Yes, this flavorful ground lamb recipe can be part of your healthy diet! Quick Ground Lamb Casserole (Enchilada Style) layers tortillas with nutrition-rich ground lamb, salsa verde, spinach, and avocado in a super tasty casserole perfect for weeknight suppers!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Healthy Living
For years my tagline was "healthy global," but I realized that left me in a vulnerable spot: I had to defend any recipes that didn't qualify. 😯 My indulgent Mexican Chocolate Trifle with Orange Curd and Pomegranate Pudding immediately comes to mind. Cocktails were a little sketchy as well!
At 60 years of age, I am able to trek for days at high elevation in the Peruvian Andes. Even with a myriad of health issues (I have autoimmune disorder), physical fitness and maintaining a healthy weight has never been a problem for me personally. I feel my approach has merit, and I share that approach with my readers through Beyond Mere Sustenance.
How Do I Stay Fit and Healthy?
- emphasis on whole foods
- little or no processed foods
- lean proteins
- infrequent red meat
- healthy fats (olive oil, coconut, etc.)
- lots of fresh produce
- complex fiber-rich carbs
- regular exercise
- rarely eat out
- make everything from scratch
This list is not all-inclusive, and probably over-simplified. "Diets" cannot be sustained, and rarely work. We practice "all things in moderation" at Andersen casa... we do enjoy occasional desserts, wine, beer, and cocktails (again in moderation), occasional but infrequent red meat, fried foods, and processed grains.
🐑Is Ground Lamb Healthy?
Yes and no. Lamb is classified as "red meat," but red meat contains vital nutrients that can be difficult to get from other sources. It is a rich source of iron, and mostly heme iron that is absorbed more efficiently than plant-based iron. Lamb contains a good amount of vitamin B12, important for brain function and blood formation. A lack of either iron or B12 may result in anemia.
While the fat content is somewhat high (17-21% depending on how much is cut away), and much of that is "saturated," studies are mixed on whether the fat is linked to heart disease and stroke or not.
All things in moderation. Our bodies need iron, B12, and fats to function optimally. I would submit that eating lamb occasionally can be part of your healthy diet. Yay! For more, see Lamb 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects.
In conclusion, my Quick Ground Lamb Casserole (Enchilada Style) can be part of your healthyish meal plan. I added a generous cup full of fresh spinach to the green sauce. The "macros" per serving with 6 servings come in at 430 calories, 31 grams of protein, and it's gluten free!
🥘About This Quick Ground Lamb Casserole
Ground meat (aka mince) is by definition "quick." While a lamb roast or cubed lamb benefits from slow cooking methods, it is not necessary with ground lamb.
For people that turn up their noses at a lamb chop or a leg of lamb, I would suggest trying ground lamb in this couscous, these tacos or this chili. The gaminess is greatly reduced (I like gaminess okay?), and its bold flavors pair well with spices.
Casseroles by definition are cooked somewhat slowly in an oven - as opposed to high heat searing or roasting. A casserole that is baked 25 minutes needs to have the ingredients at least partly broken down and cooked.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- lean ground lamb
- salsa verde or good quality salsa verde
- fresh spinach
- grated cheddar cheese (see notes)
- corn tortillas
- cilantro (garnish)
- cotija (garnish)
Step 1: Brown the ground lamb. While the lamb is cooking, prep the sauce.
Step 2: Make the Sauce. Combine salsa verde, avocado, and spinach leaves in the bowl of a large food processor. Purée until smooth.
Step 3: Arrange components to assemble the casserole: Tortillas, salsa verde mixture, cooked ground lamb, cheese, scallions.
Step 4: Layer the casserole. Layer sauce, tortillas, more sauce, ground lamb, cheese, and scallions.
Repeat step 4, ending with a thin layer of sauce and a little bit of cheese. Place casserole in a 375 degree oven. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions, and crumbled cotija.
💭 Tips and FAQ
- I recommend corn tortillas. They have more flavor and better texture, and hold together better.
- My preference is to use my Roasted Tomatillo and Hatch Chile Salsa recipe as I often make a large batch and have some in the refrigerator or freezer. There are many excellent commercial green salsas like this one that provide excellent flavor!
- Use a potato masher to break up the meat.
- Make the sauce and brown the lamb ahead if that's helpful, but the tortillas will absorb the sauce. For this reason, I would not recommend making more than a couple of hours ahead.
- I like my 12" cast iron skillet for this, but any similarly sized casserole dish will be fine. The cast iron skillet can be wiped out, sprayed with cooking spray and used for the casserole. Less clean up!
- Leftovers are great, and you can freeze it, but keep in mind the texture will be softer than when it is freshly made.
Have I convinced you yet to give my Quick Ground Lamb Casserole (Enchilada Style) a try? The bold flavors are sure to have you asking for more! Remember: ALL. THINGS. IN. MODERATION. 😊 Don't miss my ground lamb recipes page if you love lamb!
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- 2 cups salsa verde (see notes)
- 1 large (or 2 small) avocados
- 1 cup spinach leaves, packed
- ½ teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper
- 8 ounces grated cheese (see notes)
- 3 to 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 dozen corn tortillas
- cilantro (garnish)
- crumbled cotija (garnish)
- scallions (garnish)
- Preheat oven to 375° (350 convection).
- Brown the ground lamb. Over medium-high heat, cook the ground lamb until brown but not dry.
- Make the green sauce by combining the salsa verde, avocado, spinach, salt and pepper in the processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Layout the tortillas, green sauce, ground lamb, cheese, and scallions to assemble the casserole. Spray the casserole (or cast iron skillet) with cooking spray.
- Layer the casserole by starting with a thin layer of sauce and a single layer of tortillas. Follow with half the ground lamb, grated cheese, and scallions.
- Repeat with 1 more layer of lamb, cheese, and scallions. After the third layer of tortillas, spread remaining sauce in a thin layer, and top with cheese.
- Bake about 25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions, and crumbled cotija as desired.
Hate lamb? Try lean ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey!
While homemade salsa verde is awesome (and my preference), commercial brands are fine. I like to use one that includes both tomatillos and green chiles if possible.
I live in a border town, and love the Mexican blend cheese at my local market (cotija, asadero, quesadilla, manchego, muenster, oaxaca). Use your favorite. I love a little crumbled cotija and its salty tang as a garnish, but that's completely optional.
Macronutrients are an approximation from MyFitnessPal.com and for reference only.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Total Fat: 28gCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 32g