Here's something weird about me: I have never liked grilled cheese sandwiches but I love quesadillas.
Why? Honestly I think it's the bread-to-cheese ratio and the type of cheese.
And the fact that you can load your quesadillas with the most amazing mix-ins and toppings!
For example, these Beef Sheet Pan Quesadillas are served with salsa, guacamole, cilantro, and lime wedges.
But today's recipe for easy Carne Asada Quesadillas, or quesadilla de asada, takes the cake. It's not just ground beef inside, it's marinated flank steak!
(Cue mouth watering)
If you love carne asada, you're going to love this Carne Asada Quesadilla recipe!
I used guacamole, plain greek yogurt, pico de gallo, fresh squeezed lime, and cilantro.
For a full list of toppings and "what to serve with" options, check out the FAQ section below!
Some recipes suggest searing the steak first, but then you have to let it rest before slicing and it takes more time to cook.
For this easy recipe, we're going to cut the steak into strips first to save time.
The key here is to slice against the grain of the steak.
What does that mean? Look at the steak and see which direction the fibers of the meat muscle run.
Whichever direction that is, cut perpendicular to it (90°). This keeps the meat in tact during cooking and retains the marinade better. Otherwise your steak will fall apart and be quite dry.
Another important thing to remember is to cut the steak into strips the size of your pinky finger. This includes the length and width. The thinner the strip, the faster it sears in the pan!
Toss the steak strips in a large ziploc bag with all the marinade ingredients - the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings.
If you really want the best flavor, set the bag of steak in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can even let it marinate for up to 48 hours before you cook it!
Why do this step in a bag rather than just season it on the stove? One, it's easier to get all the oils and juices on every piece of steak; two, it's a less-messy way to season the steak; and three, it encourages you to marinate the steak!
Once the steak has marinated, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. (I like using cast iron skillet because it handles high heat really well and boosts the iron content as well.)
When the skillet is hot, add half the steak in an even layer, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Sear the steak on each side for no more than one minute, then remove, set aside, and repeat with the remaining steak.
Be sure NOT to fully cook the steak. The steak will finish cooking in the oven. You WANT to have pink left in the steak after you remove it from the stove.
Grease a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and lay down two tortillas. Layer half of the tortilla with 1/4 cup of cheese, followed by about 1/3 cup of the steak (just enough to cover the cheese), and another 1/4 cup cheese on top.
Fold the quesadilla in half and repeat with the other tortilla. Push both quesadillas to the side and prepare two more on the same sheet pan.
Once you have four quesadillas, spray the tops with cooking spray.
Cook for 10 minutes in the oven.
After 10 minutes, flip and cook an additional 5 minutes until the tops are golden brown, the melted cheese is bubbling, and you have a nice and crispy tortilla.
If you're making all 8 quesadillas de asada at once, prepare another sheet pan and repeat.
Let the quesadillas cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then slice into pieces (I use a pizza cutter!) and top with your favorite toppings.
Check out a list of my favorite toppings and side dishes below!
"Carne" means meat, and "asada" means grilled or barbecued. However, carne asada refers specifically to beef, not any meat.
Cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and salt. If you have cayenne pepper on hand, that would be a great addition as well.
This recipe is! I reduced the amount of oil used in the marinade, swapped full fat cheese for reduced fat cheese, and used low carb tortillas to reduce the total number of calories per quesadilla.
If you include toppings like guacamole and pico de gallo, you're also getting a serving of fruit with each quesadilla!
Yes! Just use your favorite gluten free tortillas or your favorite vegan cheese.
Yes! Although you'll need to cook fewer quesadillas at once, they will turn out great.
Grease the basket with cooking spray quite well. Air fry at 400° for 5-8 minutes, flip, respray, then cook another 5 minutes. Cook times might vary with each model of air fryer.
Keep the marinated steak in its own bag and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The cheese and any cold toppings (like greek yogurt, guacamole, or picoo) should remain refrigerated as well.
Keep the tortillas in an airtight bag or container in dry storage.
Let the quesadillas cool completely at room temperature, then store in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Keep any toppings separate from the finished quesadillas.
Follow the recipe instructions, then read the "after assembly" section above.
This quesadilla de asada recipe is perfect for meal prep because it makes 8 quesadillas and you can easily reheat them in the microwave, oven, or air fryer.
I know you will love this carne asada steak quesadilla recipe! They're so easy to make, so delicious, and the perfect way to enjoy a fun twist on a classic Mexican dish.
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Made with only 3 main ingredients and a simple marinade, these Easy Carne Asada Quesadillas are so easy to make and so delicious. They're also low carb, easily gluten free, and packed with over 40 grams of protein per serving!
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