Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas

March 27, 2015

Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas
Do you clean up as you cook or wait until you're done?
Personally, I try to clean up as I go so I'm not left with a huge mess. I can't stand to face a chaotic jumble, plus my grandma said a good cook keeps a clean kitchen — and grandma was always right.
Not to mention that I loathe the idea of sitting down to a meal knowing that I left the kitchen a mess. It just takes the life out of me.
I have to be honest though, it’s still a task I'm trying to perfect — ideally I would like to have someone on retainer who cleans while I cook. But that’s not going to happen in the short term
(and probably not in the long term either) so I try to put my best efforts to clean up as I go.

The thing I do is to gradually put each utensil or dish in the dishwasher and put away ingredients as I use them.
It takes almost no time at all, and while I cook I have a fair amount of time waiting on things to get done anyway.
At the end of the lunch/dinner, I simply store any leftovers and put plates/cutlery/glasses in the dishwasher. Said and done.

Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas

I once had a roommate who loved to cook for everybody and took great joy in doing it.
She was one of the most adorable people in the whole universe but when it came to cooking she was a complete disaster.
She would leave out every single thing she used while cooking.
The spoon used to stir a pot once? Still on the kitchen counter.
30 small containers of spices, herbs, salt/pepper, olive il? Still all out with the caps off.
Every pan/dish/pot piled in the kitchen sink with dried food on them.
It would take forever to clean up afterwards.
As far as cleaning is involved, long recipes scare me. Not because they’re complicated (I have no problem with that) but because they translate to huge amount of pans/dishes to use and then clean.
But let me tell you, it’s definitely not the case with these Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas.
You use only one small bowl to make the marinade, one pan to make the chicken and the quesadillas, and the food processor to make the shawarma sauce.
Other than that there’s just some chopping involved (so a cutting board and knife should do.)

Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas

You can think of these Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas as some sort of Middle East meets Mexico kind of dish.
Shawarma chicken, shawarma sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce - all the usual suspect you’d find in a Shawarma wrap - nut instead of being served with Taboon bread here they are wrapped in two amazing tortillas with a bit of cheese.
Can I be completely honest here people?
These are some pretty darn rad quesadillas.
It tastes like Shawarma but feels like a quesadillas. It’s totally unexpected but really tasty.
I’ve made these for dinner last night, but as I have some leftover Shawarma chicken in the fridge I’m probably going to make these again tonight. Maybe even tomorrow...who knows what the future will bring...

Shawarma Chicken Quesadillas                                                                               Print this recipe!

Note. I used Tortilla Land’s Uncooked Tortillas in this recipe. And not just because they’re preservative-free, gluten-free, and made just with water and corn masa flour. But because I believe they’re among the better tasting tortillas on the market.
You can also make cauliflower tortillas using this recipe.

Serves 4

Shawarma Chicken

1 lb / 453 gr free-range organic chicken breast, cut into 3-inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander

Shawarma Sauce

1 clove garlic
½ cup tahini sauce
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup lemon juice

For the quesadillas

8 large tortillas (to make cauliflower tortillas use this recipe)
2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack is the best)
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cucumbers


Chicken Shawarma

In a bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, curry powder, cumin, and coriander until combined.
In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziploc bag, combine chicken strips and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Heat a pan, grill or a grill pan to medium-high (if you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates).
Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes turning regularly or until juices run clear. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Shawarma Sauce

Add garlic to the bowl of a food processor and process until chopped. Add tahini and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add cold water until frothy. Add lemon juice and mix until creamy. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Assemble quesadillas

In a large skillet sizzle ½ teaspoon of butter over medium heat and lay a tortilla in it.
Then build the quesadillas by laying some grated cheese on the tortilla, and then arranging some of the chicken, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and shawarma sauce. Top with a little more grated cheese and top with a second tortilla.
When the tortilla is golden, carefully flip the quesadilla to the other side, adding another ½ teaspoon butter to the skillet at the same time. Continue cooking until the second side is golden.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings.
Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 489 calories, 22 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, and 41 grams of protein.


  1. As a Mexican living in USA, I agree 100% with you, Tortilla Land's is the best and the closed to the real thing

  2. Nom nom nom this sounds delish. On my way to the store to check out those tortillas, very exciting!

  3. I love your Key West Spicy Chicken Quesadillas so I'm pretty sure I'm going to love these as well!

  4. Funny Mike, I clean as I go and I can not start unless it’s clean, too. As for this meal, from the looks of things it’s insanely delicious. Rad quesadillas indeed! Aren’t the raw tortillas just the best? So much fresher, right off your grill or pan. #WolfpackEats

  5. Oh good gawsh - your old roommate sounds like me!!! Though I do put up the spices as I cook. When I bake - it's like a cocoa-bomb went off in my kitchen...I need to take notes from ya!
    Mike, I am a big fan of shawarma chicken - when I lived in Abu Dhabi my dad would bring home shawarma chicken wrapped in pita bread - but I've never had shawarma quesadillas before - these sound insanely good! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  6. I love love quesadillas,duck confit being my favorite. I never heard of shawarma anything but your recipe looks great.

    1. Duck confit quesadillas??? Sounds amazing, I need to try it asap!

  7. *burp* pardon me Mike that was most delicious. Nommy Nommy

    Clean kitchen is a must down to the floor and counter tops, clean up as you go. A sink full of dirty dishes makes me ill and dizzy seriously. Its too much chaos can't cope and deal with that.

  8. I need to adopt these strategies. My kitchen is a bomb site after a recipe.. Now these quesadillas may be the necessary motivation to do it!

    1. It's never too late to adopt new strategies Arman, never too late...

  9. I don't think I can find this brand of tortilla here, but I sometimes make my own using masa - haven't done that in a while.

    love this recipe, and I clean as I cook, so when I'm done the kitchen is in good shape, a few things in the sink, but that's about it. I hate eating while staring at a messy kitchen. Plus, makes it so much easier later, put the plates in the dishwasher, take care of a few items and DONE.

    1. Making your own tortillas is the best Sally, truly the best!

  10. Love me a quesadilla! This is such a creative combo. Yay team clean-up-as-you-go! Once or twice I've left a mess and it ends in me feeling stressed and dirty. Blech.

  11. You just said the magic words, Mike. Shawarma and Chicken and Quesadilla. It's like you discovered the ancient magical combination for deliciousness. I'm fairly certain I am now craving quesadillas for dinner tonight...and I blame you. *fist bump* #WolfpackEats

  12. Omy goodness, I am so much like you. I like to start with a clean, organized kitchen, and end with one. My mind functions when everything is in it's place. My friends tell me that I cook like I'm in a cooking show:)...oh well.
    I enjoy shawarma and infact, I do make quesadillas the next day. It so so yum. Great idea again.

  13. Ermagherd these look amazing! I'm a sucker for anthing Mexican fusion... and this is a pretty epic meal. I'm with ya on the cleaning up thing. A messy kitchen drives me nuts. I need to clean as I go. Or, preferably, if Asheley is in an extra good mood, have her clean for me!

  14. Your blog is Godsend. i was looking for something exactly like this for inspiration. But please do tell me that you don't have a day job, that will make me feel better about not doing 1/10 of the things that you do.