These Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas are loaded with shredded chicken and poblano peppers, wrapped in earthy Swiss chard, and layered with homemade enchilada sauce and cheese.
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I’m not going to lie, I love tortillas! Along with enchiladas, my family often enjoys chicken burritos, chicken tostadas, chicken quesadillas, and even a taco skillet along with the many tacos we eat!
But sometimes, I want something a little lighter, which is where these low carb chicken enchiladas come in to save the day!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Delicious: From the perfectly seasoned chicken to the fresh cilantro garnish, these baked enchiladas are meaty, cheesy, and saucy.
- Easy: This is one of Mexican recipes with a longer list of ingredients and more labor involved, but surprisingly they come together quite easy!
- Healthy comfort food: Loads of fresh ingredients and no tortillas! It’s a hearty healthy dinner perfect during the cooler months.
- Customizable: You can swap the swiss chard for low carb tortillas and poblanos can be substituted too. Please see info below.
Ingredients for Low Carb Enchiladas
This low carb chicken enchiladas recipe comes together with 5 main ingredients, simple seasonings, and optional garnish.
- Swiss chard: You can use white Swiss chard or red Swiss chard, try to pick ones with big leaves for rolling.
- Poblano peppers: These mild green chili peppers can be found in most grocery stores. When you prepare them, you want to remove the seeds and dice into small pieces. See for substitutions below.
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced. I cooked my chicken with the peppers but you can use leftover chicken as well, check out my tips below.
- Cheese: We love shredded Tex Mex cheese, but you can use any type of shredded cheese that melts such as cheddar cheese, Mexican cheese blend, Colby jack cheese, Mozzarella cheese, or Monterey jack cheese.
- Tomato sauce: Use whatever you have on hand, I prefer a tomato sauce with no added salt or low sodium. I know that authentic enchilada sauce doesn’t have it but we are using it.
- Spices: We use chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to season the chicken and the savory homemade sauce.
- Oil: Any neutral cooking oil that’s good for frying such as avocado oil or olive oil.
- Optional toppings: For garnish, I love adding fresh cilantro and a splash of lime juice. Then I’ll serve this family favorite dish with a side of diced avocado.
How to Make Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas
These healthy chicken enchiladas are divided into 4 easy-to-make sections – prep the greens, make the sauce, cook the chicken, then assemble and bake.
There is a full recipe card located below.
- Prep Swiss chard: Rinse Swiss chard leaves under cold water then use a kitchen towel to pat dry. Lay each leaf flat on a cutting board, then prepping one leaf at a time, use a sharp knife to remove the membrane and cut into 2 lengthwise pieces. Once you’ve done this with all the leaves, you should have 12 “tortillas”. Set aside.
- Make the enchilada sauce: Pour tomato sauce into a medium bowl, then add your cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Sauté peppers: Pan fry diced poblanos along with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, stirring just a few times to keep the peppers from burning.
- Cook the chicken: Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for another 5 minutes, while stirring a few more times.
- Add enchilada sauce: Add in 1/2 cup enchilada sauce to the skillet, stir and set aside.
- Prep your baking dish: Set your oven to 400 F. Use a spatula to spread a bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Set aside while you assemble the enchiladas.
- Roll enchiladas: Assemble one enchilada at a time by placing a leaf on a cutting board, scoop the chicken mixture into one end, and roll tightly. You should end up with 12 rolls in your baking dish.
- Add toppings: Evenly distribute the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake: Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove enchiladas from the oven, cover with tinfoil, and let them rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips for Best Results
You can enjoy restaurant quality enchiladas at home by following my helpful tips.
- About rolling: The amount of chicken added depends on the size of leaf. I was able to add 1/4 – 1/3 cup to each leaf without any spilling out.
- Roll them tightly: Each one should be rolled tight enough to keep the chicken mixture inside. You also want to fit all 12 enchiladas in your baking dish, so roll them as tight as you can.
- Leftover filling: If you have any chicken mixture left over, spread it in between the rolls in the dish.
- Use leftover chicken: Don’t let your chicken go to waste. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, oven baked chicken breast, Instant Pot chicken breast, or air fryer chicken breast, feel free to shred and toss in.
- Use any enchilada sauce: Pick up a jar of no sugar enchilada sauce, gluten-free enchilada sauce, or green enchilada sauce. Or use homemade enchilada sauce.
- Let them stand: Letting them rest helps enhance the flavors but also allows them to set so they don’t fall apart.
What Can I Use Instead of Poblanos?
Poblanos are very mild chili peppers. Like 1 on a scale of 5 mild, even the seeds are significantly milder than jalapeños’. They are sweet peppers with soft texture and a bit of a heat kick. Perfect to add flavor without extra calories to any Latin dish.
I was able to find poblanos in 3 out of 4 grocery stores in my area. Please note red poblanos are hotter than green ones.
If you can’t find poblanos, no big deal. You can easily substitute them with 2 green bell peppers plus a few seeded jalapeños. You can leave some seeds in for more heat.
- Swap the protein: For a beef alternative cook up some ground beef or use leftover taco meat. Shredded turkey with taco seasoning is also delicious, and if you’re a shrimp taco fan like me, swap the chicken for chopped air fryer shrimp or grilled shrimp.
- Chicken thighs: Feel free to use baked boneless skinless chicken thighs. They are perfect for dark meat lovers but contain more fat.
- Vegetarian option: Add extra cheese and your favorite roasted veggies. Mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and zucchini come to mind.
- Toppings: Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded lettuce, green onion, salsa, guacamole, homemade Pico de Gallo, or salsa verde.
What to Serve Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas with?
How to Store
Store: If you have any leftovers, cover them with foil, or transfer enchiladas to an airtight container, and refrigerate for 2 – 3 days. Collard greens do not get soggy like lettuce would.
Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing these low carb enchiladas as the greens will become soggy when thawed. I find them to have an unpleasant texture.
Swiss chard has no noticeable taste, holds the firm texture after baking and fills you up with very few calories, like you won’t believe it. Also white Swiss chard has more neutral taste than red Swiss chard.
More Low Carb Chicken Recipes
- Chicken zucchini casserole
- Tex Mex chicken and zucchini recipe
- Healthy chicken lettuce wraps
- Chicken zucchini noodles
- Zucchini lasagna rolls
Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas
For the Enchiladas:
- Rinse Swiss chard leaves with cold water and dry with kitchen towel. Lay flat on a cutting board, one leaf at a time, and using sharp knife remove the membrane and cut into 2 parts lengthwise. Repeat with remaining leaves. You should end up with 12 "tortillas". Set aside.
- To make enchilada sauce, in a medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk and set aside.
- Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to coat. Add poblanos with a pinch of salt and pan fry for 5 minutes, stirring just a few times.
- Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, chicken, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Turn off heat, add 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and stir. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread a bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of large 9" x 13" baking dish. Set aside.
- To roll enchiladas, place one swiss chard leaf on a cutting board, top one end with 1/4-1/3 cup chicken mixture (depending on its size) and roll tightly. Place into previously prepared baking dish and repeat this step with remaining enchiladas. You should end up with 12 rolls. Spread any remaining chicken mixture on top.
- Top enchiladas evenly with remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, cover with foil and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with avocado, cilantro and lime, if desired.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered for up to 2 – 3 days. I don’t recommend to freeze this dish as greens will become soggy.
- Poblanos replacement: Poblanos are mild green chili peppers that are sold in many supermarkets. If you can’t find poblanos, substitute with 2 green bell peppers and 2 seeded jalapeños. This substitute will give you similar flavor, sweetness and spiciness as poblanos.