Chicken Spinach Enchiladas


By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

I love this recipe because it’s a way of hiding spinach in a kid-friendly Mexican enchilada if you have a kid who won’t eat any green vegetables. The garlic & cheese overpowers the spinach but the good news is this recipe really tastes good, too. The recipe is excellent as a leftover and can be warmed up easily in the microwave. In addition, you can cut the recipe in half as well before you cook it. If you want to lower the fat and calories in this recipe you can also use fat free cream cheese.  You can use canned chicken breast or you can poach your chicken which is very easy to do.  See the recipe below.


Nutritional Information Per Serving: 395 calories, 29 grams protein, 15 grams of fat,  32 grams of CHO, 4 grams dietary fiber, 895 mg sodium.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 35 minutes

Serves:  8 servings; one taco each



  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or ¾ tsp dried minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 2 cans (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (see how to poach chicken below)
  • 1 (8 oz) package of low fat cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded low fat pepper jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 (8-inch) soft taco whole wheat tortillas

Spoon 1 tbsp of bottled Tomatillo Salsa or Thick Salsa per tortilla before serving



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil under medium heat for 5 minutes until tender.  Add spinach and green chilies.  Sauté 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Stir in chicken and cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and fresh cilantro.  Stir continuously until the cheeses melt. Spoon ¾ cup of chicken mixture in center of tortilla. Roll up tortilla.  Placed the rolled tortilla seam side down on a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Top with 1 tbsp Tomatillo or Thick Salsa per tortilla.


Shopping List

  • onions
  • 3 garlic cloves or dried minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • chopped baby spinach
  • 2 cans (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1 (8 oz) package of low fat or fat free cream cheese
  • 8 oz shredded low fat pepper jack cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • 8 (8-inch) soft taco whole wheat tortillas
  • bottled Tomatillo Salsa or Thick Salsa


How to Poach Chicken
To poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts, place them in a large pot or skillet and add 1-2 cups of water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 9-14 minutes until chicken reaches 160 degrees F. about 15 minutes.

You can also poach in the oven. Place chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. You can add lemon slices, peppercorns, or any other spices or herbs. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and immediately pour over chicken. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 20-35 minutes, checking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 13 grandchildren.    


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