Cajun-inspired steak quesadillas are a classic Tex-Mex dish that nearly everybody will eat. Sweet and spicy steak, sautéed peppers and onions, and shredded cheese get tucked into a tortilla and toasted until everything is melted together. Top with cooling sour cream and guacamole.
Adapted from Zorah Booley | The Everyday Low-FODMAP Cookbook | Page Street Publishing, 2021
Being Indian, I grew up with savory spices and they just became part of who I am today. I wanted to translate a piece of that experience into this quesadilla and bring you a dish packed with amazing flavors.–Zorah Booley
Cajun-Inspired Steak Quesadillas
For the guacamole
- 2 large ripe Haas avocados peeled and pitted
- 1 ounce tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the quesadillas
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade Cajun spice blend
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 13 ounces cube or inside round steak cut into 1/2 inch (12 mm) cubes
- 2 tablespoons garlic oil
- 1/3 cup (2 oz) yellow bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup (2 oz) red bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup (2 oz) shallots diced
- 2 (7 to 12 inch) flour tortillas*
- 2 oz Manchego cheese shredded
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream preferably full-fat
- 2 teaspoons olive oil plus more if needed
- Tortilla chips (optional)
- Salsa (optional)
Make the guacamole
- In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the avocado. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to serve.
Make the quesadillas
- In a medium bowl, stir together the Cajun spice blend, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and paprika.
- Add the steak to the spice mixture, use your hands to rub the spices into the meat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the meat mingle with the spices at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic oil. Add the steak and cook until well browned and cooked to your desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to move the steak from the skillet to a small bowl. Cover with foil.
- Return the same skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Stir in the bell peppers and shallots and cook, stirring, until everything is soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the steak to the skillet to warm through.
- Place one tortilla on a work surface. To one-half of the tortilla, add half the steak and pepper mixture. Top it with half of the cheese and 1 tablespoon of sour cream. Fold the tortilla in half. Repeat with the other tortilla.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Place one tortilla in the skillet and cook until crispy and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the other tortilla, adding more oil to the skillet if necessary.
- When ready to serve, cut each tortilla in half. Top each quesadilla with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 tablespoon guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa, and extra guacamole, if desired.
*Can I use corn tortillas for quesadillas?As a matter of fact, you can. More often than not, corn tortillas are used for quesadillas in most of Mexico. Flour tortillas are common in North America but (like so many things) it all depends on where you live, too. Corn tortillas do have the benefit of more flavor than flour tortillas, as well as a little bit of fiber. If you go with corn, be aware that flour tortillas have the flexibility to be more easily flipped. Don’t overstuff corn quesadillas, make sure the cheese is melted, and use care when turning over.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I enjoy Mexican cuisine, and this recipe for Cajun-inspired steak quesadillas includes many of my favorite ingredients, including ingredients not typically found in quesadillas. What I liked most about this recipe is that the final product tasted as though it was ordered in a high-end Mexican, or fusion restaurant, rather than a home kitchen. The flavor combination is dynamite!
The recipe instructions are well done, I’d only add a couple of tweaks, such as adding more oil before sautéing the peppers, decreasing the amount of pepper in the guacamole, and including measurements for a less spicy quesadilla. Because the quesadillas are so filling, a side isn’t needed, however, I did add tortilla chips to the meal to accompany the extra guacamole.
I confess I love just a plain cheese quesadilla and I can have a snack or lunch in about 5 minutes. But my husband loves a more loaded quesadilla to fill him up so I found this recipe for Cajun-inspired steak quesadillas and thought it would tackle both of our cravings. I was not disappointed.
My husband says this is the closest to authentic Mexican food I’ve served him at home. That’s high praise! I prepped everything in the afternoon so when dinner time came around, I just had to add the ingredients and cook. Also, I used a food processor to make the guacamole which gives you a smoother finished product.
Originally published September 7, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I love anything Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Mex-adjacent. And I really loved these Cajun-inspired steak quesadillas. So much so that I picked up more steak so I can make these again, soon. Everything about them is perfection—the Cajun seasoning, the guacamole, the quick prep, and the cooking time. They were juicy, spicy, crisp, and just SO good.
I used the Cajun seasoning mix on the site and really liked it. When I tasted the cooked beef on its own, I had my misgivings about the amount of spice–it was HOT. However, when everything was added, it was just hot enough. I’ve never seen “cube steak” here but was assured by the butcher that thinly sliced inside round would work just as well. I sliced it against the grain and it was fantastic. Juicy, beefy, and (I think) a great substitute. I’ll definitely use it again for fajitas and tacos.
The guacamole recipe was pretty good too. I have to admit that I’m a recent convert to anything avocado, but I did really like it. I loved the flavors together and the cool, cilantro hit that it gave the quesadillas.
All in all, I was thrilled with this recipe. It was even better than I thought it would be. I actually warmed the leftovers in my panini press and those quesadillas were better than the night before—they stayed together better and the tortillas got even crispier.