Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas

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Turkey enchiladas made with leftover cooked turkey, homemade chili sauce, onions, black beans, and Monterey jack cheese. Topped with red onions, avocado, and cilantro.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Usually when our family makes enchiladas we use corn tortillas. But there’s something about turkey that I think just lends itself to a flour tortilla enchilada.

Maybe it’s just years of eating leftover turkey, reheated in its own gravy and served with bread. In any case, if you are looking for what to make with your turkey leftovers, consider these enchiladas.

You make your own chili sauce and dress it up a bit with cinnamon, cloves, and cumin for more depth than a standard enchilada sauce. The filling uses plenty of leftover turkey, along with onions, jalapeños, garlic, black beans, cheese, lime juice, and cilantro.

Flour tortillas are dipped in the sauce, rolled up around the filling, aligned in a casserole pan, slathered with more sauce, sprinkled liberally with melty cheese, and baked until the cheese is melted.

Essential to properly enjoying enchiladas is of course the garnishes—avocado, onions, and cilantro for starters. I also highly recommend sour cream to counteract the heat of the chiles, and thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed only with salt and vinegar, to provide a cooling, tangy lift.

Several turkey enchiladas recipes I found include sour cream in the sauce itself, which would make the sauce more creamy. This is certainly an option; I could go either way.

Do you have a favorite turkey enchiladas recipe using leftover turkey? If so, please let us know about it in the comments.

Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Feel free to substitute cooked chicken meat for the cooked turkey.

Ingredients

Enchilada sauce:

  • 7 Tbsp chili powder (note that chili powders vary in strength, you may want to start with less and add more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (less if using salted stock)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of turkey or chicken stock

Enchilada filling:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño chili peppers (1 for mild, 2 or more for spicy), seeded, minced
  • 3 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (makes 2 cups grated cheese)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (can sub lemon juice)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
  • 8-16 flour tortillas, depending on size and thickness

Garnishes:

  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream or crema fresca
  • Ice berg lettuce, sliced thin and sprinkled with salt and vinegar

Method

1 Make enchilada sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, sugar, salt, and flour.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a cast iron pan (or other thick-bottomed sauté pan). Add the spices and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant.

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Slowly whisk in the stock, until smooth. Let come to a simmer, cook for a minute, then remove from heat, cover and set aside.

2 Prepare the filling: Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeños and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove from heat.

Place onion mixture in a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the cooked turkey meat, the beans, 1 cup of the grated cheese, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 2 Tbsp lime juice, and 1/2 a cup of the enchilada sauce. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt, or more to taste. Set aside.

3 Assemble the enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the pan with the enchilada sauce on medium heat. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish (pyrex works well).

Working one at a time, dip the flour tortillas in the sauce to coat them on both sides. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little water.

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Place the tortilla in the casserole dish and place anywhere from 1/4 of a cup to 1/2 cup of the filling in the middle of the tortilla.

Roll up the tortilla around the filling and place it in the casserole dish. Continue to roll up the rest of your tortillas until they fill the casserole dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

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4 Bake: Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese has melted.

5 Sprinkle with lime juice, serve with garnishes: Sprinkle with a little more lime juice before serving. Serve with chopped red onion, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro, sour cream or crema fresca, and thinly sliced iceberg lettuce that has been dressed with vinegar and salt (no oil).

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Turkey Enchiladas

Showing 4 of 47 Comments

  • Pam

    I just made the sauce which was easy except I had to use part cayenne for my chili. Tomorrow I’ll assemble one pan of “flat” enchiladas for the Advent service meal and one pan of rolled enchiladas for home. The pictures are what grabbed my attention. After reading the recipe I was hooked! I did skip the sugar and salt.

  • Angela Broyles

    THese were great! We loved them. Very versatile recipe also, add what you like!

  • Kelly Nobles

    This is my new favourite way to use leftover turkey! Amazingly awesome recipe! I found it fairly time consuming and ended up layering it lasagne style because I had trouble getting the rolls to stay together. My spice-loving son was over the moon and my generally picky husband vacuumed it up. I absolutely love the fact that it has no tomato-based sauce, as all my favourite flavourful recipes contain some form of tomato but my son is allergic! Three thumbs up from our family!

  • Regina

    I’ve made your enchilada recipe about 5 or 6 times now. And, I always get the same response: “OMG this is so good.” My youngest sister and my niece have been out visiting for less than a week, and they have requested it twice for dinner. The sauce is simply heaven (ground clove, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, chili powder…) Whenever I make it I think about the movie “Like Water for Chocolate.” Thank you so so much for such a wonderful dish combination of ingredients.

  • DW

    Made this with your leftover turkey chili (which we had last night), and we absolutely loved it! The enchilada sauce is incredible! Due to two kids who will not touch anything spicy, I subbed 7TBS of paprika for the chili powder, which didn’t change the fact that this was still an incredible recipe I will put to our meal rotation! Finally a from-scratch enchilada recipe that isn’t of the typical “good, but something’s missing” type! Thank you!

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