If you are familiar with Mexican cuisine to any extent, chances are you have heard of a quesadilla. But a less well-known dish is Papadia. Now, from a distance, these two dishes share some notable similarities. But are they the same thing just named differently?
A quesadilla is a dish originating in Mexican cuisine while Papadia is an invention of Papa John’s, inspired by a similar Italian dish. Quesadilla is like a folded tortilla sandwich but you can make them into full-moon shapes. Papadias are a cross between pizza and a sandwich that is always folded.
In this article, we are going to go over the differences as well as the similarities between Papadia and quesadillas. We will look at their origin, preparation, variation, appearance, nutrition, etc.
Papadia vs. Quesadilla: Differences
To make things easier for you, I made a table that sums up their differences, but continue reading to explore more about both of them.
|Origin||Mexico||Papa John’s food chain|
|Bread type||Tortilla||Pizza bread|
|Preparation||Similar to a grilled sandwich. On the stove.||Similar to making a pizza. In the oven.|
|Variations||Can be sweet and savory||Always a savory dish|
|Vegan-friendly||Can be made vegan-friendly||Not vegan-friendly|
Quesadilla is one of several Mexican dishes that come packaged inside a tortilla. Unlike tacos, however, the tortilla is cooked at the same time as the filling. The roots of this dish go back to colonial Mexico.
Compared to quesadillas, Papadia is a much more recent invention. In fact, it is as recent as 2020, when the American pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s announced the newest item on their menu – a cross between a pizza and a sandwich, called Papadia.
The inspiration behind this dish goes back to where all modern pizzas originate from – Italy. To be more precise, this dish takes heavy inspiration from a Northern Italy dish called “piadina”. The difference is that Papadia always utilizes a typical pizza bread, whereas most piadina is made with a thinner flatbread.
The basic formula of a quesadilla is a tortilla with a filling that is cooked in a pan. The filling almost always includes some form of cheese, which is accompanied frequently by some combination of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients.
After filling one side of an uncooked tortilla with your desired filling, the other half is folded to make a semilunar shape. Alternatively, you can make quesadillas by using two full tortillas of similar size and the filling goes in between the two layers of bread. It is common for people to cut the semicircular or circular quesadillas into large wedges and then eat them.
After you prepare it, you bake it in a pan on the stove.
Papa John’s is a pizza restaurant first and foremost. As such, their latest invention, the Papadias, is a concept that combines both a pizza and the convenience of a sandwich.
Papa John’s uses pizza dough that is a bit smaller and thinner than their regular ones. This helps to divide the bread into Papadia sizes. Then the dough is topped with various toppings of meat, onions, vegetables, and sauces. Then they place the dough inside a pizza oven and cook it for the same time as a regular Papa John’s pizza.
Finally, after taking it out of the oven, the Papadia is folded in half to recreate the classic look of a piadina.
Quesadillas, other than being a fun name to say, is a delicious combination of cheese, meat, and vegetables, all of which are wrapped in a toasty tortilla. Of course, you can change the recipe and add in your desired fillings as you like. You can make it with any meat or you can go for a complete vegetarian route. The flavors will change accordingly.
Papadias, in contrast, have four distinct variations. But they all have a noticeably thicker texture due to the use of pizza bread. Pizza bread is always thicker, and chewier compared to a tortilla.
Although they have the same shape and outline, you can tell a traditional quesadilla apart from a Papadia just by looking at it.
For example, a quesadilla usually has tortilla bread, which is thinner and flatter than pizza bread. So, a Papadia is noticeably thicker compared to a quesadilla. Also, quesadilla usually is cut up into smaller wedges and then served. But this may not be the case all the time.
Another thing you can look out for is the color of the crust. The color of the crust on a Papadia usually becomes much darker than a quesadilla.
Depending on the region, quesadilla has few notable variations. Here are some of them:
- Original Mexican Quesadilla – in most regions of Mexico, people prepare quesadilla by warming a tortilla, filling it with various ingredients, and folding it in half. Then the quesadilla is heated until all of the cheese has melted. The cheese used here is typically Oaxaca cheese.
- Quesadilla in the United States – The quesadilla in the US is similar to its Mexican counterpart in most ways. Here, the cheese that is most common is Monterey jack. There is also a version of quesadilla where the filling is sandwiched between two flour tortillas.
- Desserts – while traditional quesadilla is a savory dish, there are many variations that turn it into a dessert. Chocolate quesadilla, caramel and marshmallow quesadilla, etc. are some of these recent inventions.
In contrast, Papadia is strictly a savory dish. The original line-up in a Papa John’s menu included 4 varieties:
- Italian – It has an Italian flatbread-style sandwich with Alfredo sauce, spicy Italian sausage, salami, mozzarella and banana peppers.
- Philly Cheesecake – It comes filled with sliced Philly steak, onions and green peppers, mozzarella, and Philly sauce. Comes served with a garlic sauce dipping cup.
- Grilled BBQ Chicken & Bacon – It is filled with grilled chicken, bacon, onions, and mozzarella cheese, drizzled with barbecue sauce; comes with a barbecue sauce dip.
- Meatball Pepperoni – A combination of spicy meatballs, pepperoni, pizza sauce, mozzarella, and classic Italian seasoning. Comes with a pizza sauce dip.
Since its launch, Papa John’s has come out with other variations such as crusted parmesan and grilled Buffalo chicken.
All of the Papadia has a calorie content between 900 to 1100 per serving.  The exact amount will vary depending on the type you ordered. They all have 40 to 50 grams of fat, most of which are saturated. They are high in cholesterol but protein as well.
The exact nutritional value of quesadilla is going to depend entirely on the ingredients you put in them. You can make them as healthy or as unhealthy as you want. Typically, a quesadilla has more vegetables and fewer calories than a typical Papadia.
Papadia vs. Quesadilla: Which Is Better?
In terms of convenience, a Papadia is better as you do not have to make it yourself. You just have to go to a Papa John’s or order one with their delivery service.
But in terms of flexibility, you can do a lot more with homemade quesadillas. You can make them as healthy as you want and change the taste to your liking.
Also, vegans and vegetarians do not have any options with Papadia. But they can make a purely vegetarian quesadilla.
Is Papadia a Folded Pizza?
Technically speaking, a Papadia is a folded pizza. It is made very similar to a regular pizza where you put various toppings on pizza dough and bake it in a pizza oven.
Is Papadia a Quesadilla?
Papadia is not a quesadilla nor is it inspired by one. A quesadilla uses flour tortilla while a Papadia uses regular pizza bread.
Is Papadia a Real Word?
The Papadia is an invention of Papa John’s. The dish that inspired Papadias is called “piadina”. So, the company came up with this name as it both pays homage to the original Italian dish as well as goes with the brand name of Papa John’s.