Vegetarian Eggplant Quesadilla Recipe
Taking a glance through my collection of recipes, you'll quickly discover that I am no vegetarian. There's simply no way around it: I enjoy meat. While there's no future plans to convert to a meatless diet, I still provide great care and attention to my veggies. I feel that we, as omnivores, should uphold the same integrity when cooking vegetables as we do meat. Sadly, in meat-loving societies, this principle is lost, and veggies meet their unpalatable fate as steamed mush.
The blank canvas of endless possibility is overlooked, but things are changing! Today's eggplant quesadilla highlights the functionality and versatility of veggies, while making eggplant the featured ingredient. It's an instant favorite among vegetarians and a pleasant change of pace for meat-eaters! Eggplant in quesadillas is a hit!
About the Flavors and Taste
While I realize that quesadillas are typically considered a part of Mexican cuisine, I can't help but wander off and incorporate some other regional flair. You'll find that these quesadillas are a half-and-half combination of Mediterranean and Mexican flavors.
Also, eggplant is just one of those veggies that starts off looking great, and the more you cook it, the more it loses eye appeal. This is really where the "don't judge a book by it's cover" comes into play. Just because it doesn't look exquisite doesn't mean that it won't taste fantastic!
- 2 purple eggplants
- 1 cup fresh dill
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- olive oil, for drizzling
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 flour tortillas
Step 1: Make the Filling
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. using a sharp knife, score the eggplant in a diamond pattern. Score to a depth of a quarter inch.
- Poke basil into one half of the eggplant and dill into the other. Season thoroughly with sea salt and pepper.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil and then fold the two halves back together. Wrap with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- When ready, unwrap and begin to scoop out the flesh. Working with a hot eggplant is much easier than letting it cool.
- Chop the eggplant and herb mixture well.
- In a small pan set to medium-high heat, add one teaspoon olive oil and let it get hot.
- Add chopped eggplant to the pan and stir. Let cook for no more than a minute. This process releases any excess moisture still carried by the eggplant.
- Remove from heat and let cool. In the meantime, grate/finely cube your Parmesan cheese and thinly slice your onion.
- Add Parmesan to the eggplant mixture once it has cooled off.
Step 2: Assemble and Cook the Quesadillas
- Preheat a skillet on the stove. Medium heat will be fine.
- Butter the outside of two tortillas.
- Place one down in the skillet. Add onions and top with the eggplant/cheese mixture. Finish with the top tortilla.
- Press down to get a good seal. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until a golden brown color has developed.
- Let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting into wedges.
Need Dipping Sauce?
No quesadilla is quite complete until there's a dipping sauce to seal the deal. For my sauce, I decided to keep it simple and light. It's something you'll enjoy for sure!
- 1 cup sour cream
- handful of fresh basil
- handful of fresh dill
- pinch of chili flakes
- zest of half a lemon
- squeeze of lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. The longer it sits, the better the flavor!
Enjoy Your Eggplant!
These eggplant quesadillas are a touch drab in appearance but bursting with flavor! The bits of eggplant are perfectly seasoned and very tender. The double use of both dill and basil in the eggplant and dip works to freshen the dish and excite the palate. Synchronously, the saltiness of the Parmesan rounds out the sweetness of the wilted onion. What more can I really say? It's one of those "thinking outside the box" style recipes that's worth giving a go. Thank you for reading. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated!
On a final note, my sympathy goes out to those vegetarians who do not eat dairy or cheese. I'm not quite sure the recipe would be the same without. On a more positive note, the eggplant is still wonderful by itself. Enjoy!