Exploring Quesadillas: How Many Ways Can You Make Them?

Updated on August 11, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

Quesadilla with chicken
Quesadilla with chicken | Source

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)

  1. Spinach and goat cheese quesadilla
  2. Quesadilla margherita
  3. Jewish deli quesadilla
  4. Greek salad quesdadilla

main dish (whole meal)

  1. Philly cheese steak quesdilla
  2. Ham and cheese quesadilla
  3. Cheeseburger quesadilla
  4. Chicken bacon ranch quesadilla
  5. Thanksgiving quesadilla
  6. Vegetarian black bean quesadilla

dessert (something sweet)

  1. PBJ quesadilla
  2. The Elvis quesadilla
  3. Bananas Foster quesadilla
  4. 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.

And here are a few more ideas:

The fresh flavors of a pizza margherita tucked inside a spinach quesadilla.

Quesadilla Margherita

  • 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)

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?)

Cheeseburger quesadilla
Cheeseburger quesadilla | Source

Cheeseburger Quesadilla

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)

Thanksgiving Quesadilla

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)

Quesadilla with vegetables
Quesadilla with vegetables | Source

Dessert (Something Sweet)

PBJ Quesadilla

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.

S'mores Quesadilla
S'mores Quesadilla | Source

Smores Quesadilla

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


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bravewarrior - Oh yes! Ooey-gooey-melty cheese. In my Heaven, I will be able to eat as much cheese as I want...and will have all of my kitties with me.

      Thanks for your continued support. If you happen to try one of these, please let me know.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 14 months ago from Central Florida

      I love quesadillas! Anything with ooey-gooey-melty cheese is fine with me. Spinach is one of my favorite veggies. I think spinach (not wilted), baby bella mushrooms and provolone cheese would be delicious stuffed inside a spinach or flour tortilla and pan cooked to crispy melty perfection. Now I want one!

      I always get hungry when I read your posts, Diva.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - I have not yet had breakfast, and all of a sudden the 12-grain toast doesn't sound all that great. Now I'm hungry for a quesadilla with salsa. Well, it's veggies, so that's a good thing, right?

      Hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Billl, normally I would say "no", but for you I will make an exception. Substitute away.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      That's wonderful Eric. Please let me know which ones you favor.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm all over this dish, minus the spinach tortillas. LOL I can substitute, right? :) Happy Monday, Linda!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

      Great ideas! I am going to have to try some of these. I do a breakfast quesadilla with a thin spread of salsa and some cheese inside and either crumbled fried bacon or sausage. Then dip in sour cream and serve with lettuce.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sorry Linda that comment got cut off -- fat fingers I suppose.

      I was referring to my little one but it just so happens I have recently had these wonders in DC, San Fran and Bend Or. Each with their own flare. Bought tortillas today to try out your recipes. Actually perfect for leftovers.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hola Eric. Como estas? (Sorry, I can't find the symbols to make that totally correct in Spanish). You have been in my prayers, knowing that you were travelling over this Thanksgiving holiday. It is SOOO good to hear from now.

      Yes, I'm sure your son (you're talking about the little one, right?) considers them a Latino pizza. I cannot disagree. Are you willing to give a few other versions (or at least one other) a try?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hola mi amiga, the quesadilla is a staple around these parts. My son calls it a Latino pizza. (being a conaseur

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks Kristen. Go bold and let me know what you do. Would love your feedback.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 14 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Carb Diva, great lens. I usually have the plain cheese quesadilla and put it in my toaster oven for 8 minutes. Now you gave ideas to be adventurous and give it a try this winter.