Exploring Quesadillas: How Many Ways Can You Make Them?
What Do You Think of This Idea?
Meatless Monday. Taco Tuesday. Pizza Friday.
Why not a Quesadilla Wednesday?
OK, so the phrase doesn't exactly roll off the tongue; it's a little clunky-sounding, but for many of us in the USA, making it to Wednesday is reason for celebration--the week is half over and in just two days you have a weekend!
Quesadillas are quick and easy (even the kids can help), and talk about versatile! Quesadillas made with small tortillas and a simple filling can be an appetizer or "small bite." Add soup or a side salad to round it out.
More substantial fillings can turn this traditional Mexican dish into a meal. And a few inventive cooks have even taken the concept a step further and created an array of dessert quesadillas.
But Wait, There's More. What About THIS Idea?
As I began to write and research this hub, I had an "ah-ha" moment; some might call it an epiphany. Is it possible that anything you might sandwich between two slices of bread could, with a bit of imagination, a dash of daring and a smidgen of foolhardiness be placed between two tortillas and become the next taste sensation in the quesadilla world??!!
Let's give it a try.
What Is a Quesadilla?
In case you have not heard of them, the basic quesadilla is a tortilla (flour or corn) filled with melted cheese.
In fact, the word quesadilla means "little cheesy thing". But cheese and tortilla are just the beginning. The foods and flavors that can be folded into a quesadilla are limited only by your imagination.
The Basic Method for Making a Quesadilla
Take a fresh tortilla, place a generous piece of cheese in the center, and fold it over as you would a turnover. Place in a hot, ungreased skillet and cook lightly, turing often until the cheese is melted.
Isn't that easy? Now that you understand how to make a simple quesadilla, let's explore some other flavor combinations.
Here is a list of the quesadillas I have lined up for you:
appetizers (small bites)
- Spinach and goat cheese quesadilla
- Quesadilla margherita
- Jewish deli quesadilla
- Greek salad quesdadilla
main dish (whole meal)
- Philly cheese steak quesdilla
- Ham and cheese quesadilla
- Cheeseburger quesadilla
- Chicken bacon ranch quesadilla
- Thanksgiving quesadilla
- Vegetarian black bean quesadilla
dessert (something sweet)
- PBJ quesadilla
- The Elvis quesadilla
- Bananas Foster quesadilla
- Smores quesadilla
Appetizers (Small Bites)
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Martha Rose Shulman is a cookbook author and writes the "Recipes for Health" column for the New York Times. She created a simple vegetarian quesadilla featuring easy-to-find ingredients. With just a bag of spinach, a few corn tortillas, and a bit of crumbled goat cheese you can have this meal ready in just 10 minutes.
- Spinach and Goat Cheese Quesadillas Recipe - NYT Cooking
Many types of greens would be delicious in these quesadillas Spinach is the quickest to wilt and the easiest to find.
And here are a few more ideas:
The fresh flavors of a pizza margherita tucked inside a spinach quesadilla.
- spinach tortillas (they don't taste like spinach, but I love the color)
- fresh sliced mozzarella (fresh,not the rubbery ball of cheese)
- fresh sliced roma tomatoes (seeds removed)
- fresh basil leaves, torn (or basil pesto)
Anyone who has been to New York City will tell you that one of the best bites on the planet is a freshly baked bagel with lox and a schmeer of cream cheese. I give you the...
Jewish Deli Quesadilla
- whole wheat flour tortilla (or you could use a plain flour tortilla)
- cold smoked salmon, sliced thin (you want cold smoked, moist salmon)
- whipped cream cheese (the glue for your quesadilla)
- red onion, sliced thin (a little heat)
- chopped fresh dill (it goes with salmon)
- capers, rinsed and drained (optional but I like their briny taste)
I love the contrast of flavors and textures in a Greek salad--briny Kalamata olives, garlicky tzatziki sauce, tangy Feta, and sweet tomatoes.
Greek Salad Quesadilla
- spinach tortillas (green)
- chopped Kalamata olives (salty and briny)
- Feta cheese, crumbled (it's not a Greek without it)
- cherry tomatoes, halved (sweet and pretty)
- tzatziki sauce (see inset)
- Easy Tzatziki Recipe : Claire Robinson : Food Network
Get this all-star, easy-to-follow Easy Tzatziki recipe from Claire Robinson.
Main Dish (Meal in a Tortilla)
Cheese Steak Quesadillas
All of the flavors you enjoy in a Philly cheese steak sandwich can easily be placed inside a tortilla. Imagine how gooey and melty that cheese will be!
- 1 lb beef sirloin steak, cut in thin strips, seasoned with salt and pepper, and quickly stir fried in a skillet (gotta have beef, seasoned and cooked quick so it doesn't dry out)
- 1 onion and one green bell pepper, thinly sliced and quickly stir fried in a skillet (veggies)
- Provolone cheese (melty gooey holds everything in place)
- flour tortillas (of course)
Ham and Cheese Quesadilla
Move over Breakfast Jack and Egg McMuffin. If you can scramble an egg, you can make this easy breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) at home.
- 1 egg, scrambled (1 for each quesadilla)
- finely diced cooked ham (it's breakfast)
- grated Cheddar cheese (melty yummy)
- minced green onions (also known as spring onions)
- flour tortillas (what else?)
Yammie of Yammiesnoshery.com is a photographer and food blogger--originally from the States but living in Berlin with her husband while he finishes his degree in international business. Her photographs are amazing--I can almost taste that "cheeseburger".
Chicken Bacon Ranch
This one has been popular as a pizza; why not try it in a tortilla?
- cooked shredded chicken (leftover from a rotisserie chicken?)
- crisp cooked bacon (everything's better with bacon)
- grated Cheddar cheese (melty goodness)
- creamy ranch dressing (just a drizzle)
- minced green onions (for a little kick)
My husband thinks the best day of the year is the day AFTER Thanksgiving, when he can build a sandwich of turkey, mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce. I think this version might make him even happier:
- whole wheat tortilla (we're being healthy, right?)
- sliced cooked turkey (because)
- cranberry sauce (just a little bit)
- whipped cream cheese (to hold everything together)
Vegetarian Black Bean Quesadilla
This one is so satisfying, I don't think you'll miss the meat.
- whole wheat flour tortilla (fiber)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (for fiber, and protein)
- fresh or frozen corn, thawed (veggies!)
- diced fresh tomato (more veggies)
- chopped fresh cilantro (herby floral notes)
- Monterrey cheese, grated (melty yumminess)
- diced avocado (creamy yumminess)
Dessert (Something Sweet)
Sweet and salty is the "in" flavor, and the school lunch sandwich of your youth certainly fills that bill. Imagine peanut butter, warm and drippy and just a drizzle of grape jelly in the center. Go ahead, be decadent and dip those quesadilla wedges in a bit of chocolate syrup. I promise, no one is watching.
- flour tortillas
- creamy peanut butter (not natural)
- grape jelly (or raspberry, if you insist)
- chocolate syrup (just for fun)
The Elvis Quesadilla
I know I don't have to explain this one to you.
- flour tortillas
- creamy peanut butter
- bananas, sliced
- chocolate chips
Bananas Foster Quesadilla
Foodfanatic.com is a platform for serious cooks who want to share their creations with the world. Tanya Schroeder posted this recipe for Bananas Foster Quesadillas. It doesn't hurt that she tops this creation with whipped cream and additional caramel sauce.
Smalltownwoman's blog has wonderful ideas--imagine the flavors of your campout smores tucked into a warm tortilla.
And What Are Your Ideas?
Has this hub made you think about other ways that a quesadilla can be crafted? I would love to hear your ideas. Talk to me in the comments section below. And if you're not sure about amounts and proportions, I can help. You just might help me add to this hub, or even start a new one.
I look forward to hearing from all of you!
© 2016 Linda Lum