This cilantro chicken quesadilla is the latest in my healthy undercover veggie series because it gets spinach haters to eat like Pop-eye. And you don’t have to strong-hold the recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free… just switch out a few simple ingredients so that everyone may enjoy it. This makes it the perfecto appetizer for a fabuloso Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. It’s one of my favorite delicioso lunches because it’s so quick and easy to make. So let this recipe send you to Tex-Mex heaven too… guilt free!
Ingredients (for each quesadilla)
- 2 brown rice tortillas (or any variety of wrap you like)
- a few ounces gourmet vegan soy-free cheddar shreds (this kind doesn’t have canola, soy, or milk casein protein… but try any variety of cheese you like)
- ½ sliced baked chicken breast (see my sautéed greens with chicken recipe for instructions, or use any ground meat)
- 1 ounce thawed frozen spinach (or use less fresh spinach)
- ⅛ of a diced onion (or use green onion, leeks, dried onion…)
- a few sprigs of fresh cilantro (or dried, to sprinkle with the onion or top as garnish)
- optional spices: sea salt, ground peppercorns, garlic powder (to sprinkle inside the quesadilla)
- ½ diced tomato (or salsa to top the finished quesadilla with)
- optional: vegan unsweetened yogurt or sour cream topping
- optional: guacamole topping (try my spicy recipe that’s free of red pepper here)
First gather all the ingredients then wash and chop the veggies. (I’ve used frozen spinach here because it’s easy to keep on hand for impromptu meals, being frozen means it’s retained all of its nutrients, more quantity may be added than if using fresh, and it doesn’t need to be washed and dried before cooking. Microwave it if you like, but definitely chop it into smaller bits.)
Lightly spray a skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. (Here I’ve used a ceramic variety, but the non-stick types work well.) Line it with your first layer of tortilla, and then sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over it.
Layer the chopped spinach over the cheese. Then dust it with spices according to your preferences.
Scatter the diced onion across the spinach layer. Add cilantro if not using it as garnish… or do both!
Then distribute the chicken over the onion. (Think about cooking extra chicken to slice and freeze for easy last minute lunches like this one.)
Add the remainder of the cheese. (An even layer acts like a glue for the tortilla.)
Top with the last tortilla and press it down with a large spatula as it cooks through. (Using a cast iron press is another option.) When the quesadilla has heated thoroughly enough to stick together, flip it over quickly with a large spatula. This side won’t take as long to cook… it will be done when it has browned nicely.
Transfer the finished quesadilla to a cutting plate and slice into equal triangles like a pizza. Serve it in the round or stacked in a pretty arrangement like this.
Offer bowls of toppings like guacamole, yogurt, sour cream, salsa, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro… or add dollops and sprinkles to each slice.
I like to smother flavor toppings onto each triangle then grind fresh peppercorns over the top… and the cilantro is not only a pretty garnish but adds a distinct burst of flavor.
Keep a bunch of these warm in a low temp oven to serve all at once for your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta… or just make them for yourself as mouthwatering meal that only seems indulgent!
P.S. Holy guacamole! I’ve been seeing a new commercial that erringly pronounces the G in that green goodness over and over and over. If any of you out there are now wondering which way is right way to say it… think Fozzie Bear and begin the word with “wocca”. “Muchas gracias amigos!” on behalf of my Texan ears. 🙂
P.P.S. And if you crave more Tex-Mex… try my “Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” & Spicy Nachos Compuesto (Dairy, Corn, Red Pepper, & Gluten-Free) Easy Appetizer for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.