Something that bugs me is when people use the word “healthy” to describe anything that addresses a food allergy or restriction. For example, I’ve seen so many recipes for “healthy pizza with cauliflower crust” – I mean, it’s cauliflower! Soooo healthy!!! Yeah, then you read the ingredient list and find out that you use as much cheese as you do cauliflower. Just because it’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. So I try to keep this in mind whenever I label a recipe as “healthy,” because I don’t want to abuse the term. That said, I really do view these quesadillas as healthy, even with the cheese and plain ol’ flour tortilla. Check it.
So the first thing you do is make the chive yogurt dip and set it aside so the flavors can mingle. Super simple:
• 3/4 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
• some chives
• like 2 tsp green Tobasco sauce
• pinch of garlic powder
• pinch of salt
Chop the chives, mix it all together, boom – done.
Now the quesadillas. Here’s what you need:
• Cheese, shredded – I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella
• Large tortillas – use whatever kind you want. I just went with a classic flour tortilla
• 1 full chicken breast, cooked in olive oil with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika
• 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
• 1/2 onion, sliced
• 2 jalapeños, deseeded and sliced
• 1 avocado, scooped out and mashed with juice of 1/2 lime
• 2 ears of corn, grilled then cut from the cob – use frozen corn if that’s all you have
• 1 tomato, diced,
• few leaves of mint, chopped
• few leaves of cilantro, chopped
First, cook the red bell pepper, onion and jalapeños in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt, cumin and paprika. Once that’s done, put it in a bowl and do the same with the rest of your ingredients. Then start assembling like so:
|pardon the poor lighting|
1. Sprinkle just a little cheese on one side of the tortilla
2. Add the sautéd vegetables
3. Add the corn
4. Add the chicken and spread some avocado on the other side of the tortilla
5. Add cilantro and mint on top of the avocado
6. Sprinkle with a little more cheese
6a. Add some tomato on top of the cheese on the non-avocado side (not pictured)
7. Fold the avocado side over on top of all the stuff
8. Cook it. As you can see, I use my George Foreman. Sandwiches and quesadillas are the only things I use my Foreman for – it’s cheaper than a panini press and works great.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Does the sequence really matter?” Yes, and here’s why. Quesadillas that fall apart are awful. What keeps them from falling apart? The cheese. The more ingredients you add to a quesadilla, the more difficult it becomes for the cheese to hold it all together. Therefor, instead of just piling on the cheese, you add a thin layer on the bottom, then a thin layer on top, and this will help everything stick together while keeping the cheese calories low. This sequence also makes it easier to deal with the avocado and tomato. That may sound strange, but just trust me.
Hot off the Foreman. And another, sliced up and served with the chive yogurt:
And there she is. This thing is packed to the brim with healthy stuff, and we keep it all together with minimal cheese. For anyone skeptical about the chive yogurt, you could swap the yogurt for sour cream, but I would really encourage you to try the yogurt first. We use yogurt in place of sour cream for almost all uncooked uses now. You’ll be surprised how much you like it.
So what would you put in your quesadilla? Anything you would add? Anything you would take out? Let’s toss out some ideas for what we can quesadilla-ize next! Cheers, all.