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Migraine Friendly Recipes: Spicy Quesadillas

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 shallots, chopped
2 tblsps butter
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsps green olive juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tblsps flour
4 or 5 flour tortillas

In a medium saucepan combine green pepper, jalapeno peppers (for less spice remove the seeds first), garlic and shallots, along with butter and one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are tender. While vegetables are heating, sauté chicken pieces, salt, cayenne pepper, green olive juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat just until chicken is completely cooked, but still moist. When vegetables are ready in the saucepan, whisk flour and chicken stock together with a fork, then add to vegetables to make a paste in the pan, stirring with the fork. Add milk slowly, constantly stirring, until mixture in the pan is at a thick queso consistency (keep it very thick so the quesadilla isn’t too runny). Add chicken to the mixture. Stir and remove from heat.

Heat a frying pan or griddle to medium-high heat. Fill flour tortillas on one side with the mixture, then fold the other side on top (the flour tortillas will be folded in half over the vegetable mixture). Grill each side of the quesadilla on the griddle. Serve hot.

Heidi Gunderson is the author of Migraine-Free Cooking!, a trigger-free cookbook for migraine sufferers, endorsed by Dr. David Buchholz of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has made it her mission to help others lead a life free of pain through healthy lifestyle choices. Heidi has a degree in education, and has recently taken science courses at a nearby college with plans to earn a degree in Food Science in the future. This is a change from her original course of action to be a dietitian, because she believes a degree in food science will allow her to market migraine-friendly food to the general public. Heidi has been mentioned in numerous migraine blogs and online sites. She is also mentioned on the Migraine Research Foundation website and has had her recipes featured in the April 2011 issue of Today’s Diet & Nutrition Magazine.

You can find more of Heidi’s recipes along with information for purchasing her book and Dr. Buchholz’s book on her websites &

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Heidi Gunderson
    8 years ago

    Dairy has been given a bad reputation, and so has whole grain. However, if you read books by Michael Pollen and other nutrition/processed food experts, you’ll see that it isn’t really the dairy or the grain that’s the problem, but it’s the way they are being processed in today’s industrialized food system. Some products are more safe than others. Think about it this way when choosing fatty foods (dairy included): fat adds flavor, so the more fat that has been removed, the more processed the food is, and the more unhealthy additives there are in it to make it taste good (MSG included). Full-fat dairy is your best option, as least processed as possible. Fermentation may trigger migraine, so aged cheeses should be avoided. When we start adding too many foods to an elimination diet, we become stressed and overwhelmed, and the diet seems impossible. Grains are not a problem for most migraine sufferers, unless they have a problem with wheat gluten, and then the elimination diet won’t help them. They must follow a gluten-free diet, which is completely different. Fresh-baked yeast bread contains tyramine due to freshly risen yeast, so wait at least 24 hours to eat it. Please don’t confuse wheat gluten with foods that have high amounts of free glutamate. These foods (tomatoes, peas, mushrooms) can cause problems for some migraine sufferers, but not the majority. Again, with tomatoes, it’s the way they have been processed or the way they have been seasoned that usually triggers, not the tomatoes themselves. A migraine can affect blood vessels in different parts of the brain, causing different symptoms, including, but not limited to, sinus symptoms, mood changes and vertigo, and even upset bowels and indigestion. I’m glad you are both feeling better and are both changing your diets. I just thought I would add to your awesome discussion! Spices are okay as long as they aren’t mixed (seasoned salt is a mixed spice), and they will add variety to the palate. And yes, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil are all okay to use. Avoid coconuts though, as they contain tyramine.

  • Krissy Edge
    8 years ago

    Eliminating all dairy has dramatically decreased the severity and frequency of my migraines with aura.

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