Recipe Box, California Lite Cheese Enchiladas

I have been making this recipe for years.  The original recipe is from a church cookbook from Palos Verdes, CA where I grew up.  Some of my favorite recipe inspirations come  from Junior League and church cookbooks… I bet yours do too~

California lite enchiladas

This is a great way to get a cheese enchilada craving handled without a lot of calories~ it looks sinful, but it’s really not!

Lite Cheese Enchiladas

Over the years I have made lots of different versions, and thought you might like this one we had the other night because it’s full of yellow squash,  zucchini and kale

vegetable filling for cheese enchiladas

The reason this version is lighter than most enchiladas is that it gets it’s creaminess from low fat cottage cheese


You can use any combo of vegetables you like, and flour or corn tortillas


First saute the zucchini, yellow squash, corn and green onion


Once that gets going cover the pan for a few minutes to steam the zucchini and squash into softness


I used frozen chopped kale, which I defrosted in the microwave, and added it to the vegetable mix at the end

cottage cheese

Season the cottage cheese with salt and pepper

vegetable filling for cheese enchiladas

Mix in the vegetables


Divide mixture and place on the tortillas. Pour 1/3 of sauce into casserole dish.

Drizzle each tortilla with 1 Tablespoon of sauce, and a light sprinkle of reduced fat Mexican blend cheese


You can layer the vegetables and tortillas if you’d rather but you’ll miss all the fun of rolling them and squeezing them in the dish  😊


At this point you’ll be thinking, “How are the rest of these ever going to fit?”


Just keep rolling and squeezing!  Any stray filling that falls out can be put in the nooks and crannies


Pour remaining sauce overall


Top with cheese.  You’re in charge here, so use as little  👙  or as much  🐷  as you like

I used 2 oz. regular sharp cheddar and 2 oz reduced fat Mexican blend.  That totals out to 1/2 oz of cheese per enchilada. You will still enjoy all the creamy cheesy flavor of traditional cheese enchiladas and reap the nutritional benefits from all the vegetables

cheese enchiladas with veggies

You can add chopped green chiles or jalapenos to the filling to kick up the heat if you like.  The enchilada sauce I used had a medium heat rating, which was plenty of spice for me, so adjust to your own taste

California Lite Cheese Enchiladas

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Servings 8


  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 can 15 oz. red enchilada Sauce or 2 cups homemade enchilada sauce*
  • 1 yellow squash cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 zucchini cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped kale
  • 2 oz. sharp cheddar grated
  • 2 oz. reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 2 cups 2% low fat cottage cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil


  • Drizzle olive oil into a skillet on medium heat and add corn, squash, onions, zucchini, and kale if it’s raw. Saute vegetables 5 minutes, stirring, then cover and let steam for several minutes until squash and zucchini have softened. Stir in frozen defrosted kale.
  • Put cottage cheese into a mixing bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add cooked vegetables.
  • Pour 1/3 of enchilada sauce into an 8″ x 8″ or a 7″x 10″casserole dish. You can use a 9″x 13,” the enchiladas will be more spread out which is fine, or you can increase the recipe a little to make 10 or 12.
  • Lay out tortillas on a large board or clean counter top and divide filling evenly among them placing filling in a line down the center of tortillas. Drizzle with about 1 Tablespoon of sauce each and sprinkle with a little Mexican Blend cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in prepared dish, squeezing to fit. Tuck in any filling that has fallen out around the edges. Pour remaining sauce over all, and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
  • Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake uncovered at 35o for 45-60 minutes until heated through and bubbly. Serves 4-8


*Easy Enchilada Sauce
1 T chili powder
1/4 C A/P flour
2 C water or broth-I used water with 2 tsp Chicken Better Than Bouillon
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano, crushed between fingers
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
Whisk everything together in a saucepan. Stir frequently until it thickens, about 10 minutes and remove from heat. Makes about 2 cups
Keyword cheese enchiladas, lite enchiladas, vegetable enchiladas
Calif lite enchiladas

Note: the filling in the original recipe was simply cottage cheese mixed with chopped green chilies and some Monterey Jack cheese, then covered with red sauce and cheddar.  Very delicious and simple.

You can also add chicken or beef.  So have some fun and create your perfect enchiladas!

Click on the links below to see all my enchilada recipes

Chicken and Vegetable Enchiladas

Secret Chicken Enchiladas

Enchilada Pie with Queso and Avocado Creme

Spanish Enchiladas


Enchiladas are fun to prepare and great do ahead or take along casseroles


I will be joining the fabulous parties and blogs on my side bar and

Memories by the Mile

10 Responses to “Recipe Box, California Lite Cheese Enchiladas”
  1. Mary says:

    Now I’m craving something Mexican for breakfast Jenna! If I save all those calories eating the lite version of your cheese enchiladas, does that mean I can have two margaritas instead of one? 🙂

  2. lulu says:

    One of the things I miss when I’m in Maine is Tex-Mex so you have just whetted my appetite. And you’re right about Junior League cookbooks being a real favorite. The Houston organization has done some real beauties.

  3. Ellen says:

    I have never met an enchilada I didn’t like, so I will definitely try this. I must save your enchilada sauce recipe because I forget to buy the sauce sometimes.

  4. Looks amazing, Jenna! I love church cookbooks and have a little collection.

  5. Emily says:

    This is a great recipe Jenna. I use to make these a lot but with just the two of us I haven’t made them in a while. I like how you are using fresh veggies and keeping it low fat. I will try this, I’m hungry already for these…………

  6. Lynn says:

    Another great way to use up some summer squash-sounds good:@)

  7. JESS44903 says:

    Oh wow…this looks so delicious!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  8. Miz Helen says:

    Great Enchiladas, I will be trying these! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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