Mexican food is almost perfect for keto. There’s some deliciously flavored meat, topped with cheese, topped with veggies, topped with more delicious fats like sour cream and guacamole. The only thing that doesn’t work is the tortilla. You can get around this travesty by eating bowl after bowl of taco salad. It’s good and it works. Or you can occasionally treat yourself to low carb tortillas. Canadian Bacon and I have tried many during our months on keto – Trader Joes, Mama Lupe’s, Oles, La Tortilla Factory, and so on. We keep coming back to the Mission Carb Balance white flour tortillas, which have 6g net carbs each. In my opinon, they have the best texture (soft and chewy) and they don’t tear up easily, which is a problem with several of the other brands.
They also crisp up in to wonderful quesadillas. My very favorite way to eat them is pan-fried in some coconut oil, stuffed with all sorts of Mexican goodness. CB and I eat quesadillas in some form once a week. They can be an easy and flavorful addition to the keto diet.
- chicken breast tenderloins – the small package (as pictured) will make 3-4 quesadillas, depending on how full you stuff them
- cheese! I usually use just plain blocks of cheddar that I shred myself, but I was feeling lazy when I made these
- low carb tortillas
- taco sauce
- seasoning to taste
- sour cream
- cilantro, if you’re like me and you love the stuff
Cook your tenderloins in a pan on medium heat. I use a heavy cast iron skillet and use just a small bit of coconut oil to keep the chicken from sticking. I season them at this point. Sometimes I use taco seasoning, which can be high in carbs. Usually I just use a combo of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cumin. I also add about 1tbsp of taco seasoning to toss the tenders in when they are almost through.
While the tenders are cooking, prepare the avocado by slicing it into thin pieces. Use kitchen shears to easily chop your cilantro leaves.
Shred the tenders as they finish cooking. They should fall apart fairly easily. What you see pictured above is the aftermath of me stabbing fiercely at the pan with my metal spatula. My brutality is a large part of the reason that I so enjoy cast iron cookware.
Heat another pan, this time with about 2tbsp of coconut oil in it. I use a cast iron griddle. Make sure the pan is larger than the circumference of your tortillas.
Assemble your quesadillas in the following manner:
Excellent. Now fold your quesadilla in half and gingerly lay it in the hot pan. It should begin rapidly frying. Try to not let the cheese escape.
When the edges start to brown, I know it’s time to flip it. I do this carefully by sliding the spatula under the open end and flopping it the opposite way, hopefully with minimum filling spillage.
Awwwww yissssss. Look at that perfect sear. Let this side get nice and crispy too. When it has, pull the whole thing off the heat and let it rest on a paper towel for a few minutes to soak up the excess grease and finish crisping.
Garnish with sour cream and maybe some taco sauce if you’re feeling it, and don’t mind the added carbs.
One of these things is really filling. Back in the day I’d make myself two and wind up giving Canadian Bacon the rest of the second one when I couldn’t eat it. The chicken dividess really nicely into four different portions. Now, though, I like to portion the chicken into three mounds, and he gets two quesadillas and I get one that is just really plump.
At around 550 cals per quesadilla… with all the toppings that I enjoy… it’s a hefty meal. You could, of course, slim it down by adding less avocado or less cheese or less sour cream, but those are my favorite parts and I’m okay with the added calories. Here’s the nutrition for the quesadilla pictured above:
11g of carbs, 33g of fat, and 31g of protein is pretty nice. It’s carb heavy, because of the tortilla (and the taco sauce that I like, but you can easily omit), but it’s still within daily limits. Even if you eat two, you’re not in bad shape.
I’m sure these would be really good with steak, too. I’ve made them with ground beef before, but that’s not so much my thing. Leftover pulled pork makes excellent carnitas. The options really are limitless. Experiment and enjoy!
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