For a long time, I was that picky eater that just at cheese quesadillas when my family went to Mexican restaurants. My parents would rant and rave about how good the carne asada was and my siblings would fawn over their tacos and burritos. I wasn’t ready to be persuaded that anything could be as good as melted cheese inside a crunchy tortilla shell. Years later, I’ve branched out quite a bit and I’m not as picky of an eater, but I still love a good cheesy quesadilla.
Unfortunately, quesadillas aren’t exactly one of the healthiest choices around. After all, it’s just fatty cheese stuffed inside of carbohydrate shell. There’s not a ton of nutrition there! Luckily, we remedied that with our Barbecue Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas. We made some ingredient choices that skinny up the traditional quesadilla while adding some nutrient-dense ingredients. That means that you don’t have to enjoy this quesadilla as an unhealthy appetizer. You can eat it as a filling (and, fulfilling) lunch or dinner!
Barbecue Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas
We promised you some healthy ingredient choices that would add balanced nutrition to the simple old quesadilla, and we definitely delivered. We start with low-fat cheese, which melts the same way as the full-fat stuff just with significantly less saturated fat. Even though mozzarella isn’t a traditional Mexican cheese, it’s a great choice when you’re trying to cut down the quantity you use. It melts more readily than other cheeses, so you don’t have to use as much!
Then, we swapped in whole-wheat tortillas instead of regular white tortillas. This changes the carbs from simple carbohydrates (which are digested quickly by your body) to complex carbohydrates (which take longer to digest, giving you lasting energy for hours). An easy, healthy switch that doesn’t affect how delicious this quesadilla tastes!
Next up, we added some healthy fats. We know there are plenty of fats in cheese (even the low-fat varieties), but avocado is loaded with monounsaturated fats. This helps fuel your brain while also lowering bad cholesterol. Plus, avocado just generally tastes great and helps keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Finally, we added barbecue chicken. The sauce brings a nice zing of flavor to the dish while the chicken itself is an excellent choice for lean protein. You’ll get a whopping 14 grams of protein from one serving (which is a half of a quesadilla). That helps fuel healthy muscles and make you feel satisfied. That definitely transforms this appetizer into an entree-worthy meal!
Watch this video to see how to make Barbecue Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas.
If you’re looking for another way to make this quesadilla into an entree, we’d definitely recommend something light to round out your meal. We love serving this dish with a nice salad. Fruit salads, like this Mango and Arugula Salad, go especially well with a dish like this. The fruit provides a nice clean finish and balance compared to the rich, flavorful quesadillas.
Barbecue Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas
- 1 large chicken breast, on the bone, with skin (about 10-12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 (6-inch) whole grain tortillas
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add chicken breast and 1/4 cup water to a small casserole pan, cover loosely with foil and cook 45 minutes or until cooked through and juices run clear. Allow chicken to cool until it can be handled, remove skin and discard. Shred chicken with a fork.
- In a mixing bowl, combine shredded chicken and barbecue sauce.
- Place one tortilla on a medium nonstick skillet and turn to medium heat. On one half of the tortilla, sprinkle with 1 heaping tablespoon mozzarella, add 1/6th of chicken barbecue mixture, 1/6th of diced avocado, sprinkle another heaping tablespoon cheese and fold the tortilla over.
- Cook on both sides for about 2 minutes or until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Inspired by The Pretty Bee.
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