Let’s start with the concept that quesadillas are wonderful. They’re like grilled cheese, with flair. This lovely recipe comes from A Fit and Spicy Life, the baby of a prolific blogger named Mellissa who lives a cosmopolitan life in Minnesota while blogging about food, exercise, and restaurants.
One of the things I learned in the process of making many (let’s not discuss how many exactly) grilled cheese sandwiches in college was the importance of a hot, ideally cast iron, pan. The same holds true for quesadillas. If you make them on the stovetop, heat your pan thoroughly! A chef once told me a hot pan is a non-stick pan. Feel free to stuff theses ‘wiches with as many vegetables as you can; I was able to fit about a cup into ones made with 6″ corn tortillas.
This is also the type of recipe that is easy to downsize for one. Just use half an onion, a couple of mushrooms, and an ounce or two of spinch. Or, plan for leftovers.
New to SRC? My regular readers will know that Secret Recipe Club is essentially as recipe exchange I participate in monthly. There are some fun ladies (and some gents) in the group, with wide-ranging tastes and styles. Here’s recap of some of what I’ve made. Click on the blue frog at the bottom to explore what some of the other members have made for today.
This filling is a lovely, all purpose mixture to use in… everything. If you have leftovers, toss it with pasta, bake/steam an egg on top, mix with quinoa and a touch of lemon juice, scoop it onto bruschetta, or add chickpeas (or white beans).
1 small onion (the original recipe calls for 1/2 red onion)
8 oz button mushrooms
6 oz spinach (use either fresh or frozen leaf spinach– the kind in the bag, not the kind in the box)
2 c shredded monteray/pepper jack cheese (or cheddar, if that’s what’s in the fridge)
Corn tortillas (8-10)
Salsa, to taste
Optional: 1 clove garlic, minced
Slice the onion. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add a little oil. When hot, add the onion. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms, stirring the onion occasionally. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and mushrooms are soft. Add the garlic, if using, and spinach. If you are using fresh spinach, add it in two batches. Frozen spinach be added all at once. Cook until wilted (defrosted).
Option 1: Head a griddle (cast-iron! or non-stick) over medium high heat. Lightly oil it. Prepare the quesadilla(s) by spreading a few tablespoons cheese on the bottom tortilla, adding a layer of vegetables, adding a little more cheese, and topping off with a second tortilla. Cook until the tortilla starts to brown (3 minutes, depending on your stove), flip, and cook for another few minutes. Serve with salsa, your favorite black bean salad, or something as simple as slices of peppers (as Mellissa suggests!). The griddle is super-quick and more energy efficient if you are only making one or two, but the oven is better if you are cooking for a group.
Option 2: Preheat over to 400 F. Lightly brush one side of the tortillas with oil, and assemble as described above on baking sheets with the oiled sides of the tortillas on the outside. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping after about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Concerned about the cheese? You can a) leave it out. Substitute mashed black beans with a little olive oil so that they hold together or b) use it scantily. The cheese certainly adds flavor, but the key role here is glue. Mashed avocado or guacamole might also work, if the issue is non-dairy rather than calories.
One more note: I’ve become a fan of Mission’s extra-thin yellow corn tortillas. They are pretty flexible, which makes them easy to use, and for those watching calories, a little lower in calories. They’re also better cold than many other brands of tortillas I’ve tried. If you’re considering trying to pack these for lunches, see if you can pick up a package in your area to give them a try. Oddly enough, I’ve only found them at Target in my area.