This chicken quesadilla is one of my all-time favorite pre-Paleo dishes, because as I said in my original post, it’s:
…one of my go-to recipes when I realize too late in the day that I haven’t planned dinner…. I love it because it’s a few simple things I can throw together and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. Also, there’s very little measuring involved.
But I haven’t made it for ages, since going Paleo more than a year ago. (For those unfamiliar, this means no flour — hence, no tortilla — and sometimes, no cheese.)
I’ve tried various Paleo substitutes for real tortillas, but not found any that are super great. If you have a grain-free tortilla you like, feel free to use it. For my quesadilla, I just make a one-egg empty omelette as the wrapper. This makes it super easy, no-carb, and more nutrient-dense than any starchy tortilla. And adds some protein, to boot!
One of the biggest changes eating Paleo has made in my diet is getting me to think about eating more vegetables, and more nutrient-dense ones. My original recipe only included avocado, so to bump up the nutrient factor, I added onion, spinach, and mushrooms — simply because that’s what I had on hand. You could omit any or all of them if you don’t have them, or to make the dish quicker. You could certainly swap out other veggies, too. Zucchini or bell pepper would work nicely.
I’m not listing amounts for the veggies because I just eyeballed how much I’d need to fill up my wrapper. I probably used a tablespoon or two of diced onion, a small handful of spinach, and two or three small mushrooms.
About cheese: include it or not, according to your taste or dietary needs. I included a very light sprinkling of bleu cheese. Cojita, Monterey Jack, or a mild cheddar would work nicely, too.
Paleoified Buffalo chicken quesadilla recipe
Servings: 1 – scale up as needed
a few ounces of already-cooked chicken
optional: chopped onion, spinach, mushrooms and/or cheese of your choice
2 t. butter, ghee, or bacon fat, divided
1 – 2 t. (or more) of your favorite hot sauce
optional: extra hot sauce for drizzling
Prep the cooked chicken. You can use leftover chicken in any form — grilled, roasted, slow-cooker, whatever. Or grab some from the grocery store deli. Tear it apart with your hands; this lets you find and dispose of any parts that are overdone and chewy. It also creates a nice, uneven surface for the sauce to cling to. Or you can use already shredded chicken, if that’s what you have on hand.
Slice or dice the avocado and set aside. If you have some ugly bits of avocado, inside is a nice place to hide them. Save the pretty pieces for the garnish.
Whisk the egg and pour it into a small preheated skillet over med-low heat. Use a non-stick and/or coat it with the oil of your choice. I used melted bacon fat today. Swirl the pan around a bit to get an even layer, then let it set until the egg is mostly cooked through. A little bit of soft-cooked egg on the very top is okay, unless that grosses you out. Slide it off onto a dish and return the pan to the burner.
If you’re making quesadillas for more than one person, make each one-egg wrapper singly. You can use the same pan for the rest of the recipe for up to three servings. More than that, and you might need a larger pan for the next steps.
Add 1 teaspoon of the fat (butter, ghee, or bacon fat) to the pan and saute the onion, spinach, and/or whatever veggies you’re using. When done, gently spread them over one half of the egg.
Sprinkle on cheese at this point, if desired. You can add the avocado inside or on top.
Return the pan to the burner, add the remaining teaspoon of fat to the pan along with the hot sauce, and stir. My favorite flavor is Cholula Chipotle, because I like the smokey flavor, but feel free to use whatever you like. (Yes, I know there’s sugar in Cholula, but it’s such a small element of the recipe, I don’t sweat it.) One teaspoon makes it very mild; add more according to your taste.
Then add the chicken to the pan, stirring and tossing to coat it and warm it through. Add this to the ingredient side of the quesadilla.
Fold the top edge over. If you like, you can garnish it with extra avocado, a drizzle of hot sauce, and/or some black pepper.