Pinchin' Pennie$ in the Kitchen: 7 Steps to Making a Quesadilla

(FN1717, Reviewed Aug. 2019)

Making family dinners can be easy and fun for everyone when you get to design your own quesadillas. Everyone can pick out their favorite fillings for their tortillas like lean protein, cheese, and veggies.

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Julie Garden-Robinson Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D. Food and Nutrition Specialist
Other Authors

Megan Rademacher, Dietetic Intern (former)

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Create a quesadilla with a variety of colors and flavors for your next family dinner. Have your family pick out their favorite quesadilla fillings with this flexible yet delicious recipe. Choose whole-wheat tortillas with lean protein, low-fat cheese and a variety of veggies to make an easy, fun and nutritious meal.

1. Heat a nonstick frying pan to medium-high heat. Add ½ teaspoon of olive or canola oil and spread around frying pan. When the oil is hot, place one whole-wheat tortilla in the pan.

2. Sprinkle ¼ cup of your favorite low-fat shredded cheese, such as mozzarella, Monterey jack or cheddar, over the top of the tortilla, making sure that the cheese does not land on the pan.

3. Add ½ cup of protein, such as canned beans (drained and rinsed), cooked chicken, shrimp, shredded pork or beef or tofu.

Tip: Use leftover rotisserie chicken or canned chicken for a quick lean protein.

4. Add ½ cup of veggies for flavor, fiber and extra nutrition. Try tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, corn, onions, avocados or your favorite veggie of choice. Add cilantro, pineapple, hot sauce, jalapenos, black olives or salsa for an additional boost of flavor.

5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of the fillings and place the other whole-wheat tortilla on top. Cover pan and cook for approximately two to four minutes or until cheese begins to melt and tortilla browns.

6. Using a spatula, carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook for approximately two more minutes.

7. Cut into six pieces and top with guacamole, salsa and low-fat sour cream or plain or Greek yogurt.

Flavor combinations to try:

Breakfast banana – Use a whole-wheat tortilla, peanut butter, sliced bananas or strawberries and a few chocolate chips for a tasty breakfast-style quesadilla. Follow the directions above to fry it.

Hawaiian – Use mozzarella cheese, Canadian bacon or diced lean ham, pineapple and green peppers.

Greek – Use feta cheese (or low-fat cream cheese), chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and red onion.

Thai – Try pepper jack cheese, shrimp, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and Thai peanut or chili sauce.

Check out the recipe database and other cooking/nutrition tips at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food