Mmmmmm…..quesadillas. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? It may be a bit dramatic to call it a perfect food, but my experience is that it gets pretty close. Aside from the virtually infinite variations, you can put together, these little pockets of goodness anywhere. They are versatile enough to please a crowd or satisfy the whole family for a quick weeknight dinner. Additionally, most any diet can be accommodated with the right combination. From vegan to low-fat, even hardcore keto followers can make the most of these if you can land on the right tortilla and believe me, there are an abundance of options out there for tortillas. Don’t even get me started on the fillings! You can jump on the farm-to-table revolution or tempt with a sweeter variety. Either way, the possibilities stretch as far as your imagination. My kids love fewer vegetables and more cheese. My friends prefer to have more vegetables to offset the guilt during our girls’ nights. I think we justify partaking of all the bubbly by bringing food. And speaking of bringing food, I took these to a Super Bowl party where even the burliest meat eaters gobbled it up, but you can take this veggie-filled delight to the company Christmas party, or if you are feeling really dainty, serve them up as an alternative to a tea sandwich. Based on their popularity at the football bonanza, though, it has become a tradition, and we have brought the vegetarian every year since. Feel free to add or take away any of your favorite veggies based on seasonal availability or individual taste, and the same goes for the cheese choices. Of course, I put my favorites in, but as I mentioned before, therein lies the beauty of this recipe – it is pretty simple to modify. And speaking of versatility, do not shy away from serving these up as a meal. Simply add a nice Greek side salad, jasmine rice or some roasted corn and voila! you have a well-rounded feast that even the kids will enjoy. Depending on what you have on hand, it is nice to serve these with a dollop of hummus or sour cream but they are chock full of flavor so if you have to forego the condiments, have no fear.
- Flour tortilla
- Fire roasted peppers, two large
- Chickpeas, one 14 oz can
- Tahini, 1/3 cup
- Garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
- Olive oil, two tablespoons
- Lemon juice, two tablespoons
- Purple onion, one
- Pitted Kalamata Olives, half cup
- Asiago cheese, half cup
- Feta cheese, half cup
- Baby spinach, one cup
Directions for roasted pepper hummus:
- In a food processor add two large fire roasted peppers.
- Add chickpeas.
- Add tahini.
- Add garlic powder
- Add salt.
- Add olive oil.
- Add lemon juice.
- Mix everything in the food processor for about 2 minutes or until the humus is smooth.
Directions for the quesadilla:
- Place tortilla on a cutting board.
- Spread the fire roasted pepper humus onto the tortilla.
- Add baby spinach as the second layer.
- Chop one purple onion into half rings and add to the tortilla.
- Roughly cut up the pitted kalamata olives and add to the tortilla.
- Grate the asiago cheese and add to the tortilla.
- Add feta cheese.
- Put another tortilla on top of all the ingredients.
- In a panini maker, coat it with cooking spray so that the panini doesn’t stick.
- Place the quesadilla in a panini maker for about a minute or two or until crispy.
- Take the quesadilla out and cut into 4’s.
- Garnish with sour cream and parsley.
*If you do not have tahini and/or chickpeas, substitute the combination with 1/2 cup hummus
Although you may have done it differently in the past, plan on folding these tortillas in half. This makes it easier to flip and, ultimately diminishes mess and waste, frustration and clean-up time. You can make these ahead too, since they are basically filled pockets in this version, versus the traditionally flimsy tortilla on top, tortilla on the bottom version of the past. Trust me, you’ll never go back.
A couple of additional tips:
Eyeball your cheese and veggie mixture ahead of time so that you can portion both out for six tortillas. Use a pizza cutter to slice the quesadilla into 4 portions. These re-warm very well, just pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and pop in for a few minutes until the cheese looks melty again. If you are bringing this to an event, you can line a serving platter with large kale leaves, and serve in triangles that make it easy to grab and eat.
Now you have a basic go-to recipe for any occasion, but this is just the beginning. Any of the ingredients can be substituted or left out and you’ll have much the same success as I have with this creation. Guests, friends or family members will enjoy the crispy outside with the gooey, flavorful inside. You can feel good about bringing the healthy factor without compromising on taste. This particular recipe is leaning toward a Mediterranean flair so it would go well with dolmades, falafel, or a light cucumber and tomato salad. Don’t forget, though, that whatever version you try can be complimented easily with great sides to complete a meal or a theme party and of course these also stand on their own as a delicious appetizer or for a potluck.
I hope you have as much luck as I have with these palate-pleasers and look forward to hearing your feedback as you try out this fresh new twist on a delicious classic!