Thai Peanut Chicken Quesadillas
Thai chicken gets a fusion twist in these Thai peanut chicken quesadillas! Loaded with flavor and fun to make, try them tonight!
Up your quesadilla game with these fun and tasty Thai peanut chicken quesadillas! You’ll love the tender marinated chicken, smooth melted cheese, crisp cabbage and carrots, and savory peanut sauce!
Is there anything better than a quesadilla? I order them all the time when we go out to to a restaurant, and they’re so fun, not to mention EASY, to make at home. Plus, they’re super customizeable! Until now, my favorite had always been my chicken fajita quesadillas, but these Thai peanut chicken ones… they have moved up to the top of the list!! I even made them for my daughter and Mom one day for lunch, and they earned some mumbled praise, “these are really good!”, in between mouthfuls. Woohoo!!
For our tastes, I make our peanut sauce a bit spicy… but that’s totally up to you. If you prefer a non-spicy flavor, then just omit the sriracha sauce. On a side note, definitely don’t add any Thai chiles if you’re sensitive to heat. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after my incident when making these Kung Pao Chickpeas… but ohhhh no. I wanted to use the chiles for a garnish for these photos, because, well… they’re just a nice contrast. Like with most all my photo shoots, as soon as I’m done shooting, I grab the food and start eating lol. This time, I was so carried away by the peanut sauce that I didn’t even check to make sure all the chiles were OFF the quesadilla before taking a bite. HOLY MOTHER OF SPICINESS!!! My lips were numb for a good 30 minutes… still worth it though 😉
If you don’t like the sauce drizzled alllllll over the top, you can serve them “naked”, like in the picture above, and just have a cup of the sauce on the side for dipping fun. Usually I’m not a fan of things drizzled all over my crispy food, because they can get a bit soggy. You know, like with french fries… my husband will drizzle ketchup all over them (the horror!!!), and I prefer to dip them in the ketchup on the side. BUT, for the photos, they just look so beautiful all drizzled!
If you’re short on time, you can make this with leftover chicken from another meal if you’d like, instead of using the marinated and grilled chicken. It’ll be a little less “Thai” in flavor, but works in a pinch. What I like to do… is make the marinated and grilled chicken and serve it with coconut rice the first night. Then use the leftover Thai chicken the second night to make these quesadillas. It’s a great way to stretch one meal into two, in a different way so you’re not bored eating the same leftovers again!
I hope you guys give this one a try! I can’t take credit for the marinade… I found it over at Carlsbad Cravings and made a few tweaks 🙂
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp sriracha
- 3/4 tsp dry basil
- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic grated or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 pounds chicken trimmed, 4-6 chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- PEANUT SAUCE:
- Reserved and UN-used marinade
- 1/3 cup coconut milk canned or from a carton
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Burrito-sized flour tortillas
- Shredded Monterey-Jack cheese
- Finely shredded carrots
- Thinly sliced green onions reserve more for garnish
- Chopped peanuts reserve more for garnish
- Thinly sliced red cabbage for garnish
- Chopped Thai chiles for garnish
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
MAKE THE MARINADE:
To a large resealable plastic bag, add marinade ingredients (from pineapple juice down to black pepper), twist like you would twist the bag for a loaf of bread, and shake vigorously to combine.
In a separate large resealable plastic bag, add 3 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup of the marinade from the first bag. Shake to combine well. Add chicken breasts to the bag and seal well. Place bag on a plate and place in the refrigerator for 1-8 hours.
Seal the first bag, with the bulk of the marinade, and place in the refrigerator along with the bag of chicken.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over MED heat. Add chicken breasts, a few at a time so as to not crowd the pan, and cook for about 4-5 minutes on one side, then another 4-5 minutes on the second side. This may vary based on how thick your chicken breasts are.
Set chicken aside to rest for 5-10 minutes, then dice into bite-sized pieces.
MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCE:
Pour the bag of reserved marinade into a saucepan and heat over MED heat.
Add cornstarch, sriracha, and coconut milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer for 1-2 minutes until sauce has thickened slightly.
Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and lime juice.
MAKE THE QUESADILLAS:
Place one tortillas on a large cutting board and sprinkle half the tortilla with shredded cheese. Top the cheese with diced chicken, carrots, green onions, and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. Top with a sprinkle of a little more cheese.
Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the prepared side to create a half moon shape.
Spray a non-stick skillet with a little cooking spray and heat over MED to MED-LOW (depending on how hot your stovetop gets).
Carefully place the quesadilla in the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until bottom is a golden brown and cheese is starting to melt some.
Use a wide spatula to flip the quesadilla over and cook another minute.
Remove to the cutting board and slice into three triangles.
Drizzle quesadillas with peanut sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, green onions, peanuts, Thai chiles (if using), and red cabbage.
1. Quesadillas can be made with leftover chicken from another meal if desired.
2. If you'd prefer, serve quesadillas with the Thai peanut sauce on the side.
3. Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings