Quick Ground Lamb Casserole (Enchilada Style)

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!

Quick ground lamb enchilada casserole with a zesty salsa verde avocado spinach filling layered with corn tortillas and Mexican cheese in a cast iron skillet.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About 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
  • #meatlessMonday
  • 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

🐑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 lamb 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.

Quick ground lamb enchilada casserole with a zesty salsa verde avocado spinach filling layered with corn tortillas and Mexican cheese in a cast iron skillet.

📋 Ingredients Notes

  • ground lamb – I look for lean ground lamb. No, it isn’t usually labeled, but I know white flecks are fat. I want to see a lot more red than white!
  • salsa – I love my homemade salsa verde when I have it, but you can use your favorite good quality salsa verde.
  • avocado
  • fresh spinach
  • cheese – 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.s)
  • scallions
  • tortillas – I much prefer corn tortillas. The corn flavor and texture adds a lot IMHO. They are also lower in calories. You can use flour if you prefer.
  • garnishes – I use cilantro cilantro and crumbled cotija.
Ingredients for the lamb casserole: Cooked ground lamb, salsa verde, avocado, spinach, tortillas, cheese.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

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.

Prep photos of ingredients in the food processor for the green enchilada sauce.
Photo collage of the ingredients and assembly of the quick ground lamb casserole.

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

  • 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!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

Quick ground lamb enchilada casserole with a zesty salsa verde avocado spinach filling layered with corn tortillas and Mexican cheese in a cast iron skillet.

Quick Ground Lamb Casserole (Enchilada Style)

Ground lamb layered with a creamy salsa verde and avocado sauce, tortillas, and cheese in a quick and healthyish casserole.!
4.38 from 8 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 6 servings
Calories 581 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 581kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 28g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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8 Comments

  1. Ok, my computer isn’t letting me give it 5 stars for some reason, so we’ll pretend they’re like Michelin stars and the highest possible score is four! Because this recipe is SO GOOD. We harvested one of our lambs a week or two before the winter solstice, and this recipe inspired me to do a red sauce lamb enchilada casserole from what I had on hand; yesterday I finally managed to get to the store and get ingredients for the green sauce. Both casseroles were absolutely killer!!! I used a mozzarella and cheddar blend for the red sauce one, and mozzarella in the green one with cotija for the cheese on top. It’s going in my recipe box as a family favorite. Great work!

    1. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed this enchilada casserole Michaela! Thanks for taking time to provide feedback… BTW, I was able to add the 5th star! I don’t do that, but since you tried to leave 5, it’s cool?

  2. Prepared the dish as instructed. Easy, fast, but not a dish I’d prepare again. It was flat tasting and didn’t have much personality. Disappointed that the recipe didn’t include nutritional info.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t care for the recipe Bo. It is difficult for me to imagine a “flat tasting” dish if you use 2 cups of good quality salsa verde. Others have not had this problem, but I don’t know what you used. It is the major component of the sauce. The recipe includes macronutrients at the bottom of the recipe card – calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These are approximations and for reference only. There is no way to get precise nutritional info when different brands are used to make the recipe. I hope that when you like a recipe you take the time to respond…

  3. This was soooo good! I used ground turkey because that’s what I had on hand. I also added a spritz of lime juice when I served it for a little acid. A keeper!

  4. Wow, does this sound fabulous! I would make this as a side for Thanksgiving! Actually I’ve done a lot of Southwestern-inspired Thanksgiving meals – they’re just so much fun. Sweet potato enchiladas with tomatillo sauce… blue corn and chorizo stuffing…. Sorry, rambling. Such great food memories!

    1. I love rambling about food memories! I, too, have done a lot of Southwest-inspired Thanksgiving dishes, and they’re among my favorites… Thanks for taking time to comment!