Chicken Veggie Quesadillas

Everybody loves a ooey-gooey-cheesey quesadilla, me included. But oh my, those calories add up every so quickly. That why, for everyday quick and healthy meals, there's nothing like making a protein- and veggie-packed quesadilla that's a sure hit with kids and grownups alike.

Chicken Veggie Quesadillas, quick homemade healthy quesadillas with chicken, veggies and cheese. Low carb & Weight Watchers PointsPlus 5.

My drive-through staple was once an inexpensive but very tasty chicken quesadilla from Taco Bell. On hungry days, I’d been known to eat two!

Then I learned that each of those Taco Bell chicken quesadillas consumed two-thirds of a day’s calories. And you know what? I haven’t been back since.

If you or your children frequent fast food places, check the websites for ideas about dishes suitable for diet and lifestyle – and perhaps, like for me, real shocks about favorites.

McDonald’s leads the pack for easy-to-access information. Other sites include Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy's.

Oh – and while you’re looking? Check out Krispy Kreme, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Subway.

ALANNA's TIPS Do use the full two tablespoons of oil to sauté the vegetables. I've tried less but it helps bind the filling for easy spreading and heating. Four cups chopped chicken is roughly equivalent to 3/4 of a 3-pound grocery store rotisserie chicken or four cooked chicken breasts. Stirring the hot vegetables into the chicken mixture will "cook" the tender baby spinach just perfectly. To my taste, the spicy pepper jack cheese is too hot for eating on its own but does add a needed bite to bland tortillas. For still more bite, top each quesadilla with salsa which is virtually calorie-free. We’ve become so accustomed to large portions that for some, half a quesadilla may appear objectionably diet-size. To combat this impression, serve the quesadillas on small plates or with lightly dressed salads thick with filling fresh vegetables.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 12 from 6 cups filling
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach, chopped roughly
  • 4 ounces spicy cheese (such as pepper jack)
  • 6 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 3 teaspoons (or less) vegetable oil

CHICKEN VEGGIE STUFFING Heat a large, deep skillet and add oil. When oil is hot, add onion and celery. Sauté until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic and carrot and sauté another 1 – 2 minutes.

While vegetables are cooking, prep the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add spinach.

Stir in hot vegetables into chicken-spinach mixture (see TIPS). Add cheese and combine well. (If making ahead of time, stop here and refrigerate the chicken mixture.)

QUESADILLAS Arrange 1 cup filling on half of each tortilla, spreading to the edge. Fold tortilla over filling and flatten firmly with your fingers.

Lightly wipe skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat on medium using 1 teaspoon oil, spread evenly, for every two quesadillas. Two at a time, heat quesadillas through until tortillas are lightly browned but still soft. Halve and serve immediately.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 239 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 9g Carb; 4g Fiber; 208mg Sodium; 48mg Cholesterol; 19g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6 & WW PointsPlus 5 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and portion size and by the addition of vegetables for a more healthful filling:tortilla proportion.


(8/07) I frequently check these links to make sure they're active but honestly, the companies routinely break the links. Intentional? You have to wonder. Too many web design people think it's okay to break links, it's not, it's bad business and if a URL does need to change, there are easy-easy techniques to avoid broken links. But really? My own suspicion is that these companies abhor the legislative requirements to post nutrition information and so they make it as hard as can be for consumers to find the use the information. This is what I've found. #YesMySoapBox
(6/12) McDonald's okay. Burger King broken & fixed. Taco Bell broken & fixed. Wendy's broken & fixed. Krispy Kreme broken & fixed. Dominos broken & fixed. Pizza Hut okay. Subway broken & fixed.
(6/15) McDonald's okay. Burger King broken and unfixable since BK no longer provides nutrition info on a single page, only item by item; isn't "that" so easy to make quick comparisons and menu choices? Taco Bell okay. Wendy's URL has changed but there's a convenient redirect, way to go, Wendy's; except wait, there is NO DATA on the redirect page, the hyperlinks don't work. Krispy Kreme link works but no longer contains the promised nutrition information; nutrition info only available product by product, making comparisons nigh-on impossible. Dominos okay. Pizza Hut link broken and fixed. Subway okay.

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

What a delicious find! Gracias. I will have to go and look for GOOD chile powder, though, living in Panama, with everything in español, not sure if ORIGIN is big on most labels ... However, I have a new inspiration for queso blanco, as I have always ignored them (not knowing what to do with it!) Gracias

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna