This Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake takes the comfort-food-goodness of your favorite enchiladas, and turns it into an easy pasta dinner you’ll want to make again and again! Cheesy, hearty, and loaded with Tex-Mex goodness.
A Cheesy Pasta Bake with Tons of Tex-Mex Flavor!
Every cook needs a stock of super-simple weeknight recipes that come together in a snap, yet taste like they were lovingly made from scratch. After a long day, sometimes you just want more than a simple sandwich. But when it comes to your energy levels? Maybe it’s better to save that Julia Child Beef Bourguignon recipe for another time.
When I’m craving something satisfying and hearty, I find that Mexican or Tex-Mex food always hits the spot. That’s where this easy recipe for chicken enchilada pasta bake comes in. With some quick boiled pasta, a few canned items, and plenty of shredded chicken, this is a flavorful and filling dinner. A layer of melted cheese baked over the top is the perfect finishing touch.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need to have some shredded chicken on hand, as well as some pantry basics like canned tomatoes and black beans. Here’s the complete list:
For the Pasta Bake
- Pasta: Not quite a whole box – you’ll want 12 ounces of your favorite pasta, cooked and drained. Smaller pasta shapes like penne are easiest for serving, but longer pasta is fine, too.
- Olive Oil
- Canned Corn and Canned Black Beans: One standard 1 (15 ounce) can of each, rinsed and rained. You can substitute frozen corn if you prefer.
- Garlic: Minced fresh garlic is tastiest, but garlic powder will also work.
- Spices: I like to keep this simple: a little bit of cumin, and a little bit of smoked paprika. Feel free to add more spices if you like.
- Canned Tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes add tons of great flavor.
- Canned Chilies: Diced green chilies are usually on the mild side, but if you are not a fan, feel free to leave them out or replace them with sautéed bell pepper.
- Enchilada Sauce: This easy homemade enchilada sauce is a great option, or you can use your favorite store-bought enchilada sauce.
- Shredded Chicken: You can make your own shredded chicken (try this method for The Best Shredded Chicken, or this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast recipe), shred a rotisserie chicken, or use canned chicken if you like.
- Cheese: Shredded Mexican cheese blend is great, or you can substitute another type of cheese such as cheddar, colby jack, or pepper jack.
How to Make Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake
The method for making this couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is boil the pasta, saute the veggies, mix everything together, and top with cheese. Easy, right? Here are those steps in a little more detail:
- Prep the Oven and Baking Dish. To start, preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 6-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray, or grease it with a little oil or butter. Set that aside. Bring a big pot of water to boil, and get the pasta cooking. Once the pasta is done, drain it.
- Saute the Veggies. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a little olive oil and add the corn. Saute the corn for a few minutes (or for more flavor, turn up the heat and let it blacken a bit). Then add the drained black beans and the garlic, and cook those for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Make the Enchilada Mixture. Next, add the cumin, smoked paprika, tomatoes, green chilies, and enchilada sauce to the skillet. Let this come to a simmer, and then stir in the chicken.
- Assemble and Bake. Pour the hot chicken enchilada mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Enjoy! Serve the chicken enchilada pasta bake with your desired toppings.
What else should you know about making a chicken enchilada pasta bake? Actually, I do have a few tips to share! Here’s the scoop on making this easy recipe even easier.
- The Beans: You don’t have to stick with black beans. Any kind of beans will work! Alternatively, if you don’t really like cooking with beans, just leave them out or substitute a healthy veggie.
- The Tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes are great, but you could definitely swap them with regular canned tomatoes or garlic roasted tomatoes.
- The Chilies: Canned chilies can be swapped with roasted and chopped poblanos, if that’s your style!
- The Chicken: This recipe would also be fantastic with browned ground beef or shredded turkey.
What Goes with Enchilada Pasta?
This big casserole is really a complete meal, but it is nice to serve a side dish or two as well. A simple side salad and some garlic bread are perfect! Here are a couple of good side dish recipes for inspiration:
- Greek Salad: Made with fresh greens and colorful veggies, a classic Greek Salad is the perfect starter or side with just about any pasta bake.
- Homemade Garlic Bread: Golden-brown Goat Cheese Garlic Bread is warm, cozy, and ultra-flavorful, thanks to tangy goat cheese and plenty of garlic. Yum!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store your leftover chicken enchilada pasta bake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven, or in the microwave.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, you can! Just cool the pasta bake down and pack into freezer containers or bags. Freeze for up to 2 months, and thaw in the fridge before reheating.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Crockpot Chicken and Rice
- Pico de Gallo Chicken
- Easy Chicken and Dumplings
- Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- Olive Garden Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
- Crockpot Chicken and Rice
- Easy BBQ Oven Pulled Chicken
Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake
For the Pasta Bake
- 12 ounces pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained (or frozen corn)
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 7 ounce can diced green chilies
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 6-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray, and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the corn. Saute for a few minutes, or for more flavor, turn up the heat and let it blacken or char slightly. Then add the black beans and garlic, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add the cumin, smoked paprika, tomatoes, green chilies, and enchilada sauce. Heat thoroughly. Add the chicken and stir to combine.
- Pour into a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.
- Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Serve topped with sour cream, avocado, etc.
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