Enchiladas Verdes – Lightened Up Green Enchiladas with Shredded Pork and Spinach

Enchiladas with green sauce are my absolute favorite thing to order at our local Mexican restaurant. That is, until I looked up the nutrition facts, SHEESH. Those things are not nice to the waistline. I suppose the mountain of cheese should have been an indicator, but me and cheese go way back, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. How a small enchilada can have a 4 digit calorie count, I have no idea, but that cheesy SOB single handedly undid 2 days of gym time.

This recipe is a first attempt to make a diet friendly enchilada that doesn’t forfeit cheese. I will never forsake the cheese! Instead, I made a tangy bechamel sauce with skim milk, and skim jack cheese. It was delicious, and pretty darn hard not to eat it straight out the pan. I also steamed (in the microwave) the tortillas to make them pliable instead of the traditional method of lightly frying. The enchiladas were filled with left-over carnitas (recipe here), spinach, and cheese sauce.

Nutrition Facts:

Using the béchamel sauce here instead of the shredded cheese was a huge factor in lightening up this recipe. The bechamel (if you use the entire batch) works out to be 98 calories and 8 grams of fat for 2 enchiladas. An equal amount of shredded cheese is 220 calories and 18 grams of fat. Less than half the calories, and fat. Hip hip hooray!

Serving size: 2 enchiladas, recipe serves 4 (sour cream not included)

Calories: 300 – Carbs: 26 – Fat: 13g – Protein: 24g – Sugar: 4g – Fiber: 4g

Two enchiladas verdes at a Mexican restaraunt could set you back upwards  of 1000 calories.

I made a full pan of these babies hoping for some leftovers, but husband ate them all. I suppose there is no better testament to how good these were.

My enchiladas were filled with spinach, leftover carnitas, and topped with homemade salsa verde (recipe here) because it’s what I had on hand. You can easily substitute for jarred sauce, and leftover chicken to save some time. Just be sure to add some spice! Leftover chicken can head south of the border when some chiles, cumin, and onion are introduced. Just chop it up and quickly warm in a pan with the added ingredients.


  • 8 corn tortillas 6″ size (I used fiber and flax corn tortillas)
  • 8 ounces warmed carnitas, or spicy shredded chicken (1 ounce of meat per enchilada)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup homemade salsa verde (recipe here) or store bought green enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup béchamel sauce
  • 2 cups raw fresh spinach
  • sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro for serving

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup skim jack cheese (shredded)
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO or butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon musturd
  • 3/4 cup skim milk (warmed but not hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions for béchamel sauce:

  • Add EVOO or butter to a small sauce pan and heat til melted on medium heat
  • Add flour to pan and stir until combined and the roux takes on a golden yellow color (about 1 minute) do not over cook the roux or the sauce will be bitter
  • Remove pan from heat, and slowly whisk in the warm milk making sure there are no lumps. I like to remove the pan from the heat to slow the thickening process here so that lumps can be avoided.
  • Return pan to low heat and slowly add in the shredded cheese, whisking constantly. You want to keep the sauce always moving
  • Remove sauce from heat and add in mustard and salt. Whisk again.

Enchiladas Assembly:

  • Warm tortillas in the microwave by covering with a damp paper towel or cloth and heating for 1 minute.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the green sauce to the bottom of the pan, spreading to coat
  • Take one tortilla and lay it flat in the dish to dampen the back side
  • Fill with a spoonful of béchamel, pork, and spinach
  • Roll in the dish seam side down and repeat process until you have 8 enchiladas
  • Top with remaining  béchamel, and green sauce
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving
  • Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro



8 thoughts on “Enchiladas Verdes – Lightened Up Green Enchiladas with Shredded Pork and Spinach

  1. These were GREAT! I used less meat (leftover carnitas), added brown rice inside, and some red salsa on top and I was stuffed after eating only one. I love the béchamel sauce alternative – genius idea! I was always so turned off by the amount of cheese most recipes called for. You’re a lifesaver!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Yay! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Love the idea of brown rice inside, even more goodness to soak in salsa and bechamel.

      Thanks so much for coming back with recipe feedback! It’s always awesome to hear from readers.


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