Recipe for Carne Asada Quesadillas

Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: May 23, 2024

In my two decades of culinary experimentation, I have had the joy of experiencing foods from around the world.

Throughout my career, I have seen that world cuisine has the power to bring people together and create lasting memories.

Today, I will share my expertise on the harmonious fusion of flavors in Mexican cuisine, particularly when crafting this delectable and easy carne asada quesadilla recipe.

Recipe Overview

A close up shot of carne asada quesadillas
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Servings: 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak or skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 large white or whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil (like avocado oil) or nonstick cooking spray

Instructions

A top view of marinated steak
  1. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, chili powder, adobo sauce, orange juice, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Put the flank steak or skirt steak into a flat dish or a sealable plastic bag, then drizzle the marinade over it.
  2. Ensure the flank or skirt steak is evenly coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight for more flavor.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the grill grates or skillet with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Remove the skirt steak from the marinade and grill it for 3-5 minutes per side for medium-rare or longer for your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches your preferred temperature.
  5. Remove the skirt steak from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before creating thin slices against the grain.
  6. Lay out the flour tortillas on a clean baking sheet. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Add a portion of the cooked carne asada steak on half of each tortilla.
  7. Top the meat with a spoonful of pico de gallo and bell pepper, then fold the tortilla to create a half-moon shape.
  8. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease with oil or use nonstick cooking spray. Cook the quesadillas one at a time, or as many as will fit comfortably in your cooking vessel, until they are golden brown and the cheese begins to melt. This will take about 2-3 minutes per tortilla side for each quesadilla.
  9. Remove the cooked quesadillas from the heat and let them cool for a minute on the baking sheet. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to slice each steak quesadilla into wedges.
  10. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and any additional toppings you like. Or keep the steak quesadillas warm in a 250°F oven while you cook the remainder.

Recipe Notes

A woman grating a cheese
  • You can use pre-shredded cheese for convenience, though I like to grate my own cheese.
  • For a gluten-free tortilla version, use corn tortillas or gluten-free flour tortillas.
  • Customize your quesadillas with your favorite toppings like avocado slices, diced bell peppers, or black beans for added flavor and nutrition.
  • You can use leftover carne asada or grilled chicken for meal prep instead of cooking the tender steak from scratch.
  • If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can make carne asada quesadillas on a lined baking sheet in the oven.
  • Alternatively, you can place these steak tortillas in an air fryer basket instead of a skillet. Heat to 400°F and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days [1]. Wrap them individually in foil or plastic wrap to keep them from getting soggy. Reheat in the skillet, microwave, or air fryer for a few minutes before serving.
  • You can freeze leftover steak for 2-3 months, and it will maintain its flavor [2].

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 430
  • Total Carbs: 32g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Fat: 21g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Net Carbs: 28g

"Carne asada represents the heart and soul of Mexican street food – simple yet profound. It's the kind of dish that reminds us that great cooking is often about celebrating the purity of ingredients and the art of balancing flavors."

- Anthony Bourdain, American Chef

What To Serve With Carne Asada Quesadillas?

A top view of a guacamole side dish

Here are some dishes and sides that would pair well with this steak quesadilla recipe:

  1. Mexican Street Corn (Elote): Grilled corn on the cob slathered with a creamy mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, and cheese and sprinkled with chili and lime. The smoky, tangy flavors of elote complement the rich and savory flavors of carne asada quesadillas.
  2. Cilantro Lime Rice: Fragrant and zesty cilantro lime rice is a refreshing side that balances the richness of the quesadillas with its citrusy notes and fresh herbs.
  3. Guacamole: Creamy, chunky guacamole made with ripe avocados, tomatoes, onions, and a kick of lime adds a cool and creamy contrast to the hot and cheesy quesadillas.
  4. Chipotle Slaw: The smoky and slightly spicy chipotle slaw adds a crispy and refreshing element to the dish that pairs wonderfully with the warm and cheesy quesadillas, offering a textural contrast.
  5. Black Bean Salad: A cold black bean salad with red onions, bell peppers, and a zesty dressing adds a protein-packed element to your meal while providing a delightful contrast in both flavor and texture.
  6. Salsa Verde: A tangy and slightly spicy salsa verde adds a bright, citrusy kick to your quesadillas, enhancing their overall flavor profile.
  7. Fruit Salsa: A sweet and fruity salsa with diced mango, pineapple, and red onion tossed with a splash of lime juice adds a tropical twist to your meal, creating a balance of sweet and savory.
  8. Churros: End your meal on a sweet note with crispy churros dusted with cinnamon sugar. The contrast between the sugary churros and savory quesadillas makes for a satisfying combination.
  9. Mexican Street Fries (Carne Asada Fries): If you want a hearty side, try a plate of carne asada fries. These loaded fries topped with sliced carne asada, melted cheese, and pico de gallo are a meal in themselves and pair perfectly with the quesadillas.
  10. Margarita: A classic margarita with its citrusy notes and a touch of salt can complement the flavors of carne asada quesadillas and provide a refreshing beverage option to enjoy alongside your meal.
  11. Mexican Rice: The savory flavors of Mexican rice complement the grilled steak and cheesy quesadillas, providing a satisfying and complete meal.

FAQs

What Is a Good Way to Melt the Cheese Without Burning the Carne Asada Quesadilla?

A good way to melt the cheese without burning the carne asada quesadilla is to cook it over medium to medium-low heat. This allows the cheese to melt evenly while giving the tortilla time to crisp up without scorching. Covering the pan with a lid can help the cheese melt faster without overheating the tortilla.

Should I Cook a Quesadilla in Oil or Butter?

You can cook a quesadilla in either oil or butter, depending on your preference. Both work well and add a unique flavor to the quesadilla. Butter adds a rich, savory taste, while oil can help achieve a crispier texture. Use whichever suits your taste or the recipe you're following.


References:

  1. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/steps-keep-food-safe
  2. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-freeze-beef
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About the author

Iva Carter
Associate Editor
Iva Carter is a FBP certified foodie and influencer who loves to share delicious yet quick dinner recipes. When she's not in the kitchen concocting meaty delights, you'll find her playing with her dog, Sylvie.
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