Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto

February 29, 2016

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto

You guys probably don’t need a recipe for quesadillas.
A quesadilla — just like a grilled cheese — requires few ingredients and basic cooking technique.
Chances are, you probably already know how to make it without measuring out any ingredients.
Step one: Tortilla + cheese + stuff you like + a bit more of cheese + another tortilla.
Step two: griddle in butter.
Step three: wait, there’s no step three.
The only tricky part is flipping the quesadilla without it falling apart.
How many times have you tried to flip it over to cook on the other side and all the filling came out?
A hundred times? A thousand times? A million times?
Hold on a sec: how many quesadillas have you cooked in your life?

Kale Pesto

The flipping issue is not that hard and can be easily solved by:
(1) not over stuffing the quesadilla (thing that I never do!),
(2) using the half-moon technique (spread your filling over half of the tortilla, then fold the other half over the filling), or
(3) using a plate (put a plate over the top of it, put one hand under the plate, and hold the skillet handle with the other. Flip the whole thing upside down so the quesadilla ends up on the plate, then slide it onto the skillet.)
I know a few people who brag about how they can flip quesadillas with a spatula but I believe that they’re either liars or they own one of those huge spatulas that look like a shovel.

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto

Anyways, I made some vegetarian quesadillas the other night and they were so delicious I needed to share it with y’all.
Grilled veggies + kale pesto + cheese + tortilla = awesomeness.
I know there’s nothing Mexican about these quesadillas — except for the tortillas. No queso, no pico de gallo, no guac, no meat.
Still they’re super delicious and pretty darn healthy. With all those veggies and the kale pesto.
And if you’re using cauliflower tortillas, it’s like eating veggies topped with veggies with a veggie sauce and just a bit of cheese.
Because you know, cheese.

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto                                                                         Print this recipe!

Makes 2 huge quesadillas, enough for 4 people

1 zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
1 small eggplant, diagonally sliced into ¼-inch slices
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and quartered
1 small red onion, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack is the best)
4 large tortillas or 8 small ones (to make cauliflower tortillas use this recipe)
4 tablespoons kale pesto, (to make kale pesto use this recipe)
2 teaspoons butter, divided
freshly chopped parsley (or cilantro)


Place vegetables on a large platter, drizzle with two tablespoons of olive and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium-high (if you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates).
Grill vegetables, turning frequently, until tender and slightly charred, about 4 minutes for the onion and 7 minutes for the eggplant, zucchini, and red bell pepper.
Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and let cool for about 5 minutes. Cut into into roughly 1½-inch pieces and set aside.
In a large skillet sizzle ½ teaspoon of butter over medium-low heat.
Lay a tortilla, then build the quesadillas by spreading 1 tablespoon of pesto, then by laying some grated cheese on the tortilla, and then arranging some of the grilled veggies. Sprinkle a little more grated cheese and top with a second tortilla.
When the tortilla is golden, carefully flip the quesadilla to the other side, adding another ½ teaspoon butter to the skillet at the same time. Continue cooking until the second side is golden.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings.
Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 524 calories, 33 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of protein.


  1. Hi Mike, oh does this look tasty. It's recipes like this that keep me going from day to day. Looks delicious!

  2. That kale pesto looks amazing! And I'm loving how you used cauliflower tortillas- I've gotta try those!

    1. The kale pesto is the shiz as so are the cauli tort. You need to try both!

  3. Hey Mike, I love the recipe you have here it looks amazing! This is something that looks delicious and not too hard for someone trying to cook on a daily basis. I love how you took typical ingredients for it such as a tortillas and found a healthy version to use in your recipe. I can't wait to try this!

    1. Thank you so much A! These were such a big hit with my friends and I'm sure your family will love it too!

  4. Looks so good! Please make me one for dinner!

  5. There will never be enough recipes for quesadillas, so keep them coming! These look like perfection, I love all the veggies!

  6. Answering your question, I have quesadillas in my life. Seriously. And now, having read your description of this gooey goodness, I've realised I was wasting my life without them. I've got to try them ASAP (or you can send them to me ASAP). Well done, Mike!

    1. Indeed, you're wasting your life my friend. Quesadillas are non-negotiable! :D

  7. Duuuuddddee - these quesadillas are the bomb-diggity! They might not have queso, or pico de gallo, or guac, or meat - but they have kale pesto IN them!!! That's all kinds of awesmazing, my friend! Now I've gotta try my hand at quesadilla-flipping-technique #3 - fingers crossed plate and skillet and the likes don't end up all over my floor - and if they do, well, good thing I have dogs! :)

    1. Hahahahaha I love that you said "bomb-diggity". I seriously can't stop laughing...

  8. These look amazing. But then again, everything you make does!

  9. I gotta say I make these A LOT here in San Diego for snacking’ and truth be told I got this down. So true, don’t over stuff AND I am proud to say, those 8 inch quesadillas get tossed in the pan with a flip. Old work habits never die, but word to the wise… that cheese really is hot if it doesn’t flip “completely “ in the pan and hits your hand. Yes, done that before. No bueno!
    Dig all the veggies in here too. Had to go read your kale pesto recipe because it intrigued me and THAT Sauteed Mushroom Gouda and Kale Potato Skins is just off the hook, too! How did I ever miss that one? #WolfpackMunchies

  10. It looks amazing, but I don´t think that mine looks just as well your quesadillas.