Enchilada Pasta Casserole made with pasta, peppers, corn & Pico de Gallo, topped with an incredible creamy cilantro lime sauce & baked with cheese! This pasta casserole is an amazing twist on classic enchiladas!
Vegetarian enchilada casserole is a delicious and easy-to-prepare dish that combines the flavors of traditional enchiladas with the comforting texture of pasta. This enchilada casserole recipe is a great option for busy weeknights or for entertaining guests, as it can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving.
Enchilada Pasta Casserole
Enchilada Pasta Casserole is a dish that combines the flavors of enchiladas with the comfort of pasta. It is a popular dish in Mexican-American cuisine and has been enjoyed for many years. The dish typically consists of pasta, ground beef, enchilada sauce, cheese, and various spices. Enchilada Pasta Casserole is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual tastes. Our version is a vegetarian option, but you can easily add meat if desired.
Enchilada Pasta Casserole has become a staple in our households and we often serve it at big family gatherings. It is a hearty and satisfying dish that can feed a crowd and it always satisfying!
Why You Will Love This Pasta Casserole Recipe
- Flavorful: This casserole is packed with bold and spicy flavors that will leave you craving for more. The combination of creamy sauce, pasta, corn, and cheese creates a mouth-watering dish that will impress your family and guests.
- Versatile: You can customize this recipe to suit your taste preferences. You can add in ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, or even black beans to keep it vegetarian. You can also add more vegetables like mushrooms, squash or zucchini to make it healthier.
- Crowd-Pleaser: This casserole is a hit with both kids and adults. It’s a great dish to bring to potlucks, parties, or family gatherings. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers and feed a crowd without breaking the bank.
Ingredients for Enchilada Casserole
Pasta: For the base of this dish, you will need 1lb of cellentani pasta, cooked Al dente and drained.
Bell peppers: For great fresh flavor, use 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced or diced.
Corn: Add in one 7-oz can of Mexicorn or regular corn kernels, drained.
Pico de Gallo: Using 1 cup of Pico de Gallo adds a wonderful level of taste to this dish that you don’t want to skip.
Cotija cheese: Topping this whole dish with 1 ½ cups of crumbled cotija cheese is the perfect, slightly salty, addition to this casserole dish.
Creamy poblano cilantro lime sauce
Poblano peppers: Use 2 large poblano peppers to give this sauce a nice kick of flavor and heat.
Onion: Adding 1 medium white onion, cut into large chunks and roasted, gives this sauce an amazing depth of flavor.
Garlic: For a great raw, nutty taste, use 4 garlic cloves, peeled.
Cilantro: You need ¾ cups of fresh cilantro to give the sauce a blast of fresh flavor.
Cream cheese: Add in 6-oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature, to make this sauce perfectly creamy and delicious.
Heavy cream: You also will want to add in ¼ cup of heavy cream for a thick consistency. If the sauce ends up being a bit too thick, add in another 1-2 TBSP to thin it out a little.
Sour cream: Use ¼ cup of sour cream for even more amazing texture.
Jalapeño: Add a bit of spice by using 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped.
Lime juice: For a bit of citrus flavor, use the juice of 1 lime.
Salt: Balance all the great flavors in this sauce by adding in 1 tsp of kosher salt.
Cumin: Kick this sauce a bit more by using 1 tsp of ground cumin.
Mexican oregano: Add in 1 tsp of Mexican oregano, or regular Oregano if that is what you have on hand.
Pepper: Last but not least, use 1 tsp of ground black pepper to round out all the amazing flavors in this sauce.
Step by step on how to make Enchilada Pasta Casserole
Begin by preheating the broiler on high.
Chop the onions into large chunks and transfer to a baking sheet.
Next, put the poblano peppers on the baking sheet with the onions and place under the preheated broiler for 5 minutes.
While the peppers are cooking, get 4 cups of salted water boiling. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta (Al dente style) according to the package instructions. When done, drain, transfer back to the pot, and set it aside.
Once the peppers are cooked, remove them from the oven, and place them and the onions into a sealed ziplocked bag for 5 minutes.
Then change the oven setting to preheat it to 375°F and grease a separate 9×13 baking dish.
After that, grab the bell peppers, wash them, and remove the seeds, continue to slice them thinly and set them aside.
Once the peppers have cooled, peel the charred skin off and add the peppers to a food processor or blender with the broiled onions, and all the remaining sauce ingredients. Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Grab the pot of pasta and stir in the sliced bell peppers, corn and Pico de Gallo, then spread the mixture into your 9×13 baking dish.
Proceed to pour the prepared sauce over the pasta and stir until well mixed.
Top the whole dish with the crumbled cotija cheese.
Place the pasta into the preheated oven, on the center rack, and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Be sure to allow the casserole to cool in the baking dish for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. Garnish with fresh cilantro, serve and enjoy!
Enchilada Pasta Casserole
- 1 lb cellentani pasta cooked and drained
- 2 bell peppers thinly sliced or diced
- 7 oz mexicorn or regular corn kernels drained
- 1 cup pico de Gallo
- 1 ½ cups crumbled cotija cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
Creamy poblano cilantro lime sauce
- 2 large poblano peppers
- 1 medium white onion cut into large chunks
- 4 garlic cloves peeled
- ¾ cup fresh cilantro
- 6 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano or regular Oregano
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Prep: Preheat the broiler on high. Chop the onions into large chunks and transfer to a baking sheet. Place poblano peppers on the baking sheet as well and cook under the broiler for 5 minutes.
- While the peppers are cooking, get 4 cups of salted water boiling. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta (Al dente style) according to the package instructions. When done, drain, transfer back to the pot, and set it aside.
- When the peppers are cooked, remove them from the oven, and place them and the onions into a sealed ziplocked bag for 5 minutes.
- Change the oven setting to preheat it to 375°F and grease a separate 9×13 baking dish.
- Grab the bell peppers, wash them, and remove the seeds, continue to slice them thinly and set them aside.
- Assemble: Peel the poblanos charred skin off and add to a food processor or blender with the broiled onions, and remaining sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- In the pot of pasta and stir in the sliced bell peppers, corn and Pico de Gallo, then spread the mixture into your 9×13 baking dish.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir until well mixed. Top the pasta with the crumbled cotija cheese.
- Bake: Place into the oven on the center rack and bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow pasta to cool in the baking dish for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro, enjoy!
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Variations of Enchilada Casserole
- Spicier: For those who like it hot, add more chili powder or use a spicier salsa. You can also add diced jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
- Creamier: To make the dish creamier, add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to the mixture. You can also add more cheese or use a creamier cheese like Monterey Jack or queso fresco.
- Gluten-free: To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and make sure all other ingredients are also gluten-free.
- Low-carb: For a low-carb option, substitute the pasta with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Meatier: For those who want protein, add cooked chicken or turkey to the mixture. You can also use ground pork or sausage instead of beef.
- Cheesier: For those who love cheese, add more shredded cheese on top of the casserole before baking. You can also mix in different types of cheese such as cheddar or pepper jack.
How to store leftover Enchilada Casserole
Once the casserole has cooled down, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Store in an airtight container to ensure freshness as long as possible. When reheating, put in the microwave for 1-2 minutes depending on the amount you are heating.
Can I Freeze homemade Enchilada Casserole?
When freezing enchilada pasta casserole, it’s important to properly store it to maintain its quality. Here are some tips to help ensure your frozen casserole stays fresh:
- Allow the casserole to cool completely before freezing.
- Use a freezer-safe container or wrap the casserole tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
- Label the container with the date and contents.
- Freeze for up to three months.
When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen enchilada pasta casserole, there are a few ways to reheat it:
- Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight, then bake it in the oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
- If you’re short on time, you can reheat the frozen casserole in the microwave. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
Try more of our favorite casserole recipes here:
- Southwest Tater Tot Casserole
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Scalloped Corn Casserole
- Cheesy Potato Casserole
- Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
- Cheesy Wild Rice Casserole
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Taco Cornbread Casserole
- Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
- Pizza Pasta Casserole
- Baked Chicken Parmesan Casserole
- Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Enchilada Pasta Casserole a versatile and satisfying meal that is sure to please any crowd. This pasta casserole is a great option for busy weeknights or for entertaining guests, as it can be prepared in advance and reheated before serving.