Zesty quesadillas with a side of chips and a cold glass of beer are the perfect afternoon snacks. Quesadillas can be made from all sorts of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. But the key to making really good quesadillas is adding some kick to your ingredients. Sure, you can throw some Kraft American cheese in between some tortillas, microwave it, and call it a day. But I know you’re better than that.
Cumin and cayenne pepper really add flavor to quesadillas that would otherwise be boring. Caramelized onions and bell peppers also add sweetness to this often boring dish. You can serve your quesadillas with sides of salsa, guacamole, cool sour cream, or shreds of lettuce.
Some other ingredients you might consider using include: corn, cotilla cheese, grilled steak, roasted red peppers, pesto… whatever you want. You can use flour tortillas, corn tortillas, whole wheat or whole grain tortillas, or whatever.
Here’s what I used:
Whole grain tortillas, onions, red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, green onions, garlic, chopped cooked chicken, Mexican four cheese blend (consider cheddar, Monterey jack, Asadero, or pepper jack cheeses), cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Now chop up your veggies. Any kind of bell peppers work here. Dice them
Now chop up some onions and cry.
In a pan, add some oil and throw in your veggies and some minced garlic.
Add in some salt.
Some freshly ground black pepper.
Some cayenne pepper. woowheeee.
And lots of cumin. Mhm, mhm. This will add a smokiness you’ve been craving.
… just a little more cayenne, if you please. Ouch, it burns.
Now chop up your green onions.
Chop up some cilantro while you’re at it.
Throw the green onions and cilantro to the veggies that have been nicely browned for ten minutes.
Then turn off the heat. You want the green onions and cilantro to stay nice and crisp.
Grab some tortillas. This is whole grain tortilla. Yay.
Add 1/4 cup of cheese. Or more if you want it very cheesey.
Add some chicken to your liking.
Add some cooked veggies. How colorful. It’s like a party.
Add s’more cheese.
Fold it in half.
Now transfer it into a hot, clean pan. Don’t add oil if you want to be healthy. If you want it to be really crisp, go ahead and fry the quesadilla in a teaspoon of oil.
Each side will cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat. Tent with foil so the cheese melts.
Using a huge spatula and your other hand, flip the quesadilla carefully. Try not to spill!
That’s what I call nicely golden brown. Mhm.
Cook it for another 2-3 minutes until it’s brown and crisp. Like this.
Check it out. Not too cheesey, not too decadent, but with enough packed flavor to give you something to chew on. Enjoy!
Total time: 15 minutes
Prep: 3 min
Cook: 12 min
Yield: 4 quesadillas
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about ½ a medium onion)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (one bell pepper)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
4 large tortillas (whole wheat or flour)
2 cups grated cheese (e.g., Mexican four cheese blend)
1 cup chopped or shredded chicken (about 1 chicken breast)
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook ingredients, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, for about 8 minutes. Stir in green onions and cilantro and transfer mixture onto plate. Keep pan over medium-high heat, and wipe pan down with a paper towel to remove any remaining oil.
To prepare a quesadilla, sprinkle ¼ cup of cheese on one half of tortilla. Sprinkle ¼ cup of chicken, then a quarter of bell pepper and onion mixture. Sprinkle ¼ cup of cheese over all ingredients and fold tortilla in half. Repeat to make 3 additional quesadillas.
Transfer one quesadilla to hot pan and place foil over top. Brown first side of quesadilla for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly brown and crisp. Using a spatula and one hand to keep quesadilla together, flip quesadilla on other side. Place foil over pan and cook second side for another 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately. Serve with salsa, if desired.