Zucchini Chicken Enchiladas is the perfect hearty and healthy meal to make once and enjoy throughout the week. This gluten-free and low carb variation of classic enchiladas is made with paleo and Whole30 compliant "zucchini tortillas," flavorful shredded chicken and homemade enchilada sauce.
Craving chicken enchiladas? Look no further than this recipe for zucchini chicken enchiladas. The way I see it is if zucchini can act as a noodle, then it can absolutely act as tortillas in Mexican-inspired low carb and paleo recipes.
I LOVE Mexican food so the time we spent living in Hawaii was rough. The "Mexican" food in Hawaii just isn't it. We've since relocated and have access to better Mexican food but after my experience with "Mexican" food in Hawaii, I find it more satisfying just to make my favorite dishes from scratch.
Enchiladas have always been one of my favorites so when developing this recipe, my goal was to achieve the same texture and flavor of traditional enchiladas while also creating a recipe that checks off the low carb, keto, paleo AND Whole30 boxes.
I succeeded. This recipe is a great twist on classic Mexican enchiladas made with lighter, cleaner ingredients and significantly less carbs.
💗 Why You'll Love this Recipe
- Delicious and nutritious. Zucchinis are inherently low calorie, low carb and rich in nutrients.
- Diet-friendly! This recipe is a great one for keto, paleo and Whole30 meal plans.
- Fight food waste. "Zucchini tortilla" chicken enchiladas are a great way to utilize a surplus of zucchini and re-purpose leftover chicken.
- Perfect for meal prep. Make zucchini chicken enchiladas once and dig in all week.
🔪 How to Make Zucchini into a Wrap or Tortilla
Thin slices of zucchini can be be layered in order to replicate a tortilla or wrap for enchiladas, tacos etc. For the best "zucchini tortillas" select zucchinis that are at least 8" long and 3 to 4" thick.
1️⃣ To achieve nearly paper thin slices of zucchini for "tortillas", it's helpful to use a mandolin (if you don't have one, VERY carefully slice paper thin strips down the length of the zucchini with a VERY sharp knife).
2️⃣ On a flat surface, arrange 4 to 5 zucchini slices in an even vertical layer, slightly overlapping each slice. Place filling across strips horizontally. Then, starting from the bottom, roll the "tortilla" up as tightly as possible. Cook seam side down.
2 large zucchinis made enough tortillas for about 4 servings.
🥒 Ingredients You'll Need
Shredded Chicken (cooked) - Using leftover shredded rotisserie chicken is huge time saver and a great way to re-purpose plain chicken. You can also use freshly cooked all-purpose shredded chicken.
Zucchini - Select zucchinis that are about as long as the width of a tortilla (6" to 8").
Red Enchilada Sauce - You can absolutely use store-brand enchilada sauce but homemade red enchilada sauce keeps this dish sugar-free, paleo and Whole30 compliant.
Red Onion (small dice) - adds texture and enhances flavor.
Bell Pepper (small dice) - adds texture and enhances flavor.
Avocado Oil - coats pan to prevent sticking.
Cilantro (chopped) - adds fresh flavor that enhances the whole dish.
Although you can find enchilada sauce in your regular grocery store, making it from scratch is very simple and it takes just a few clean, sugar-free ingredients suitable for keto, paleo and Whole30.
📖 How to Make Zucchini Chicken Enchiladas
1️⃣ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking pan, spread an even-layer of enchilada sauce.
2️⃣ In a large skillet, heat avocado oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
3️⃣ Add cooked shredded chicken and 1 cup of enchilada sauce to the skillet. Toss together until chicken and vegetable are well coated in enchilada sauce. Remove from heat.
4️⃣ Assemble "zucchini tortillas" (see above) and then spread filling horizontally across the "tortilla." Starting from the bottom, fold "tortilla" over filling and then carefully continue rolling upwards tightly until secure.
5️⃣ Place each enchilada side-by-side seam side down on a lined baking sheet, packing them tightly. Top with remaining enchilada sauce. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until zucchini is cooked and the dish is warmed through.
6️⃣ Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.
👩🏻🍳 Chef's Tips
This recipe was developed with paleo and Whole30 dieters in mind. Feel free to swap out the zucchini "tortillas" with corn tortillas (for a gluten-free option) or flour tortillas (for a more classic version).
You only need to bake the enchiladas until the zucchini is softened and cooked through since the filling is already cooked. Too much time in the oven can dry them out. Be sure to keep an eye on them.
How To Serve Chicken Enchiladas With Zucchini Tortilla
Try making one of these yummy sides to serve alongside zucchini chicken enchiladas.
Gluten-Free Sides: Cilantro-lime white rice, Spanish rice, seasoned black beans, re-fried beans, chips and salsa, Mexican street corn, etc.
Low Carb & Keto Sides: Cilantro-lime cauliflower rice, veggies and queso, sauteed spinach, etc.
Once you've assembled the "tortillas" the options are practically endless when it comes to filling options. Here are a few ideas:
Zucchini Beef Enchiladas: replace shredded chicken with shredded beef or ground beef.
Vegan Enchiladas: replace shredded chicken with a plant-based ground meat alternative like Impossible "beef" or Beyond "beef."
Vegetarian Enchiladas: replace shredded chicken with a blend of shredded cheeses, beans and spinach.
Make SPICY Enchiladas: Craving more heat? Feel free to add more spice to this recipe by adding diced jalapenos, chili powder, cayenne, etc. to the chicken mixture.
♻ Storing & Freezing
Storing: Leftover zucchini enchiladas store very well. Simply store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 to 4 days. Freezing is not recommended as the thin slices of zucchini will turn to mush.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes
1 medium size zucchini has about 6 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber, totaling to 4 net carbs.
Yes. With only 4 net carbs per vegetable, zucchini is considered a low carb food that can be enjoyed on keto.
Finding a store-brand enchilada sauce with compliant ingredients isn't easy. Most of them have sugar and other werid ingredients. If you make it from scratch with compliant ingredients, you can be sure it's Whole30.
Technically recreating a non-compliant food (tortillas) with compliant ingredients is a no-no, but since we're literally just changing the shape of a veggie, these zucchini "tortillas" are Whole30.
Chicken Zucchini Enchiladas
- 3 cups Shredded Chicken cooked
- 2-3 Zucchini large and thick
- 2 cups [Red Enchilada Sauce]
- 1 small Red Onion small dice
- 1 Bell Pepper small dice
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- ¼ cup Cilantro chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 and set aside a deep baking pan with ¼-1/2 cup enchilada sauce spread on bottom.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet and add diced onion and bell pepper over medium heat. Saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables soften.
- Add in shredded cooked chicken along with one cup of enchilada sauce. Toss together until evenly combined and remove from heat
- Using your mandolin on the thinnest setting, cut each zucchini into paper thin slices as shown below. As you cut them, keep them together so they are the same size. Layer each slice overlapping them halfway through the next one until desired enchilada size is formed. (this turned out to be 4-5 depending on size.
- Scoop a little over ⅓ cup chicken mixture longways inside the "shell". Slide a knife under the zucchini slices and create a flap over the chicken mixture and continue to carefully roll up all the way.
- Add each enchilada to sauce lined baking pan packing them tightly.
- Top with remaining enchilada sauce and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken mixture is warmed through.
- Top with chopped cilantro and/or avocado.