Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas

Call it a mental Passover block or some subliminal knowledge that tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese Day, but out of the blue today I got a hankering for a good grilled cheese sandwich. Just my luck! Unfortunately, the closest I’m going to get to chowing down on a good sandwich of any kind between now and Saturday is telling you about this cheesy Tandoori chicken quesadilla that I made just a few weeks ago.

This meal actually began as grilled tandoori chicken, which was easy and quick to make. It was…nice. Not at all spicy as I had imagined, though I did admittedly play with the spices slightly to better accommodate what I had in stock. Still, it was enjoyable, and it worked really well with the sautéed spinach with garlic chips that I made as a side. I only halved the spinach recipe and ate the whole thing, meaning I ate a full 2 cloves of garlic – and while the spinach wasn’t too much for me, the garlic was. So if you’re a veggie lover and think you’ll eat a hefty serving of this, consider reducing the amount of garlic (that’s probably going to be the first and last time you’ll ever hear me say that). The only other thing to say about that spinach recipe is to really stick to the 1 minute or less cooking time – spinach is very delicate, and it continues to cook even after you remove it from the pan, so flash-cooking is really the best way to get the texture right.

The next day, I used the leftover tandoori chicken in an Indian-inspired quesadilla, and that’s where the recipe really stole my heart. Naturally, I overstuffed my quesadilla, insisting on only using 1 tortilla but keeping the same amount of filling, which means that my sandwich was a little messy to eat. If that’s a turn off but you, like me, would prefer to just use a single tortilla, consider reducing the chicken by just a little bit. However you choose to navigate the tortilla-filling conundrum, this is a delicious “sandwich.” I personally didn’t add any toppings, but think that it’d be even better with them! You could go the traditional Mexican route with salsa, sour cream/greek yogurt, avocado, etc.; or – and I think this sounds incredible – you could keep with the Indian flavors and top it with some plain greek yogurt and fruity chutney.


Grilled Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas, adapted from Closet Cooking
Yield: 1 serving

The Ingredients
¼ + ⅛ small onion, divided
2 tablespoons (nonfat)plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¾ teaspoon grated garlic
¾ teaspoon grated ginger
¾ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
⅛ teaspoon chili powder
4 ounces chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced
2-4 tablespoons smoked cheddar cheese
¼ cup tightly packed spinach
1 whole grain tortilla wrap

The Method
Grate ⅛ onion and slice the remaining ¼. Set the slices aside. Place the grated onion, greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, garam masala, paprika, coriander, and chili powder in a large Ziploc bag and seal. Mix together well, then re-open the bag and add in the chicken. Seal again and shake/mix so that the chicken pieces are well coated. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the bag and gently shake off excess marinade. Add the chicken pieces to the hot pan and cook, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat and set the chicken aside to cool.

Add the oil, bell peppers, and reserved onion slices to a sauté pan and cook over medium heat until softened, 5-7 minutes. While the vegetables cook, shred the chicken and measure 3-4 tablespoons out for the quesadilla filling (it should be close to all of it).

Remove the vegetables from the pan and add the quesadilla. Sprinkle half of the tortilla with half of the cheese and top with the vegetables, chicken, and spinach. Finish with the remaining cheese and fold the tortilla over onto itself. Cook until the cheese has melted and the tortilla has turned a golden brown, flipping halfway to give both sides of the quesadilla time to cook.


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