Crock Pot Mexican Casserole

I’m beginning to wonder if my appetite has some sort of homing beacon that orients itself toward Mexican food. If it’s been a few weeks since we’ve eaten it, the next time I enter the grocery store, I’ll find myself drifting toward the enchilada sauce and chili powder, as if being pulled by an invisible string connected to the end of my grocery cart. Such was the case the week I made this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole. My homing beacon called, and this healthy Mexican slow cooker recipe answered!

Super easy and DELICIOUS Crock Pot Mexican Casserole with quinoa, black beans, and chicken or turkey. Healthy comfort food, gluten free, and our whole family LOVES it! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This post is brought to you by Old El Paso.

I attribute my regular cravings for Mexican flavor to my mother, who I’m convinced needs a dose of Mexican food at least twice a week in order to maintain her equilibrium. Growing up, at least 50% of the meals we ate out were Mexican (or “Mexican,” depending upon your perspective). We cruised the Hispanic area of town, stopping at whichever eatery looked the most legitimate. The less English visible in the window, the better. We indulged in Mexican-ish fast food. On Sundays after church, we frequented our city’s local version of On the Border.

Of all the flavor profiles I could have been reared to love, I’m happy that one of them is Mexican. It’s the right mix of comfort and freshness, the spices are rich but not overpowering, and for the most part, Mexican food tends to be an all-around crowd pleaser any time I serve it.

Now, I will not for a second pretend that the Mexican recipes I make at home, such as this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole, are authentic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious.

Cheesy Healthy Crock Pot Mexican Casserole with quinoa, black beans, fresh veggies, and ground chicken or turkey. Easy DELICIOUS comfort food! {gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This particular Mexican casserole recipe is ultra easy to make, reasonably healthy, and offers the convenience of the slow cooker too. No, you won’t find it on an actual Mexican restaurant menu, but when your family is fighting each other for second helpings and you are congratulating yourself on serving an easy meal that’s loaded with fiber and protein, that detail will be less of a priority.

A few key ingredients make this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole a) extra satisfying and b) extra simple to prepare.

Crock Pot Mexican Casserole with Quinoa, Black Beans, and Ground Turkey. An easy, healthy slow cooker recipe. Gluten free, healthy comfort food!

On the fill-you-up front, we have black beans, quinoa, and ground turkey. All three pack mega fiber and protein, which means this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole will keep you full and happy long after it is served. If you or your family prefer, you can use ground chicken or lean ground beef instead, or you can keep the Mexican casserole vegetarian by swapping in extra black beans.

Easy and DELICIOUS Crock Pot Mexican Casserole with quinoa, black beans and ground turkey or chicken. Healthy, gluten free, and everyone LOVES it! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

On the let’s-keep-it-easy front, we have ready-to-go pantry items, including Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce, one of my at-home Mexican cooking staples. It keeps the Crock Pot Mexican Casserole prep simple and is easy to combine with fresh ingredients, such as the bell peppers and onions in this recipe.

Slow Cooker Healthy Mexican Casserole with quinoa, ground turkey, and black beans. Easy gluten free recipe and our whole family loves it! The crock pot does the work. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This healthy Mexican slow cooker recipe yields a generous amount, but the leftovers reheat like a dream. For those interested in meal prep, you can sauté the ground meat and chop the veggies in advance, then just dump everything into the crock pot whenever you are ready to make it.

Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Casserole with ground turkey, quinoa, and black beans. A healthy crock pot casserole that’s gluten free! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

This Crock Pot Mexican Casserole also freezes exceptionally well. Make it tonight, then stow some away for the next time you need a fast, healthy dinner…or for when your own Mexican craving strikes!

Tools I used to make this recipe:

  • Slow Cooker (the insert can also be used on the stovetop, so you can actually brown the meat directly inside it before you set it to slow cook. Let’s hear it for fewer dishes!)
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Crock Pot Mexican Casserole

Super easy and DELICIOUS Crock Pot Mexican Casserole with quinoa, black beans, and ground chicken or turkey. Healthy, gluten-free comfort food!

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours (on high); 6 hours (on low)

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes (on high); 6 hours, 15 minutes (on low)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (I used 93% lean ground turkey)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (mild or medium; I used medium)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • For serving: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, chopped green onion, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Add the turkey and onion. Cook and stir, breaking up the turkey as you go, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  2. To the slow cooker, add the quinoa, enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, corn, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, then cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours, until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  3. Remove the lid and stir. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Cover and cook on high until the cheese melts, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with any desired toppings.
  • Make it ahead: You can sauté the turkey and onions up to 1 day in advance and chop the peppers 1 day in advance as well. Store in the refrigerator in separate containers, then add to the slow cooker according to the directions when ready to cook.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently in the microwave or in a casserole dish, covered, in the oven.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 8)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 318 Calories
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 58mg
  • Sodium: 956mg
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Protein: 20g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post is sponsored by Old El Paso. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

47 comments

  1. I think we have the same tastebuds, because I totally agree! There’s something about Mexican food that’s just SO comforting and delicious. Putting this on my list to make! :)

  2. We don’t have great Mexican restaurants near us and that makes me sad! I’m trying this recipe for sure.

  3. This looks fantastic!! I am absolutely going to try this out!

  4. Looks amazing! Im making it this weekend!

  5. I think I will try this. It sounds so good and it’s easy since you can do it one day ahead! Thank you for the wonderful recipes. 

    Rating: 5
    • I like the make-ahead option too, Hazel! Thank you for your kind words about my recipes, and I hope you enjoy this casserole!

  6. Looks delicious! Make sure you take the leftovers, roll them up in tortillas, pour enchilada sauce over that, then top with cheese and bake. Remember, I am still the casserole queen!

  7. This would be such a massive hit here, the perfect weekend family dinner!

    Rating: 5
  8. Very nice, I will have to make this! (:

  9. hey girl- this looks amazing! I love mexican food!

  10. This was a great dinner! We didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes so used a jar of trader joes no salt added fire roasted salsa, but will try it with just tomatoes next time.  Its all packed up with some multigrain tortilla chips for my husbands lunch tomorrow, thanks for a yummy meal that’ll last all week!

    • Hi Rupa! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for sharing your feedback—and I hope you love the leftovers too!

  11. Just made this last night and had to report back (yet again!) that this was DELICIOUS! This will definitely go into our regular rotation. And so easy which I love. Thanks again for a great recipe.

    • Liz, I’m so glad the recipe was a hit! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this awesome feedback!

  12. Hi, this looks wonderful! Do you think that I could substitute the quinoa with uncooked rice and cook it in the slow cooker for the same length of time?  Thanks for your terrific recipes!

    • Hi Lynn! I’m afraid I can’t say for certain, as I only tested the recipe with quinoa. Generally because different grains have different cook times and require different amounts of liquid, you can’t always swap directly, and you would be experimenting. I suggest you compare the liquid ratios and cooking times of the rice you’re considering to quinoa, then adjust from there. If you decide to play around with the recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  13. Made this last night!! Delicious.  I may make nachos tonight with the left overs.   It was almost like the turkey quinoa sweet potato chili recipe you have posted.  I love how healthy they both are!! 

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review, Natasha! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the casserole, and I love the idea of repurposing the leftovers into nachos!

  14. How many grams are in each serving?

    • Hi Nick, unfortunately, I don’t have a weight measurement for each serving, but if you mean the nutrition information per serving, that’s listed below the recipe!

  15. Entered this recipe in a crockpot cook-off and won first prize! The avocado topping sealed the deal for me. Thanks for sharing it!

    Rating: 5
    • WOW Elizabeth! I am so happy to hear that this recipe had crowd approval. Thanks for letting me know and leaving this wonderful review. I’m so glad you all loved it!

  16. Very tasty! Healthy, incredibly filling and easy to prepare. Do you think it could be done with raw chicken instead of cooked turkey?

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Alison, yes you can use chicken! You could experiment by adding whole raw chicken breasts to the crock pot, adjusting the cooking time, and then either dice or shred the chicken once it’s done. The safest bet with how the recipe was tested, though, is to swap ground chicken and follow the directions, because I 100% know that will come out.

  17. This was excellent! We omitted the meat to satisfy vegetarians in the family.  Everybody loved this dish and even begged for the leftovers.  The quinoa seems to give this dish some body that might otherwise be missing without meat. Will definitely make this again! 

    Rating: 5
    • Mary, I’m so glad this recipe was a winner! Thanks so much for trying it out and taking the time to leave this nice review!

  18. Excellent! Made exactly as recipe noted except I used one mild and one medium can of enchilada sauce. This one’s a sure keeper. Hubby suggested I could even but some in a blender with the cilantro and make a hot mexican dip. Dual purpose recipe…

    • That sounds like a great idea, Deb! Thanks so much for taking the time to share how the recipe went—I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it!

  19. Was super excited for this recipe; I even took my insert out and put it on the stove top. After a minute the darn thing cracked and is leaking =[. Hungry and hopeless…

    • Oh no, Matt! Only certain slow cookers have inserts that are okay to use on the stovetop, so perhaps yours was one that wasn’t. I hope you were still able to find something delicious to eat and can give this recipe a try again soon!

  20. This was great, I made it for father’s day. Everyone loved it.

    Rating: 5
  21. Very easy, and very good!

    Rating: 5
  22. What is the amount per serving? It’s blank above in the nutritional facts. Thiss is delicious and my whole family loves it. Thanks!

    • Hi Emily! I am so happy you all love this! I didn’t measure it cup for cup, but it was calculated based on 1/8 of the recipe, since this yields a generous amount. Thanks for trying the recipe and letting me know how it came out for you!

  23. I prepared this tonight for dinner quests tomorrow. I put it in the freezer because you said it freezes well. Can I just put it on the crock pot or should it defrost first? I’m assuming it may take a little longer if it’s frozen.

    • Nancy, is it already cooked? If yes, I would let it thaw overnight. You could reheat in the oven in a casserole dish (best option so that the quinoa doesn’t over cook), microwave individual servings (also works well, though maybe not ideal for guests), or reheat in the crock pot (probably my last choice, since it will reheat slowly and again, might overcook). I hope you all enjoy it!

  24. Really easy and yummy! I added fresh squeezed lime to give it a little more flavor. I’ll make again and its great for leftovers!
    Thanks for another yummy, healthy, easy recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Sara, the extra lime sounds delicious! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and for taking the time to write this awesome review!

  25. Made this last night! Will definitely be going into my rotation! It was so good and so healthy! I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes! 

    Rating: 5
    • Krystin, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review.

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