Upgrade your quesadilla game with these tasty Turkey Quesadillas stuffed with turkey, fajita vegetables, black beans, and cheese.
When I need a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will eat, quesadillas are high on the list. Normally I make these healthy chicken quesadillas or black bean and corn quesadillas, but knowing I will have some leftover turkey at the end of the week - turkey quesadillas it is!
This is the perfect way to utilize leftovers in a whole new way, hello Mexican flavors! It’s also the perfect meal when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In less than 15 minutes dinner is done.
It’s cheesy. it’s packed with protein, fiber, and veggies. It’s fresh, delicious, and so much better than takeout.
Why You’ll Love These Turkey Quesadillas
- Use any turkey: Leftover cooked turkey, deli turkey, and ground turkey all work in this versatile recipe
- Quick and easy: Just 7 ingredients and 15 minutes to a restaurant-style packed quesadilla. This isn’t bland or boring!
- Crowd favorite: Everyone loves quesadillas and since they cook quickly, it’s easy to adjust the fillings for different preferences.
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
Here is everything you need to make these tasty turkey quesadillas.
- Turkey: This recipe works great with any type of turkey including leftover cooked turkey, deli turkey meat, and cooked ground turkey. It would also work with leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken.
- Onion and peppers: Adding sauteed peppers and onions takes this from a basic cheese and meat quesadilla to something special. Add or swap in any other veggies you like including zucchini, spinach, corn, red onion, or poblano peppers for more spice.
- Taco seasoning: Another way to kick up the flavor is by adding taco seasoning to the veggies and turkey.
- Black beans: We love adding beans to our quesadillas. Not only do they add a creamy texture, but they also add fiber making the quesadilla more filling. Use any type of beans including pinto beans, refried beans, or homemade black beans.
- Cheese: Most Tex-Mex style quesadillas usually use Monterrey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or shredded Mexican blend. More authentic quesadillas use Oaxacan, Chihuahua, or Asadero cheese. Choose what you have on hand or prefer, just make sure it is something that melts well.
- Tortillas: Flour tortillas are the most common. For a lower-calorie or carb option, choose high-fiber, low-carb tortillas. Whole wheat tortillas also work or make mini-quesadillas with corn tortillas.
Variations and Ideas
There are so many ways to change up these quesadillas and make them your own.
- Make a big batch in the oven: If you are making a big batch of quesadillas, consider baking them instead. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil. Fill the flour tortillas and fold them over. Place on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops with cooking spray or brush with oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Add more or different veggies: This recipe is versatile and can be made with almost any veggies or filling. Favorites include diced zucchini, spinach, butternut squash, and diced cauliflower. Just always make sure to cook the vegetables first. Raw veggies release liquid as they cook which will lead to soggy tortillas.
- Switch up the protein: Make these with almost any protein you like including chicken, ground beef, or leftover shredded pork carnitas.
- Meal prep: If you are making this with ground turkey, double up the turkey and make this Turkey Taco Salad or Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps as well to stretch the protein into two meals.
Topping and Salsa Ideas
Salsa and toppings are a must for any good quesadilla. Here are some of our favorite options:
- Homemade Ranchero Sauce
- Guacamole or avocado
- Salsa Verde
- Healthy Queso Dip
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Pico de Gallo
- Corn Salsa
- Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro
- Creamy Chipotle Sauce
What to Serve with Quesadillas
These quesadillas are a complete meal on their own with plenty of protein, fiber, and veggies. However, if you want to add a side dish, try one of these:
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Slow Cooker Charro Beans
- Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Corn
- Easy Corn Salad
What’s the best cheese for quesadillas?
The best cheese for quesadillas is one that melts really well. If you have access to a Mexican grocery store or store with more Mexcian cheese options, look for Oaxaca cheese, Chihuahua cheese, or Asadero cheese. Those will give you the most authentic option.
For a more Tex-Mex feel, look for a blend of cheese including Monterey jack, cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese.
Also, shredding the cheese at home always works better than buying packaged shredded cheese. Packaged cheese has an additive that keeps it from sticking together, but it also means it doesn’t melt quite as nicely.
How to Meal prep Quesadillas and Reheat
Did you know quesadillas are a great option for meal prep? They reheat well and freeze really well. Here’s what to know:
- Store cooked quesadillas: Store any leftover cooked turkey quesadillas in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. Reheat in the skillet or in the toaster. Do not reheat in the microwave, if possible, since it will get soggy.
- Freeze uncooked quesadillas: Prepare the quesadillas, but do not cook them. Place in the freezer on a baking sheet for 3-4 hours until frozen solid. Then freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months..
- Freeze cooked quesadillas: Let the cooked quesadillas fully cool. Then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months.
- How to cook frozen quesadillas: Let defrost before cooking for best results. If you do not have time to defrost, you can warm the quesadilla in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then cook it in a skillet or bake in the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this quesadilla recipe.
Generally speaking, if you are cooking quesadillas in a nonstick skillet, you do not need to add butter or oil to the pan. With that said, some people like to add butter to the pan to help brown the tortilla and make sure it gets crispy.
While many people think the word quesadilla comes from a combination of the word "queso" (Spanish for cheese) combined with tortilla, it actually comes from an indigenous Nahuatl word quesaditzin. Quesaditzin means "folded tortilla".
That's why when traveling in Mexico, you normally have to specify that you want cheese in a quesadilla. Quesadillas don't always have cheese.
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- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced (red and green)
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning (more to taste)
- 1.5 cups cooked turkey breast (or 1/2 lb lean ground turkey or deli turkey)
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese (Monterey jack and cheddar mixture)
- 4 flour tortillas (regular, whole-wheat, or low-carb)
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- Nutritional Information
Add this mixture to a bowl and use a paper towel to clean out the pan. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Place the tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle one-half with about 3 tbsp of cheese. Add about 2/3 cup of the turkey filling. Top with another 3 tbsp of cheese. Fold the tortilla over and cook on one side until the cheese is melting and the tortilla begins to brown.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
If using ground turkey, add it to the peppers and onion once softened. Cook until it is browned and cooked through.
If using deli turkey, simply layer the turkey slices on top of the bell pepper and bean mixture. You could also chop it into small pieces it and add them to the mixture.
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