I’ve had a long tortured history with these buffalo chicken quesadillas. It’s not their fault. But like the tastiest of food lovers, they’ve caused me to experience some high highs and low lows.
My affair with healthy buffalo chicken themed sandwiches began around this time last year during a downpour of recipe development for Food & Wine. I used the hot sauce spiked chicken salad as part of a wrap, with carrots, celery, red onion and romaine as the additional filling. Instead of sour cream and buttermilk, I used Greek yogurt for the blue cheese dressing. It was a beautiful thing in conception. But the only catch was I couldn’t eat it.
Sadly, I still haven’t found a gluten-free wrap that I love. (If anyone has suggestions, please let me know in the comments!!). And for the sake of the picture, I didn’t want to use something that looked as dry and stiff as cardboard. So I wrapped up the premade sandwiches and took them with me to my friend Kate’s share house in the Hamptons, and they were subsequently consumed somewhere along 495 in bumper to bumper traffic by some very grateful boys.
I didn’t mind missing out too much, since at the time I had so many dishes in the works that my fridge was an overflowing refuge camp for leftovers. But I did want to eventually try the combination. After all, buffalo chicken wings are another dish I can’t eat now that I’m gluten-free, and that’s been hard enough.
So now that a year’s passed and I’m through dilly dallying with other chicks (in sandwich form), I decided to revisit my healthy buffalo chicken in the more hospitable vehicle of a corn tortilla. It’s a pretty hot ride, but sometimes if they’re too dry, corn tortillas can break when folded in half as a quesadilla. I picked up the most pliable ones I could find at Whole Foods by the brand Maria and Ricardo’s. I couldn’t believe how well they worked—almost too good to be true.
Spoiler alert: they were.
When I went online to link to the brand in my recipe, I couldn’t find a listing anywhere for corn tortillas, just corn and wheat tortillas. I quickly realized what I had done (eaten a whole flour tortilla), and that I had, like a fatty, done it three times. High highs, low lows.
Like anyone who’s on the bottom end of an emotional roller coaster, with a stomach ache to match, I became irrationally angry at Maria and Ricardo for not writing anywhere on the front of their product that there was flour involved. I usually check packaging for most products. But corn tortillas are such a straight forward purchase that I never look at the ingredient list.
Luckily I had the opportunity to remake these buffalo chicken quesadillas for a shoot with Healthination using actual corn tortillas. And I ate the shit out of them. Be prepared to fall in love with this quesadilla. Just make sure to wrap it up properly, using the right materials.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 pound
- Olive oil
- Sea salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons melted extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup hot sauce preferably Frank's Red Hot
- 6 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup thinly sliced celery
- ½ small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
- 6 taco-sized corn, brown rice or whole wheat tortillas
Fire up an indoor grill pan or charcoal grill.
Place the chicken breasts on a work surface. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat, for 4 minutes on each side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through cooking to get a nice crosshatch. Allow the chicken to rest until cool enough to touch. Finely chop the chicken and add to a mixing bowl along with the coconut oil and hot sauce. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Whisk until smooth.
To assemble the quesadillas, arrange the tortillas on a clean work surface. Slather one side of each with a scant tablespoon of the yogurt sauce. Arrange a thin layer of the chicken mixture on one half of the tortillas. Top with the onions and cheese. Fold the tortillas in half.
Grill the tortillas until crispy and charred, about 2 minutes per side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to get a nice crosshatch. Cut in half and serve alongside the remaining yogurt sauce.
If you use larger burrito-sized tortillas, you will probably only have enough filling for 4. Try not to over-stuff the quesadillas too much or you'll lose the filling to the grill.