Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garlic-Lime Shrimp and Bean Quesadilla

These quesadillas are ready in a snap and were so delicious! I seriously whipped these up, start to finish in 15 minutes and they tasted better than anything you can get for take-out! You could serve these as a main course for dinner or lunch, or as an appetizers for a party!

I have a craving for Mexican or American Mexican food about once a week, but I try to switch the fillings up so I don't get bored. Working at Moes Southwest, home of the "Welcome to Moes", I learned how to roll a mean burrito and found ways to get my mexican food cravings while keeping my calories and fat in check. Taco salads are fabulous, sans the taco shell!  Be aware of the amounts of cheese, sour cream, and guacamole you put on, because those ingredients can take a healthy meal and turn it into a 1,000 calorie salad!

Buying frozen shrimp in bulk is always a good idea because shrimp are low in calories and fat, a good source of Vitamin B12, are versatile, and they last for up to 3 months! It is true that they have less than 1 gram of fat, but are high in cholesterol. That being said, it is generally accepted that dietary cholesterol doesn't have as much of an effect on LDL (the bad cholesterol) as a diet high in saturated or trans fat. SO shrimp can be a part of a healthy diet, in moderation!

 4 oz of shrimp = ~110 calories. What does 4 oz look like? Shrimp are classified by U's (U10-12, U20-25) and that will be marked on the package of frozen shrimp. This number tells you how many shrimp per pound. 4 oz= 1/4 pound. Example: 4 oz of a 20 U package= 5 shrimp! 

There are so many types of wraps/tortilla shells these days! I have tried many of them and always have a few things in mind when I select them. First of all, I don't want a 400 calorie wrap (yes some can be this high). Make sure to check you nutrition facts label! I look wraps that are whole wheat (or have 3g of fiber or more), is reasonable in calories (usually the 100 calorie varieties), and one that it tastes good! I personally enjoy the Smart and Delicious wraps that are found by the deli, but they can be kind of pricey. Mission tortillas has also come up with some interesting wraps including: a carbohydrate-controlled tortilla, ancient grains and flaxseed and blue corn taco shells, as well as a variety of whole wheat wraps.

In this recipe I use a jalapeno-cilantro sauce that I usually make in bulk. It is super easy to make and is packed with flavor. This way you don't have to have fresh cilantro on hand for your recipes, but you have that spicy fresh taste. Combine 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 jalapeno, and 1/4 cup lime juice in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. I freeze it in a reusable container or ice cube trays. It defrosts really easy and you're ready to use it! Some other ways I like to use it: Make a spicy mayo for sandwiches, liven up a stirfry or burrito, or use as a marinade for chicken or pork!

Garlic-Lime Shrimp and Bean Quesadilla
Serves 4

Non-stick cooking spray
8 oz cooked frozen shrimp
1/2 cup kidney beans (cooked and drained)
1 red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp each: cumin, smoked paprika
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp jalapeno-cilantro sauce

4 tortilla wraps
1 1/3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Salsa for dipping
Low-fat sour cream (optional)

1.To defrost shrimp: place shrimp in a colander, place in sink and run under cold water until defrosted (~5 minutes). Chop into small pieces.
2. Heat a frying pan up over medium heat (use non-stick cooking spray). Add shrimp, beans, red pepper, lime juice and spices and cook for ~5 minutes or until warm. Stir in the jalapeno-cilantro sauce and remove from heat.
3. Place 2 tortillas in a large frying pan over medium heat. Spread 1/3 cup cheese over the entire wrap, let cook for 2 minutes, add shrimp filling and fold tortilla in half. Let cook for 3 minutes per side,or until golden. Cut each quesadilla into 3 triangles and serve with salsa, sour cream, and of course, a side salad.  I made a simple Chili Lime Vinaigrette as a dressing and it was wonderful (recipe below).

If making for a crowd, or to serve as appetizers. Preheat your oven to 300 and place quesadillas on a baking sheet. Cook for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Nutrition Facts: 1 Quesadilla
300 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 14 g fat, 10 g fiber, 400 mg sodium

Chili Lime Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil

Whisk until smooth.


  1. I'd add a couple of red onion slices! :)
    "4 oz of shrimp = ~110 calories" - great low cal protein source

  2. Red onion makes everything taste better! :)