When I left sunny Southern California for college in the Pacific Northwest, the dish I missed the most was my mom’s chicken enchiladas.
It was home-cooked comfort food at its finest.
I still want to eat chicken enchiladas. But I’ve found a way to speed up the process so I don’t have to wait until the weekend to make them. And I’ve also tweaked the recipe to make it a bit healthier so I can enjoy it more often!
In this revamped recipe, I add sautéed vegetables, ground chicken, beans, corn, fire-roasted tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and Mexican spices to a slow cooker. And then I just walk away!
Three hours later, dinner is ready and all I have to do is spoon into bowls, top with cheese, green onions, and cilantro, and serve.
Now, before you start thinking this slow-cooked chicken and farro recipe doesn’t really make enchiladas, hear me out.
The word enchilada means “seasoned with chile” and when the farro slow-cooks with fire-roasted tomatoes in enchilada sauce, it absorbs all of the flavors and tastes just like corn tortillas that have been dipped in sauce and baked.
You’ll be glad that this recipe makes 10 hearty servings! It’s so good, you might want to eat the leftovers for breakfast. It tastes amazing topped with a sunny-side-up egg.
Pro tip: In a rush? Make this recipe in an Instant Pot — check out the instructions in the Recipe Notes!
Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
This slow cooker version of Chicken Enchiladas makes enough servings to feed a family without much work!
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 medium jalapenos seeded and deveined, finely chopped
- 1 lb. raw ground chicken breast
- 1½ cups dry farro rinsed
- 1 (15-oz.) can black beans rinsed, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 (15-oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or diced tomatoes) no salt added
- 1 cup water
- 1 (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper to taste; optional
- 1 cup shredded jack, cheddar, or Mexican blend cheese
- 3 medium green onions chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
Add garlic and jalapenos; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until jalapenos are soft.
Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Place chicken mixture, farro, beans, corn, tomatoes, water, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and coriander in a 3-quart slow cooker; mix well and cover. Cook on high for 3 hours, or until liquid has been absorbed, and farro is tender.
Remove lid and stir mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add cheese; mix well. Cover until cheese has melted.
Top with green onions and cilantro; serve.
To make this recipe in an Instant Pot (programmable pressure cooker), follow these instructions:
- Turn 6-quart Instant Pot to high sauté setting.
- Heat oil to hot.
- Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
- Add garlic and jalapeños; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
- Add 1 cup water, chicken, farro, beans, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt (if desired), and pepper (if desired). Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for locking lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 12 minutes.
- Follow manufacturer’s guide for natural release, and wait until cycle is complete. Carefully unlock and remove lid, taking care that there is no remaining steam.
- Add thawed corn and cheese; mix well. Cover and wait for cheese to melt, approximately 5 minutes.
- Evenly top each serving with green onions and cilantro; serve immediately.
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Photos by Kirsten Morningstar