You’ll love healthy Mexican lasagna with shredded chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, smoky chipotle salsa, and tender Swiss chard. Corn tortillas replace the noodles so it’s gluten-free, too!
This is such a fun and unique casserole! Kind of like a Mexican fiesta with so many exciting flavors, this lasagna is not your traditional rich, cheese-filled noodle lasagna. Mexican lasagna is hearty and filling but not at all heavy or greasy. Topped with your favorite taco toppings, it’s sure to become a family favorite!
About this healthy Mexican lasagna:
Glance at the ingredient list below and you’ll see why we call it “healthy.” It’s comprised of good-for-you greens, peppers, onions, protein-rich lean chicken, gluten-free corn tortillas, and a fresh salsa. This is a feel-good tasty dinner. Corn tortillas soften and provide structure, taking the place of traditional noodles. The lasagna has just enough melty cheese to add lots of flavor and to pull the layers together.
Like most lasagnas, this recipe will take a bit of time to pull together but the effort is worth it. The lasagna needs about forty minutes in the oven but that’s all hands-off time.
Start by sautéing the chard until it begins to soften. Begin with the stems, along with the onions and peppers since they take a little more time to soften. Add the leaves, and stir and fry for an additional couple of minutes, until they are wilted. Add the chicken and seasoning, and you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.
Basically, you’ll be building the lasagna in three layers, just like traditional lasagna with noodles, but instead of noodles, you’ll be using corn tortillas. The process is described completely in the recipe card: sauce (salsa), tortillas, vegetables/chicken, cheese, and repeat.
Pop the pan in the oven and get ready for a delicious dinner!
And don’t forge the toppings! All the traditional toppings for tacos work well for this lasagna. Make sure you have extra salsa to top it with. Sour cream, guacamole, sliced green onions, chopped onions or tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeño peppers, you name it, it all works beautifully together!
What’s in this recipe?
- Shredded, Cooked Chicken – (make your own or use rotisserie chicken)
- Taco Seasoning – I like to use homemade taco seasoning, but you can buy a blend from the store, too
- Swiss Chard – We love the flavor of swiss chard in this lasagna, but you could also use kale or spinach. Keep in mind spinach won’t take as long to sauté as the chard does.
- Red Onion – Sweet onions or yellow onions would also work in this recipe.
- Bell Pepper – Any color of sweet bell pepper will work!
- Corn Tortillas – You could also use flour tortillas (the recipe will no longer be gluten-free), but we prefer the way corn tortillas soften and also find the taste to be superior in this recipe.
- Monterey Jack Cheese – A staple in many southwestern dishes, it’s a great melting cheese and doesn’t overpower the recipe with its flavor. If you want to try a different cheese, we suggest cheddar or a Mexican blend.
- Chipotle Salsa – We love the smoky flavor of homemade chipotle salsa, but any kind of jarred or homemade salsa will work in this recipe. For something different, try it with salsa verde!
- Garnishes of your Choice – Arguably one of the best parts of any recipe! Try cilantro, tomato, jalapeño, avocado, sour cream, or additional salsa.
How to make this casserole your own:
- Make it vegetarian: Simply omit the chicken. You could add additional chard, onions, or peppers to replace it, or add sautéed sliced mushrooms. Adding a can of black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed well, will up the protein.
- Can’t find Swiss chard? This recipe will work with spinach, collard, kale, mustard, or beet greens.
- Use cheddar, Mexican blend, or another type of cheese instead of Monterey Jack.
- Prefer lasagna with noodles instead of corn tortillas? You might like this easy skillet lasagna!
Storage and Reheating Tips
This southwestern casserole is great the next day, too. Refrigerate leftovers, tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave.
Healthy Tex-Mex recipes
Recipes from “south of the border” don’t have to be cheese-laden calorie bombs. Often, they contain very healthy ingredients like corn, black beans, rice, and lots of vegetables. Try:
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans (a basic in Mexican cooking)
- Pico de Gallo : an easy recipe with fresh ingredients
- Salsa Verde, another foundation for fresh healthy cooking
- Healthy Taco Meat with a mixture of ground sirloin, ground turkey, and lots of onions and bell peppers
- Sheet Pan Breakfast Tostadas
- Crispy Sweet Potato Tacos
- Sheet Pan Fajitas : Make them with chicken, steak, or shrimp!
- Southwestern Quinoa Bowl, with chicken
- 12- oz. bunch Swiss chard, 5 cups chopped leaves
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 large bell pepper, sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cooked [shredded chicken]
- 1 tablespoon [taco seasoning]
- 15 5- inch corn tortillas
- 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 1½ cups [chipotle salsa] or bottled salsa
- Additional salsa, sour cream, avocado slices, fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeños
- Remove stems from chard and chop. Coarsely chop Swiss chard greens crosswise (½-inch slices).
- Heat oil In a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chard stems, onion, bell pepper, and salt and cook about 9 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add chard greens.
- Reduce heat to medium low, cover pan, and cook until chard is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and taco seasoning.
- Uncover pan, increase heat to medium-high, cook and stir until the most of the moisture has evaporated.
Preheat oven to 375°F, spray 9 x 13-inch baking pan lightly with cooking spray. and assemble lasagna in the following order:
- Spread a ½ cup salsa in the bottom of the pan. Cover with 5 tortillas, in a single layer, slightly overlapping. Layer on half of the vegetable and chicken mixture. Sprinkle on half of the cheese.
- Cover with another layer of tortillas, spread ½ cup salsa over the tortillas, and then the remaining half of the vegetable and chicken mixture.
- Finish with 5 more tortillas, another ½ cup of salsa, and the remaining cheese.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and serve with desired toppings.
- Make it vegetarian: Simply omit the chicken. You could add additional chard, onions, or peppers to replace it, or add sautéed sliced mushrooms. Or add a can of black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed well, to up the protein.
- Substitute another leafy green for the Swiss card. For spinach, use 10 oz. and cook only 2 minutes. Or use collard, mustard, or beet greens, which will take a little longer to cook, 7-8 minutes.
- Try cheddar, Mexican blend, or another type of cheese instead of Monterey Jack.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.