sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheeses and bake in a 350 F oven until the sauce is bubbly and tortilla edges are crisp (about 30 minutes).
What to Serve with Turkey Enchiladas
Top them with (more) cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes or red peppers, cilantro, chopped onions, sliced avocado or guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo.
A plate full of these cheesy baked treats is quite substantial on their own. However, enchiladas are amazing with traditional sides such as refried beans, red rice, or black beans.
Storing and Reheating Enchiladas
Store baked enchiladas in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat, place in an oven proof baking dish and heat in a 350 F oven about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and filling is runny.
- 4 cups cooked turkey; chopped into cubes
- 1 medium onion; diced
- 1 red pepper; 1/2 diced plus 1/2 very finely diced
- 1 orange pepper; diced
- 2 garlic cloves; minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp ancho chili powder
- 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese; shredded
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese; shredded
- 1 cup Cotija Cheese; shredded or crumbled
- 1 - 28 oz can mild or spicy enchilada sauce
- 6 tortillas; 6-8 inches diameter *see notes
- fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper
- Place diced red pepper, orange pepper, and onion in a saute pan (reserve finely diced red pepper for final garnish). Drizzle with olive oil and cook on low until softened.
- Add minced garlic and spices (cumin, chili powders) and cook for another two minutes. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine the cubed turkey, 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, 1/2 cup Cotija Cheese, 3/4 cup enchilada sauce, and vegetables/spices together in a large bowl.
- Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking pan.
- Divide the filling into 6 portions and place one portion in a line on a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up over the filling then place the rolled tortilla in the baking, seam side down. Repeat with remaining filling/tortillas.
- Pour enough enchilada sauce to almost cover the rolled tortillas and immerse them halfway in sauce.
- Scatter remaining cheeses over the enchiladas.
- Bake in a preheated 350 F. oven for 30-40 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and edges of tortillas are crispy.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes then top with very finely diced red peppers and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.
*I prefer to use a combination of corn/flour tortillas as they hold up well to liquids and still have a sweet corn flavour. Feel free to also just flour or corn only tortillas.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 978Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 253mgSodium: 1492mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 73g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.