dinner gluten-free

Sweet Potato Pesto Chicken Quesadillas

February 23, 2014

So I think I may have been a bit overzealous with my new “feel your fears” mentality. I was feeling all amped to step out of my comfort zone and try new things that I didn’t account for the fact that sometimes a little research can actually be beneficial. You see, these Sweet Potato and Pesto Chicken Quesadillas were actually supposed to be pulled pork enchiladas….I’ll explain.

sweet potato pesto chicken quesadillasI have an irrational fear of pork. I love the taste of pulled pork, but truth be told I didn’t try it until a few years ago. My best guess would be that growing up in a home where we didn’t eat pork or ham and only turkey bacon caused me to develop negative associations with these meats. And then I grew up and ditched my house rules and discovered that when done well, pork tastes great. So I decided to dream big and throw some pork in the slow-cooker for my first attempt at pulled pork.

sweet potato and pesto chicken quesadilla 3When I woke up the next morning to check on my loins, I was displeased to discovered they were burnt to a crisp. So I had to wing it for dinner and these came out so great that I did the fastest photo-shoot of all time (can you tell?) before running out the door to a Kewaza demo. I looked fear in the face and failed, but clearly I failed for a reason otherwise I may never have made these beauties!

SAVE print

Sweet Potato Pesto Chicken Quesadillas

PREP TIME 25 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 40 mins


  • 6 gluten-free tortillas (I used Udi's)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup pesto (I used store-bought)
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (about 3-4 oz pre-grated)


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. 2. Add diced sweet potato to a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet and spray with coconut or olive oil.
  3. 3. Bake for 25 mins.
  4. 4. While sweet potato is baking, add chicken breasts to a large pot and fill with water until chicken is covered with 1 inch of water.
  5. 5. Bring water to a boil and once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and partially cover with lid. Let simmer for 10 mins.
  6. 6. Remove chicken from water and shred with two forks.
  7. 7. Place chicken in a large bowl and add pesto. Stir until all chicken is coated.
  8. 8. Once sweet potato is ready, take a 1/3 of it and place on one tortilla. Using the back of a fork mash sweet potato to make a thin layer.
  9. 9. Add 1/2 cup of chicken and top with 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Cover with another tortilla.
  10. 10. Repeat to make 2 other quesadillas.
  11. 11. Place 1 tortilla at a time in a large pan and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has begun to melt. Flip and cook for another 2 mins.
  12. 12. Repeat for two other quesadillas.
  13. 13. Serve warm or store in refrigerator for several days.



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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    February 23, 2014 at 5:19 am

    LOL…dude we’re twinning, I grew up with the ‘no pork rule’ with mum being Muslim but I still ate it out and bought bacon once I moved out too 😉

    This quesadilla is stuffed with all my favourites…except the sweet potatoes. But for you, I’d face that…rational food fear. 😉
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Spill it, Sundays #13- Book Edition

  • Reply
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
    February 23, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Nom to this recipe! Your recipe failures still look amazing to me 🙂

    I don’t think it is a food fear more of a food opinion about choc and mint always staying their separate ways but you knew that one already 😉

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    February 23, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I grew up without ham and pork chops as well and to this day, have never had either one!
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…My Kind Of Plant-Based Power Bowl

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    February 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I still think the pictures are gorgeous, thrown together or otherwise. 🙂
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…Is it spring yet? {weekly plan}

  • Reply
    Tina Muir
    February 23, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Those look AHHHHmazing!!!! I love all of the ingredients in there, you have blown my mind with the combination! I am so glad you ended up with this! I want it right now! Perfect recovery fuel too! Thanks!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Sleep Struggles and Training Update 2/16-2/22

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    February 23, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Yeast… always and forever yeast. I want to make bread, pizza dough, and cinnamon buns, but yeast intimidates me. I successfully made cinnamon buns -once- but it was completely stressful and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to subject myself to that again 😆
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. link love 2/23 .

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    February 23, 2014 at 8:27 am

    well, failure worked out pretty well for you in this case 😉 I say you need to try pulled pork again though…because that stuff is too amazing not to have around.
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Weekly Eats and Workouts 02/23.

  • Reply
    Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner
    February 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Do you realize how much I love sweet potatoes…annnd pesto?? Such a great combo!
    Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner recently posted…Whole 30: Week 3

  • Reply
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey
    February 23, 2014 at 9:13 am

    These look delicious!! And I love that I don’t have to make the tortilla and pesto from scratch! This looks like a really simple and easy meal that I think I’ll be making next week for lunch 🙂
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…An Afternoon in Philadelphia

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food
    February 23, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Yum, these look awesome! I’ll try just about anything at least once so I can’t think of any food fears!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…Spill it Sunday- Book Edition

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    February 23, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Looks like the fastest photo shoot went great and now I want these quesadillas for lunch! They sound terrific!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted…Super Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I don’t like cooking meat PERIOD. I’m a vegetarian and I don’t mind when other people EAT meat… I just can’t stand cooking it – BLECH!

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    February 23, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I’d totally make a pesto quesadilla! It’s not even 8 am here but that sounds SO GOOD!!!
    Alex @ Kenzie Life recently posted…Magic in Mystra: The Day in Greece That Changed My Life

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I actually really freaking love when a recipe goes WAYY different than planned, but turns out just as epic. It’s like a mystery. These look good, and while I don’t eat meat at all..I would definitely go for the chicken over the pork. What..WHAT am I saying!? They look tasty…end of story.
    Brittany recently posted…Discover Portland: The Coffee Scene

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Let’s not start with me and irrational food fears, because it’s most foods. I get anxiety if there aren’t vegetables. I have a deep fear of scurvy. I had the best pork of my life last night… omg. And I have to make these when I get home – I’ve done pumpkin in a quesadilla but never sweet potato. And never sweet potato + pesto. Why are you such a genius?
    Cassie recently posted…Now Trending [2]

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      February 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      why do we have the same irrational fears?? I legit would call C everyday to ask him if he ate vegetables because I didn’t want him to develop scurvy.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    February 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Everything happens for a reason and this was for a great reason 🙂
    Heather @ Run Like a G! recently posted…My “Facebook” Decision

  • Reply
    Emily @smilemilegirl
    February 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Oh I’m drooling. These look so easy and delicious!! Yum!! Bookmarked. (:
    Emily @smilemilegirl recently posted…The Little Things

  • Reply
    Becky @ Olives n Wine
    February 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Blech, I’ve never been a huge fan of pork myself. I just don’t really like the flavor! The only thing I like is a pork chop recipe that my mom makes 🙂 As for irrational food fears, I used to hate/be fearful of mushrooms but I honestly am not super picky in the realm of food so I don’t think I have anything to contribute to that question 😉
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted…National Pancake Month + Pancake Muffins

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    February 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Burnt loins?? What a travesty! I used to love me some pulled pork sammies back in the day. I freaking love quesadillas and I really don’t know why I never make them. Such a quick and easy din!
    Alexis @ Hummusapien recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I would eat these over pork ANY DAY!! Im not a big fan of pork either, but I have had some tenderloin before that was pretty good. These however, are totally rocking my world.
    Kat recently posted…[Super] Thick Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I’d say the risk yielded a delicious-looking reward! I am really digging the sweet potato + pesto combo.
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves recently posted…Fascinating Friday Links #25 + Hockey Drama

  • Reply
    Kaitlyn @ Live Run Coffee
    February 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I CAN’T WAIT to try these. All of my favorites, sweet potatoes, pesto and cheese… rolled into one?! Um, I’m sold. Great blog by the way!
    Kaitlyn @ Live Run Coffee recently posted…Sweet Green Recharge Smoothie

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    February 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    My failures never turn into successes… they just end up with the food in the garbage and me making a tuna sandwich for dinner hahaha. These look fantastic though! I love pesto and I love sweet potatoes, but I’ve never thought to combine the two.
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…Lemon soy grilled tofu

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    February 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I never thought to pair sweet potato and pesto. What a great idea!
    Luv What You Do recently posted…Did I set January Goals?

  • Reply
    nicole @ FruitnFitness
    February 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Brilliant idea! I love pesto and sweet potatoes and while I have eaten pesto on sweet potatoes before have never thought of combining it in a quesadilla. I am making this next time I make pesto!
    nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted…Friday Confessions

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    What? Why aren’t these in my life yet. Seriously. As for irrational food fears Im going to go with full fat cheese. Seriously I know it tastes so much better but I can’t seem to stop buying the part skim. Oh well I will get past it.
    Lyric recently posted…{Healthy} Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      February 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Oh Lyric full fat cheese really is so much better! When I eat cheese I go for the good stuff 😉

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Femme Fitale
    February 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Haha!! Never do my recipe failures ever turn to success. These look perfect and I always love your photography!
    Kelly @ Femme Fitale recently posted…Healthy Happenings: Elevate Vitality’s Cassie Mendoza-Jones

  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Um, no I cannot tell this was the fastest photo shoot of all time because these quesadillas still look good! Bummer about the pulled pork btw >:O

  • Reply
    Lexi @ Lexi's Clean Kitchen
    February 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

    These look AMAZING D!

  • Reply
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com
    February 24, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    For the record – that cross section photo of that quesadilla with its filling shown should be given an NC-17 rating – so scrumptious! I am using pesto in my next quesadilla ofr sure!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted…Lentil & Tofu Stew with Roots Hummus!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Looks yummy! Did you buy a pork shoulder or Boston Butt? I know it sounds crazy, but those are the best cuts for pulled pork. 🙂
    Cassie recently posted…Make It On Monday #8

  • Reply
    February 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I love how you say sweet potato and pesto chicken quesadilla was supposed to be pork enchilada. How long did you put the slow cooker on for? These quesadillas look so amazing and they are proof that you are a rockstar even when you fail!
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Hunter Valley

  • Reply
    Consuelo - Honey & Figs
    February 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

    My last kitchen failure didn’t taste great… at all. Ahh I cringe when I remember it. That stuff ((a despearate try on healthy unrefined frosting that I’m never trying again)) was hideous :–((( But your kitchen fail looks great. Oooohh I want these!
    Consuelo – Honey & Figs recently posted…Clean Eating Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      February 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      healthy frosting never tastes good! At least it definitely doesn’t compare to buttercream!

  • Reply
    Selena @ thenutritiouskitchen.com
    May 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    So I just stumbled upon this recipe while looking (stalking?) through your posts and OMG how did I ever miss this delicious looking thing of a quesadilla? So simple and anything with pesto = best decision ever. Pinning!
    Selena @ thenutritiouskitchen.com recently posted…Apple Butter Banana Bread Muffins

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      May 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Even I forgot about this recipe! I’m gonna pick up tortillas and make this again! So yum. Hope you’re well hun!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

    This looks awesome! I love it!
    DessertForTwo recently posted…Comment on Lemon Aioli Chicken Salad with Pistachios by Erin | The Law Student’s Wife

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