(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole

March 10, 2014

(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Awesome casserole.
I know I tend to overuse the word “awesome” in daily life as well as online, and I'm trying to be mindful about it; but I can’t find better words to describe this dish.
Because this (Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole is so very delicious - awesome is the only word that comes to mind.
It’s like taking all the goodness of an enchilada, stacking it up, and baking it under a nice layer of mozzarella. Plus, it’s gluten-free and loaded with veggies.
It may not look like, but it really is.

(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I’ll confess it; making the primal version of this casserole it’s a tad more time consuming than the non-primal one.
In the latter case, you go to the grocery store and buy already made tortillas, shredded chicken, enchilada sauce and mozzarella; all you’re left to do is basically assemble the casserole.
But that’s not how we roll over here.
We like to make everything from scratch — and not because we think it’s funny to do the extra work, but because it’s healthier and tastes 200x better.

(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole

So we make cauliflower tortillas, enchilada sauce, shredded chicken, okay, not the cheese (although I know quite a few people who make cheese at home!) and then we "create" the casserole.
A bit of sauce. Now layer away. Tortillas, chicken, cheese and sauce all up in there.
35 minutes in the oven and yum!

(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Here’s the thing about this Primal Chicken Enchilada Casserole, it’s not as good as the regular one, it’s on a whole 'nother level.
It makes the regular one tastes....meh, or something.
The cauliflower tortillas are so yummy and they soak up the juice way better than regular flour tortillas. Every time you take a bite... It's like you've never eaten anything before.
This is one healthy casserole that will satisfy the even the most finicky eaters.
(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole
(Primal) Chicken Enchilada Casserole                                                                 Print this recipe! 
Inspired by PinchOfYum and SlimPalate


Serves 6 - 8

1 lb / 453 gr free-range organic chicken breast
2 cups / 6.8 oz / 200 gr shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (you can also use Monterey Jack)

Cauliflower Tortillas

1 small head of cauliflower, should yield 3 cups riced and packed
3 eggs
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Enchilada Sauce

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
2 tablespoons chili powder (adjust according to taste)
1 can (15 oz / 425 gr) tomato sauce
1 ½ cups / 350 ml water
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ fine grain sea salt

*arrowroot powder acts like cornstarch



Boil chicken breast in a large pot of water for 30 minutes. Then shred it with two forks. Set aside.

Enchilada sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat; stir in arrowroot powder and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until light brown, about 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic and salt; lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. Set aside.

Cauliflower crust tortillas

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C), line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them with olive oil.
In a food processor rice the cauliflower, until you get a texture finer than rice. (Once it’s riced measure it and make sure you have 3 cups packed).
Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, give it a good stir and microwave for another 2 minutes.
Place the cauliflower rice in a tea towel and twist it to squeeze as much moisture as you can (I usually squeeze out over a cup of liquid). This is very important. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry.
Place drained cauliflower rice back in the bowl and add eggs, salt and pepper and mix until combined.
Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheets into 8 fairly flat circles.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then peel them off the parchment paper, flip them and bake for further 6 to 7 minutes.
Heat a nonstick medium sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them (1 minute per side).

Assemble the casserole

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce in the bottom of 8x8 baking dish. Place two tortillas in the bottom of the dish, overlapping to cover the entire surface (to get each layer completely covered with tortillas, I cut 1 additional tortilla into fourths and used it to cover the corners).
Layer chicken, cheese, sauce and tortillas; repeat once to make a total of 2/3 layers.
Cover the top with enchilada sauce and 1 cup of cheese.
Cover the baking dish with well-oiled aluminium foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake uncovered for additional 5 minutes, until cheese starts to brown and sauce is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 370 calories, 22 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs and 32 grams of protein.


  1. This looks delicious, perfect for the cold rainy day we're having here - nothing quite like melty cheese!

    1. So true Kari, there's nothing quite like melted cheese!

  2. Hi, I just discovered your site and came here to say that it is AWESOME. I'm obsessed! :)

  3. Mike - you are hands down the king of cauliflower! Cauliflower tortillas sound AWESOME!!! I never would have thought of them - ever!!! And that enchilada sauce - I could just use a shovel and guzzle it all down!!!
    I think I would prefer your enchilada casserole over the original ANYDAY!
    Happy Monday!

    1. The enchilada sauce is to die for, I could eat it by the spoonful!

  4. Be still my heart! That looks incredible. Once my move is over, I have to give this recipe a try for sure. Super photos too!

  5. Oh my, get-eth in-eth my belly-eth! That enchilada sauce alone is worth trying out!

  6. I love casseroles, and chicken, and cheese, and Mexican. Pretty much I am writing this recipe down now!

    1. Awesome Kim, let me know how you like it!

  7. Wow! Mike you out did yourself, homemade cauliflower tortillas.

  8. This looks so fantastic Mike, can't wait to try it!

  9. Wow man, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are the king of everything "tomato and cheese". I want to lick that screen from bottom to top, left to right and corner to corner, and then maybe start again in the opposite direction.

    I now imperatively need this in my life!

  10. I don't know why, but whenever I think or read the word CASSEROLE, I always conjure up some very sexy images. Well, I didn't have to use my imagination THIS TIME because your photos.... PUT THE IMAGES right in my mind! BOOM. Thanks for making this one easy for my brain! lol!

  11. Ok, I have seriously been craving enchiladas like nobody's business the past two weeks. I even bought stuff to make it this week, on the menu for wednesday! :) {ooh.. thats tomorrow.. yeah} Love this primal version though, especially with the cauliflower tortillas just because your AWESOME. :) Pinned this Mike, great recipe, and now I'm hungry!

    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

  12. Now this is super creative Mike! I love all things Mexican, and really, what other word is there to describe this other than awesome?! Loving those cauliflower tortillas... making immediately!

  13. I think that "awesome" is an understatement here. Oh wow - this looks brilliant!

  14. I made this last night for dinner- wow is all that can be said! This was "amazingly good" as the husband put it. I did make one slight change, and and subbed 1/2 tbsp chipotle for an equal amount of regular chili. Otherwise, thank you for the addition to our rotation of awesome!

    1. That's awesome M, I'm so glad it was a hit with your husband as well!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Made it the other night and was delicious. Was my first experience with cauliflower crust and is soo good. I made my own sauce though with lots of chilli and capsicum.

    1. Lots of chili and capsicum...that's the way to roll! :)

  16. We have made these twice. Wow. Fantastic!!

    1. I know, right? I was the first to be surprised of how well it turned out!

  17. YOU DID IT AGAIN!!!! no, seriously you have to write a cauliflower cookbook, and I want an autographed copy. ;-)

    too hard to write from iPad with lousy hotel connections, but I had to say. AWESOME POST!

    see? Guilty of awesome.....

  18. What could I do instead of microwaving the cauliflower (since this destroys anything good in veggies)? Would I just steam it in a pot with maybe a piece of cheesecloth sitting inside of a strainer? Or is that putting too much water back into it...? Maybe in the oven slow and low? A rice cooker without adding water? I just like to avoid the microwave if possible. Suggestions would be much appreciated!

    1. Steaming or boiling work just as well. Many readers have succeeded using one of these two methods. What really matters is that afterwards you squeeze all the moisture out of the cauliflower rice. That's the only non-negotiable part!

  19. Mike,

    I make a TON of recipes from your site. I see that this was supposed to be 6-8 servings so I had initially planned on having leftovers for lunch, but that didn't happen since 3 of us devoured it. Any suggestions for what you would serve with this for sides?

    1. I usually serve it with something fresh like a simple green salad with tomatoes. Nothing too complicated as this casserole is a rich and flavorful dish.

  20. I just have to say THANK YOU for this recipe! This is literally my first time commenting on a blog, this recipe compelled me to do so! Even my husband said it was the best "diet" food he's ever had. I made a couple subs (I used jarred enchilada sauce, pre-made rotisserie chicken and WW reduced fat Mexican cheese) but the cauliflower tortillas were fantastic. You have inspired me to create my own take on this- "Chicken Fajita Casserole". I'm going to try salsa verde, onions and peppers, shredded chicken, cauliflower tortillas and Mexican cheese. Thank you again and I am going to search your blog for more recipes! Cheers!