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Healthy Pumpkin Chicken Casserole

This healthy pumpkin chicken casserole is a fun, savory way to use pumpkin puree and makes for a delicious and easy fall weeknight meal. It’s gluten free, full of flavor and is made with a few healthy and nutritious ingredients.

The weather is getting to a point where at night or for lunch I’m craving something a little more warming and heartier. Enter this healthy pumpkin chicken casserole that is super simple to make and delicious!

I love this Mexican flare on using pumpkin puree in a casserole along with tomatillo salsa cheese and shredded chicken. It all comes together for a quick dinner that I love topping with avocado slices, jalapeno peppers and eating with Siete Foods grain-free tortilla chips (the nacho flavor, specifically)!

chicken and pumpkin puree recipes

The word pepita in Spanish means “little seed of squash” and you will often see pepitas used in many dishes at authentic Mexican restaurant. Green mole sauce it also made from pepitas.

This recipe uses a tomatillo salsa sauce and then is topped with homemade pumpkin enchilada sauce. Pumpkin enchilada sauce is super easy to make and goes really well on top of the healthy pumpkin chicken casserole.

how to make pumpkin chicken casserole

Ingredients for Healthy Pumpkin Chicken Casserole

  • Rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken
  • pumpkin puree
  • corn tortillas (for a grain free option, I recommend Siete Foods tortillas)
  • canned tomatillos
  • jalapeño peppers
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend (any other shredded cheese would do)
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro
  • pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • avocado slices (optional but encouraged!)

I recommend corn tortillas over flour in most every case because corn tortillas are just that, corn. At least they should be so make sure you check the label! Flour tortillas often have enriched flour and lots of ingredients. I’m not into that so I stuck with corn tortillas for this recipe!

Corn tortillas are also naturally gluten free (again check the label, because every brand is different!) so you can rest assured if you’re on a gluten free diet or have Celiac. I also used corn tortillas in this recipe for black bean, butternut squash and kale tacos!

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easy-pumpkin-chicken-casserole

Healthy Pumpkin Chicken Casserole

  • Author: Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Healthy pumpkin chicken casserole is the perfect quick, easy and delicious meal for weeknight dinners in the fall. It’s full of flavor and extra nutrition thanks to the pumpkin puree! 


Scale

Ingredients

For the casserole: 

  • 1 can pumpkin puree 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 11 oz. can tomatillos, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups shredded chicken**
  • 1 package corn tortillas 
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 avocado 

For the pumpkin enchilada sauce: 

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. flour (whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and gluten-free flour blends all work!)
  • 1 tbsp. ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. salt, to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9 X 13 in baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin, half of the garlic, 1 tsp of the cumin, and half of the salt, plus the cinnamon.
  3. For the sauce, in a food processor combine the tomatillos, onion, chicken broth, remaining garlic, cumin and salt. Process until smooth. Place chicken in a large bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the sauce.
  4. To assemble spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in prepared baking dish. Add tortillas to cover the sauce  (you may have to tear one up for the corners). Top with half of the pumpkin mixture, half of the chicken mixture, 1/2 cup sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers ( I did two) and top with remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake covered for 20 minutes and then for an additional 15 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melty.
  6. Meanwhile, make the pumpkin enchilada sauce by 
  7. 1. Prepare the pumpkin enchilada sauce by combining flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Get the pumpkin puree measured out, along with the vegetable broth and place near the stove. 
  8.  In a small sauce pan, warm the oil until it’s hot enough for a sprinkle of flour to sizzle on contact. Pour the flour and spice mixture, and whisk for about 1 minute.
  9. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, and then the vegetable broth so that there are no lumps. Raise heat to a medium simmer, continue whisking and then reduce to a low simmer. Continue mixing as you notice the sauce thickening.
  10.  Once the sauce is pretty think (after about 5 minutes), remove from heat and whisk in the vinegar and pepper. Add a little more salt if desired.
  11. Once the casserole is done, top with enchilada sauce and serve with cilantro, jalapeno, pepitas and avocado slices on top.  Store in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for longer.

Notes

**If you’re using rotisserie chicken, use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment to evenly shred the chicken. You just need to run it for a few minutes and it does the trick! 

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"Maggie did a great job of listening to my needs and offering practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions."

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2016-05-03T18:24:44+00:00

Carly

"Maggie did a great job of listening to my needs and offering practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions."
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