Summer shrimp quesadillas – hot, hot, hot!

shrimp quesadilla

My first-ever home-made quesadilla

Spicy foods are great for boosting your metabolism. That means you’ll burn off the fat in your meals much more quickly than otherwise. All good! So I’m always looking for ways to inject a little spice into my menus.

I add hot chili sauce to my eggs in the morning, just for fun. And my veggie stir-fries are always livened up with hot peppers, garlic, onions, or ginger.

So I was delighted to find this recipe on-line the other day featuring lots of spiced-up healthy foods: shrimps, whole grain tortillas, beans, and avocado.  Such great flavor!

Here’s the recipe I started with, from Cooking from the Heart. Except for the finished product (my three photos), the other pics are all Laura’s. She’s great!

Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas

Makes two 10-inch quesadillas

OK, I admit it: I’ve never tried cooking Mexican dishes before. I even had to look up Quesadilla to figure out how to spell the darn thing! And PS: This dish turned out to be absolutely INHALEABLE! Sooo good.

Home-made refried black beans

1 can black beans, drained (2 cups)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used a videlia)

Heat a skillet to medium heat.  Add drained beans and chopped onions.  Let cook for  2 minutes for the onions to soften.  Then add chicken broth and cook for about 6 minutes until beans start to look mushy.  Remove from heat and mash the beans with a potato masher to create refried beans.  Put in a bowl for later.


Avocado spread

6 ounces plain low-fat Greek yogurt
2 avocados, diced
1 chipotle (from can, below. Also, see my note)
sea salt and pepper

Add yogurt, avocado, chipotle, salt and pepper to a food processor.

Puree until thoroughly mixed together.

Spicy shrimps

1/2 pound peeled shrimp, coarsely chopped (about 10 biggies)
1/2 can chipotles in adobo sauce (I used 2 tablespoons chipotle sauce, instead)
1 small jalapeño pepper, diced
1/4 cup small red onion, diced
1/2 package spicy taco seasoning (see note!!! I used 2 tablespoons of homemade spice mix, instead)

Heat skillet to medium heat.  in a bowl, mix shrimp with taco seasoning.  Put the coated shrimp,  half a can of the chipotles (about 3 actual chipotles and sauce… or 2 tablespoons or more of chipotle sauce), onion, and jalapeño in the skillet and cook for 2-4 minutes until shrimps are pink and firm.  Place in bowl, removing the whole pieces of chipotle.


4 whole-wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cup  crumbled goat’s cheese (it has less fat than other commonly used cheeses and I love the taste… but use what you like)
dash of butter or your favorite oil (I used coconut oil)

Create an assembly line of your prepared ingredients.  This recipe is for 2 large quesadillas so use half of each mixture for each quesadilla.


Take the bottom tortilla and spread avocado mixture on it.


Then add shrimp mixture.


Top with half your cheese (3/4 cup).


Spread bean mixture on the second tortilla and place it on top of quesadilla, bean side down. If the beans don’t stick well, sprinkle the bean mix evenly on top of the cheese on the first tortilla, then top it with the second one, like a  sandwich.


With a little oil in a heated nonstick skillet, cook quesadilla on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.


Slide quesadilla onto plate and cut into fours with a pizza cutter.  serve with a dollop of low-fat sour cream or, better yet, as Vinny says, with Greek yogurt!

for a pretty presentation. put the dollup of Greek yogurt on the quesadilla before you cut it,

Vinny says: For a pretty presentation. put the dollop of Greek yogurt on the quesadilla before you cut it.

Vinny’s Notes

If you can’t find the canned chipotles, don’t worry about it. Chili sauce works, too. It creates a milder flavor. But what I used was chipotle sauce. The result was wonderful.

Also, I wouldn’t rush out and buy packaged taco seasoning, as suggested in this recipe.  Make your own, instead, with these basic spices. It takes three minutes.

DIY Homemade taco seasoning - Family Fresh Meals
Taco seasoning:
Makes about 3 tablespoons

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together all ingredients, just how you like it. Personally, I prefer cayenne over red chili flakes. If I didn’t have oregano – meh – who cares? You don’t use salt? Leave it out. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

It’s magic. When you make your own stuff, you are in control!

The verdict

This dish is easy to make. But it takes time. And it gets messy. Be prepared to devote an hour to getting it all together. Take time at the beginning to prepare all your ingredients. That way, you won’t feel rushed. And clean up as you go along.

This dish is  worth the trouble. I found the flavor warmed the mouth, but pleasantly – nothing painful. Just delicious! I could taste the beans, but lightly. The creamy avocado was a nice contrast to the spicy shrimps.

The only fat I used was about a half teaspoon every time I fried something new in the pan – perhaps a tablespoon of coconut oil in total. The goat’s cheese was a light touch, too – quite mild.

Everyone thought this recipe deserves to become a family staple. Yay Vinny!

Inhale! It's that good.

Inhale! It’s that good. So happy I tried Laura’s recipe :)

Other main dishes you might like to try

Yackity’s life-ever-lasting Tibetan pie  Super lean meats are the starting point for a life-everlasting Sherpa’s pie.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ayesha (Miss Spicy Hat n' Sugar Socks)
    Jan 27, 2014 @ 11:02:59

    This looks amazing Vinny, Glad you shared!! :)


    • Vinny Grette
      Jan 27, 2014 @ 11:26:06

      It’s become a family favorite and has gotten easier now that I’ve done it a few times. I’ve made it with chicken instead of shrimp, as well – both taste great!


  2. richardmcgary
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 22:30:20

    Sharon, these look great!! We love quesadillas too. :)


  3. Christina
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 21:52:09

    I think it could be simplified quite a bit. Quick guacamole, canned refried beans, shredded cheese, quickly sautéed shrimp in olive oil and with some sort of spicy sauce or chili paste. Heat the toritilla on one side, flip, layer the ingredients and top with another tortilla. Can use smaller tortillas for a smaller family.


    • Vinny Grette
      Aug 20, 2013 @ 22:48:09

      I like your assembly method, Christine. It sounds efficient. But I did like using fresh whole-food ingredients, rather than canned or processed. I also LOVE coconut oil for frying, for its health benefits. I love olive oil in salads etc when it’s not heated. Will do a post in the fall on fats and oils. Haven’t finished my research yet. So much to bone up on!


  4. iceisonme
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 16:43:14

    I totally love spicy foods..I wish I could try this out


    • Vinny Grette
      Aug 20, 2013 @ 19:53:39

      Go ahead and try it! Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients called for – when that happens to me, I make substitutions. I always have all the spices on hand in little glass bottles that I fill at the bulk food store. Make sure everything is labeled and dated. Toss old spices after a year for best flavor. The chipotles gave me a hard time here, but I found something that worked with only a little bit of digging. My daughtr said I should have tried the aisle with the nachos and salsas… next time :)


  5. sebbyholmes
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 15:58:14

    Absolute gem of a recipe. Thanks for sharing this, it looks amazing. Will be making this when I get time.


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