Colorful and flavorful, Turkey Spinach Enchiladas are easy to prepare with readily available ingredients, making them perfect for busy night dinner. A longtime favorite recipe from my mom, these enchiladas are moist, cheese-y, satisfying, and not too heavy – with just the right amount of spice. Never made enchiladas before? Then you’re in the right place, because my step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process and ensure you have fun!
My family has always loved Southwestern food. My dad was raised in Tucson, Arizona and my mom went to University of Arizona, so Mexican food was regularly served in our house growing up. Over the years, mom both collected and created lots of different delicious, family-pleasing dishes featuring basic Mexican ingredients – like these Turkey Spinach Enchiladas.
Instead of ground beef (which is traditionally found in many enchilada dishes), as the title implies, mom’s recipe is made with ground turkey, which I think keeps it a little lighter.
Does using ground turkey make the enchiladas dry?
Sometimes cooked ground turkey can be a bit dry, but not here. After seasoning and browning the ground meat, you stir in salsa, spinach and cream cheese. Not only do these additions provide tons of flavor, they ensure the ground turkey filling stays super moist. Oh, and who isn’t going to like enchiladas with cream cheese melted on the inside AND Cheddar cheese melted on the outside?
Are these enchiladas quick and easy to prepare?
My mom was the queen of “quick and easy” recipes, and these turkey enchiladas don’t disappoint. Using prepared salsa and chopped tomatoes for the red sauce definitely speeds up the process! Plus, serving the enchiladas atop chopped lettuce makes this a one dish meal.
Can I make this recipe as an enchilada casserole?
Yes, definitely! Just layer the corn tortillas with the filling instead of rolling them. Detailed directions are provided at the bottom of the recipe!
Updates to mom’s original recipe
Recently I made a few tweaks to mom’s original recipe, adding in a few more Mexican spices and some hot sauce, to amp up the flavor even more. So, give the new version a try and let me know what you think! And pin it now to save for later –
More easy Mexican/Southwestern recipes
- Mexican Chicken, Black Beans and Rice
- Mexican Baked Chicken
- Kidwell Family Tacos
- Southwestern Chicken Soup
- Crustless Southwestern Chicken Pie
- Shrimp Tostadas
These turkey enchiladas are easy to prepare with readily available ingredients, making them perfect for busy night dinner. They’re moist, cheese-y, satisfying, and not too heavy – with just the right amount of spice.
- 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken)
- Chili powder, to taste (preferably a blend of flavors)
- Garlic powder, to taste
- 3 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano or common oregano
- 2 cups salsa, divided (I like to use a 16-ounce jar of Medium Pace Picante®)
- 1 package (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
- 1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, cubed (can use regular or Neufchatel)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 12 to 14 ( 6-inch) corn tortillas – see Note
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounce) chopped tomatoes, undrained
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 3 cups (or more) shredded lettuce, for serving
- 1/2 cup sour cream, for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- Chopped avocado, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, cook ground turkey over medium heat, breaking up meat with a spatula as it browns. Sprinkle a heavy coating of chili powder over the top. Sprinkle with garlic powder to taste, then 2 teaspoons of cumin and the oregano. Cook, stirring and continuing to break up the meat, until the meat is slightly brown. Sprinkle with another light coating of chili powder and continue cooking until a red-brown color (don’t overcook otherwise it will dry out).
- Remove from heat and place meat in a food processor and process briefly, until meat is broken into crumbles. (I take the pusher out of the top of the processor, to allow the steam to escape.)
- Put meat back into the skillet and stir in 1 cup salsa, spinach and cream cheese. Stir over medium heat until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Spray both sides of a tortilla with cooking spray and place in skillet, cooking around 5 seconds on each side. You aren’t browning or toasting them, just softening them so they are pliable.
- Carefully place hot tortilla on a paper towel on your counter.
- Spoon around 1/3 cup of turkey mixture in middle of tortilla; roll up and place, seam side down, in prepared dish. Repeat to make 12 to 14 tortillas – or until the filling is used up.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together remaining salsa, tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin and the hot sauce. Pour over top of enchiladas, spreading to cover all the enchiladas.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and let stand until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
- Place 1/2 cup lettuce on each dinner plate, top with two enchiladas. Garnish with a spoonful of sour cream, sprinkle of chopped cilantro and/or chopped avocado.
Corn tortilla size and subsequent quantity of enchiladas: sometimes I can find 5-inch tortillas at the grocery store, sometimes 6-inch. With the smaller tortillas, I fill them with 1/4 cup of the turkey mixture, and end up with 14 enchiladas. With the 6-inch ones, I fill with 1/3 cup and it makes 12 enchiladas.
Make ahead: Enchiladas can be assembled but not baked earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Variation as a casserole: Layer 6 tortillas on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with turkey mixture, spreading evenly. Layer remaining 6 tortillas on top of the turkey. Top with sauce. Bake as above.
Keywords: enchiladas, ground turkey, spinach, gluten free