Quesadillas! Who doesn’t go mad over crispy tortillas stuffed with molten, juicy goodness? This is my definitive Quesadilla guide – choose from Chicken Quesadillas, Beef OR Vegetable. Or build your own using the all-purpose Quesadilla seasoning!
You’d have to be made of stone if that image doesn’t make you weak in the knees.😂
That golden brown crispy tortilla.
The juicy, seasoned filling.
That molten cheese.
Quesadillas are a universal language that brings everyone together – vegetarians and meat lovers alike. And in the spirit of that, today I’ve got not one, but THREE filling options to choose from:
Chicken quesadilla – seasoned, seared golden then chopped, cooked with diced vegetables
Beef quesadilla – ground beef cooked with Quesadilla seasoning and capsicum/bell peppers peppers
Vegetable quesadilla – diced vegetables cooked with Quesadilla seasoning
Use this Quesadilla recipe to make an irresistible Quesadilla using any protein or vegetable!
Today’s recipe centres around on one master Mexican Spice Mix that works fabulously with both meat and vegetables. This Quesadilla seasoning adds great flavour onto and into proteins, and into any stuffing for Quesadillas generally.
What to put in Quesadillas
Any chopped, ground meat (mince), diced or sliced vegetables can be stuffed into quesadillas! In today’s recipe, there are 3 options: beef, chicken and vegetarian.
Made using ground beef (mince), I love how the spice really gets right in there all throughout the beef. A bit of tomato paste binds it all together and makes it nice and juicy. Use this recipe for any ground meat, including beef, pork, veal, chicken or turkey.
Seared seasoned chicken thigh fillets (or breast) then diced and mixed through with sautéed onion and capsicum/bell peppers. Use this recipe for any protein in steak form, including beef, pork, veal, chicken or turkey.
A mix of onion, capsicum/bell peppers, black beans and corn, made juicy with tomato paste and the Spice Mix. Use this Filling recipe for any vegetables you want!
I can’t even tell whether it’s chicken or vegetable Filling used in the photo above.
I just know I want to eat it.😂
How to fill a quesadilla
To fill a quesadilla, place the filling on one side of a tortilla, then fold to enclose. Start with shredded cheese, top with filling of choice (beef, chicken, vegetarian) then finish with another sprinkle of cheese.
The double cheese acts as a glue for the filling so when you cut / bite into it, the filling doesn’t completely ooze out. So it serves a practical purpose….not that we ever need an excuse to make things cheesier! 😂
How to cook quesadillas
Place the quesadilla in a dry skillet over low to medium low heat. Why no oil? Partly because this way, you don’t have to handle greasy tortillas with your hands. But more importantly, oil is a heat conductor which browns the tortillas faster than the filling heats through and the cheese melts. Tortillas are thin – and they cook fast!
Cover with a lid – this heats the filling through and melts the cheese faster, before the tortilla gets too brown. If you don’t have a lid for your skillet, use anything that will cover it – a larger skillet, baking tray, anything. Cook until underside is golden and crispy, then remove the lid.
Flip over the folded edge -this ensures you don’t lose any filling! Use your hand on the uncooked side to hold it together.
Cook uncovered until crispy and cheese is molten – about 2 to 3 minutes.
Cut in half and serve!
You do not need to grease the pan to cook quesadillas!
How to serve quesadillas
Once cooked, serve them asap while they’re hot and crispy! Preferably with some kind of dipping sauce for dunking or dolloping. Even if it’s just sour cream, but if you want to go all out, try it with a quick Avocado Sauce. Made with avocado, sour cream, lime or lemon juice, garlic, and plenty of coriander/cilantro, this stays green for days and days!
Preparing quesadillas in advance
You might already freeze burritos but have you tried freezing quesadillas? It works 💯 perfectly. Assemble and freeze before cooking.
Thaw, then pan fry or you can even bake from frozen.
So make a big batch. Have some now and save some for later!
– Nagi x
PS Baking option to make loads at the same time – see this Baked Quesadillas recipe. A touch less crispy, but it’s a small sacrifice for the convenience!
Watch how to make it
Quesadilla (Beef, Vegetable or Chicken)
- 6 – 8 flour tortillas (20cm/8″)
- 2 cups (200g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or other of choice) (Note 1)
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen thawed or can drained)
- ONE Filling of Choice, below (beef, chicken or vegetable)
Quesadilla Spice Mix:
- 1 tsp each onion powder, dried oregano, salt
- 2 tsp each cumin powder, paprika
- 1/4 tsp each black pepper, cayenne pepper (optional)
CHOOSE ONE FILLING
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/2 onion , finely chopped
- 500g / 1 lb ground beef / mince
- 1 small red capsicum/bell peppers , diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup (65 ml) water
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 500 g/1 lb chicken thighs , skinless boneless (Note 2)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 small onion , quartered and sliced
- 1 small red capsicum/bell pepper , diced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion , diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 can of black beans, drained (400g/14oz)
- 1 capsicum/bell pepper , diced (any colour)
- 1 cup corn (canned drained or frozen thawed)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup (65 ml) water
- Place tortilla on work surface. Sprinkle one side with a bit of cheese, top with Filling of Choice. Sprinkle with corn*, coriander and top with cheese. Fold in half.
- Preheat non stick skillet over medium low heat (no oil, if pan is not non-stick use 2 tsp oil).
- Place quesadilla in skillet, press down lightly, cover with lid. Cook for 3 minutes until underside is super golden brown and crispy.
- Carefully flip over the folded edge (see video). Press down lightly. Cook for 3 minutes until crispy (no lid).
- Transfer to cutting board, cut in half. Serve immediately!
- Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Use for one of the Fillings Options below.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go. Once it changes from pink to brown, add capsicum. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste, water and Spice Mix. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cool.
- Drizzle chicken with 1 tbsp oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle over Spice Mix, toss well to coat.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, cool.
- Return pan to stove, reduce to medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes until deep golden. Turn and cook for 3 minutes until cooked through.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board, rest for 2 minutes then dice and cool. Combine with capsicum mixture.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum, cook for 1 minute.
- Add beans, corn, tomato paste, water and Spice Mix. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl, cool.
* Makes 6 generously stuffed or 8 normal quesadillas
* Cool Fillings before assembling tortillas = crispier
* Freezer option: Assemble quesadillas then freeze before cooking. Wrap in cling wrap then place in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Thaw then cook per recipe. Can microwave 40 seconds or so to thaw.
* Bake option (can make loads in one go): Follow directions in this Chicken Baked Quesadillas recipe.
* Can also make flattish burritos, wrap in foil then bake until crispy (about 30 minutes at 180C/350F). These can also be frozen, thaw before cooking. 4. Nutrition per chicken quesadilla, assuming 8 servings. Lean beef quesadillas are 469 calories each, and vegetable is 357 calories.
More tasty things stuffed between crispy bread
And more of my favourite Mexican recipes
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