A healthy (and fun) twist on a Cinco de Mayo favorite, this Mexican-inspired dish is the perfect low-carb, gluten free food to whip up for your fiesta!
I LOVE chicken enchiladas, but have been looking for a way to cut out some of the carbs that comes along with them. With warmer weather here to stay (hopefully), that means farmers markets are loaded with fresh summer veggies. Browsing the various stands and vendors inspired me to give this a try. I was a bit skeptical about replacing yummy tortilla shells with zucchini, but boy am I glad I did – these are delicious and so flavorful!
A few tips: First, you can use a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and pull that apart (you won’t believe how tender the meat is). Second, if you are in a rush, you can always buy enchilada sauce rather than make your own. Third, the recipe calls for green zucchini, but yellow squash also will work well. Feel free to get creative with your veggie selection – I am thinking perhaps giving eggplant a try next time.
For the enchilada sauce:
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1-2 tbsp. adobo sauce, depending on how spicy you want it
• 2-3 chipotle chilis (depending on how spicy you want it)
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• ½ tsp. chili powder
• ½ tsp. cumin
• 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
• Salt & pepper to task
For the zucchini boats:
• 4 medium to large fresh whole zucchini
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• ½ cup yellow onions, chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1 bell pepper, diced
• ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
• 1 ½ – 2 cups chicken breast, shredded
• 1 tsp. cumin
• ½ tsp. dried oregano
• ½ tsp. chili powder
• 4 tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 tsp. tomato paste
• Salt & pepper to taste
For the topping:
• 1 cup 2% or reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, shredded
• ¼ cup scallions, chopped
• Cilantro to garnish
For the enchilada sauce: In a medium saucepan, begin sautéing the garlic over medium heat. Add the chipotle chilis, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, and salt & pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and set it aside until ready to use.
For the zucchini boats: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the whole zucchinis lengthwise. Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out the flesh inside the zucchinis, leaving about ¼” thick. Chop up the scooped out zucchini and set aside.
Boil zucchini halves in water for about 1 minute and then remove. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Continue to cook over medium to low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions become soft and translucent.
Add the chopped zucchini to the saucepan mixture and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, chicken broth, and tomato paste, and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Once zucchini is tender, mix in the shredded chicken and cook for 2-3 additional minutes.
Spoon about ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. Place zucchini halves in the dish, with the hollowed side facing up. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in each half, pressing firmly as you fill.
Top each “boat” with 2 tbsp. of enchilada sauce (more if you have extra left over), and a handful of the shredded cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30-32 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove foil and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden brown on top. Top with scallions and cilantro for garnish. If desired, serve with light sour cream. Enjoy! 🙂
Alison Schurick , Fabletics Master