The Quesadilla Explosion salad looks healthy…a bed of greens, grilled chicken, black beans, citrus-balsamic dressing. Oh, how that salad fooled me! The salad and quesadillas somehow pack a full day’s worth of calories into a little bitty space.
I really love the idea of this weirdo salad, so I decided I can Make This At Home with a few smart swaps.
For the Quesadilla
- 1 – 96% Fat Free Heart Healthy 10” Burrito Tortilla (180 calories, 35 carbs)
- 1/4 cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (110 calories)
For the Salad
- 2-3 cups Chopped Romain Lettuce or a Spring Salad mix (about 30 calories per cup)
- 2-3 oz cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips or chunks (4 oz is about 110 calories)
- 2 tablespoons of each of the following: rinsed black beans, rinsed whole kernel sweet corn, well drained Ro-Tel tomatoes
For the Dressing
- 2-3 tablespoons Salsa (average is about 5 calories per tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons Kraft Ranch Dressing and Dip (120 calories)
To make the quesadilla, place tortilla in a non-stick pan or a pan sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Sprinkle cheese over one half of the tortilla, and then bring the pan to medium/medium-high heat. Once cheese begins to melt, use a spatula to fold the plain half of the tortilla over the cheese-topped half, and then press down with the spatula to seal. Flip quesadilla and continue to cook and press until the entire quesadilla is hot and beginning to turn a beautiful golden color. Set aside.
Layer the lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and black beans in a bowl. Top with the chicken (warm or cold). Cut the quesadilla into triangles, and place them around your salad.
To make dressing, mix salsa and ranch in a small dish by shaking or stirring. Top salad with dressing or serve on the side.
Bonus: You have a ton of black beans, corn, and Rotel left for Tortilla Soup or other yummy recipes. I enjoyed some on a baked sweet potato, sprinkled with taco seasoning.
This version of the recipe has about 600 calories. That’s less than half of the original.
Variations and Tips
- Need a healthier tortilla? Try La Tortilla Factory’s Smart and Delicious line or Mission’s Carb Balance line.
- Cheese has healthier swaps, too. Try a low fat shredding cheese, like Kraft’s 2% Naturals, or The Laughing Cow’s flavored wedges. Can you image Queso Fresco and Chipotle on a quesadilla?
- This is an easy vegetarian meal, too. Just bulk up the black beans and drop the chicken!
- Want a Citrus-Balsamic dressing swap? Check out Hungry Girl! She has a Mexi-licous swap for this Chili’s salad and came up with a dressing swap. Her version is less than 350 calories!
- Don’t like ranch? Try mixing a tablespoon or two of low-fat sour cream with salsa for a creamy dressing swap!
You know the drill! Share your recipes!