First and foremost, I must say this might sound like a weird recipe. Pumpkin and chicken don’t necessarily go together like peanut butter and jelly, but think less pumpkin spice and more savory pumpkin. If that makes sense.
When I was craving cheesy, gooey Mexican goodness, I was trying to think of ways I could make this healthier without sacrificing flavor. Enter the concept of including vegetables in dishes you’ve never though of!
Pumpkin is so good for you, too! When you leave out the sugar, spices and fat that’s in your standard pumpkin recipe, you’ve got a squash powerhouse on your hands. Pumpkin is full of antioxidants and fiber and can benefit your skin, hair and nails.
The pumpkin makes the enchilada sauce thick and creamy, and the filling is comprised of corn, pulled chicken, onions and garlic, but you can certainly keep it meat-free, add beans, whatever you like!
Pumpkin Chicken Enchilada Bake
For the filling:
- 1/2 lb. chicken breasts
- 1- 1.5 c. chicken stock
- 1 t. olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 c. frozen corn
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1 t. all-purpose seasoning (I used Adobo)
- 1/4 t. cumin
- 1/2 t. cayenne (optional, but I like things spicy!)
For the pumpkin enchilada sauce:
- 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (I love Hunt’s brand)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 t. cayenne
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. onion powder
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- Dash hot sauce
For the assembly:
- 3-4 whole wheat tortillas (I love Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat)
- 1 cup combined mixture of sharp cheddar and mild cheddar cheeses
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place chicken breasts in a medium sauce pan and pour chicken broth over it, until chicken breasts are covered completely. Bring to a boil and then turn to medium-low and simmer until chicken is completely cooked through. Once cooked through, place on a plate/cutting board for chicken to cool.
2. While chicken is cooling, heat oil in a small sauce pan and add onion to pan. Add salt and cook onion for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and cook mixture on low until softened, about 6-7 minutes.
3. Add corn to pan and cook until corn is warmed through and defrosted.
4. Shred chicken either using your hands or two forks and place in a bowl. Add onion, garlic and corn mixture, along with the chili powder, Adobo, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine. Set aside.
5. In a medium sauce pan, combine pumpkin, tomato sauce, cayenne, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt and hot sauce and whisk until combined. Heat on low for 5 minutes.
6. Pour half of pumpkin sauce into bottom of a 9 inch pan. Tear up one of the tortillas and place on top of sauce. Spread 1/3 of chicken mixture on top and sprinkle 1/3 of cheese on top. Tear up second tortilla and place on top of cheese. Continue with chicken and cheese again. After third tortilla is on top, pour remaining sauce over the top of the casserole and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut and serve.
Makes 6-8 servings.