These grilled chicken quesadillas are made with chicken marinated in vinegar, oil, chiles, garlic, and cilantro plus red onions, and Monterey Jack cheese, and salsa on flour tortillas.
Man cannot live by bread alone, but if we’re talking by bread and cheese alone, and the bread and the cheese take the form of this quesadilla, we may be getting somewhere. Originally published September 3, 2005.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 5 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the paste
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno chile pepper, stem removed
- 1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the grilled chicken quesadillas
- Three (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Four (10-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 cup salsa
- Make the paste
- 1. In a food processor, finely chop the garlic and jalapeno. Add the remaining paste ingredients and process until smooth. In a bowl or a resealable plastic bag, coat the chicken breasts on all sides with the paste, cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
- Make the grilled chicken quesadillas
- 2. Preheat the grill on medium.
- 3. Lightly brush or spray the onion slices with oil. Grill the chicken and onions over direct medium heat turning both the chicken and the onions once, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Do not turn the grill off.
- 4. Remove the chicken and onions from the grill and let cool. Cut the chicken crosswise into slices about 1/8 inch thick and the onions into slices 1/4 inch thick.
- 5. Evenly divvy the chicken, onions, and cheese among half of each tortilla. Fold the empty half of each tortilla over the filling to create a half circle and gently but firmly press down.
- 6. Grill the chicken quesadillas over direct medium heat until the tortillas are well marked and the cheese has melted, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes total. Let the quesadillas cool for a minute or two before cutting them into wedges. Serve the quesadillas warm with the salsa on the side.
Recipe Testers Reviews
We really need to make quesadillas at home more. These grilled chicken quesadillas in particular.
The paste that the chicken marinates in is really amped up with great flavors. The author recommends marinating 3 to 4 hours, but I let it go for 6 because I find my personal preference is for a more pronounced flavor. There is a bit of vinegar in the paste, but it didn’t affect the chicken’s texture. We loved the paste on the chicken (we kept much of it on while grilling rather than scraping it off, and it did not burn).
One of the things I enjoyed most was the slightly charred red onion.
We opted for corn tortillas rather than flour and softened them by placing them between layers of paper towels for better foldability. It worked very well.
We served them with a salsa I made from last year’s tomatoes. The end product was delicious and fun and something we hope to enjoy again very soon.