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!
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 how strictly you define the term.
During summer vacation when my sisters and I were out of school, we’d cruise the Hispanic area of town, stopping at whichever eatery looked the most legitimate for lunch. The less English visible in the windows, the better.
If we were running errands and needed to make a quick stop, nine times out of 10, we’d pick a place where I could order some version of chicken enchiladas.
On Sundays after church, we frequented our city’s local version of On the Border.
Our traditional Christmas night dinner? My grammy’s Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.
Clearly, the love of Mexican food spans generations.
About This Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
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.
Like the more authentic Mexican food that inspired it, this ground turkey slow cooker casserole is the right mix of comfort and freshness.
The spices are rich but not overpowering, and like my other slow cooker Mexican recipes, from Taco Casserole to Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup, it’s a complete crowd pleaser every time I serve it.
This particular Mexican casserole recipe is ultra easy to make, reasonably healthy, and offers the convenience you are seeking when you pull out your crock pot.
No, you won’t find this crockpot enchilada recipe on an actual Mexican restaurant menu, but when your family is clamoring for second helpings, you’ll be too busy congratulating yourself on serving an easy meal that’s loaded with fiber and protein to worry about that small detail.
How to Make the Best Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
A few key ingredients make this casserole extra satisfying and extra simple to prepare.
On the fill-you-up front, we have:
- black beans
- quinoa, and
- ground turkey or chicken
All three pack mega fiber and protein, which means this Crock Pot Mexican Casserole will keep you satisfied long after it is served.
If you or your family prefer, you can use ground chicken to make slow cooker Mexican casserole chicken or use lean ground beef.
To fit the recipe into your collection of crockpot vegetarian recipes, replace the meat with extra black beans.
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. (Another meal prep winner: Crock Pot Chicken and Rice!)
This Crock Pot Mexican Casserole also freezes exceptionally well.
Looking for a Mexican casserole you can make in the oven instead? Try my delicious Mexican Casserole recipe.
Make this recipe tonight, then stow some away for the next time you need a fast, healthy dinner…or for when your own Mexican craving strikes!
What to Serve with Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
- This meal is really a slam-dunk all-in-one, so you don’t have to put something on the side. That said, I do always love to add a green veggies. This would be excellent with a simple green salad, sautéed spinach or kale, or oven-roasted brussels sprouts.
Recommended Tools to Make Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
- Slow Cooker. Be sure it is at least 6 quarts (you could maybe squeeze it in a 5 quart, but I haven’t tried).
- For a 3-quart slow cooker, reduce the recipe by half.
More Mexican-Style Recipes You’ll Love
- Mexican Quinoa
- Slow Cooker Taco Casserole
- Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
- 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 cans red enchilada sauce (10 ounce cans) (mild or medium) or 2 1/2 cups homemade red enchilada sauce
- 1 can black beans (15 ounces), drained and rinsed
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices (15 ounces)
- 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
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese divided
- For serving: chopped fresh cilantro diced avocado, chopped green onion, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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