These tasty, easy, and tasty quesadillas have become new favorite at Chez Aloha and make a complete vegetarian meal all on their own. I first made them when the girls were young, and although they all like greens their reaction back then was ho-hum. I came across the recipe again a few months ago and decided to give them another try because Swiss chard is almost always plentiful at the farmers’ markets here year round and I’m always looking for ways to use it. This time the reaction from both Brett and YaYu was two thumbs up!
A quesadilla is basically cheese melted inside either a corn or flour tortilla, with flour the most common choice. The great thing about a quesadilla is that almost anything can be included in one, from vegetables to meat to simply cheese and salsa. The first quesadilla I ever had contained cheese and diced tomatoes between corn tortillas that had been fried. They were very tasty, but very, very oily. Eventually I was introduced to quesadillas using flour tortillas, which had instead been toasted in a hot skillet or on a griddle, and were a popular breakfast entree for our girls, and always on our camping menus. Quesadillas can also be melted in a microwave, but they’re frankly not as good as ones that have been toasted. The original recipe for the Guadalajara quesadillas called for corn tortillas, but I use 12-inch flour tortillas folded over and they work and taste great.
The last time I made these I substituted spinach for the Swiss chard as we found baby spinach for an affordable price at Costco. While we like Swiss chard, spinach provided a milder, but still delicious, taste for the filling. The greens are seasoned with spices and tequila and are definitely not bland!
These quesadillas should be enjoyed hot from the pan, and hot sauce or salsa can either be added to the inside, or on top if desired.
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño, minced (if you like it less hot, discard the seeds and veins before cutting)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 12 ounces Swiss chard or spinach
- 8 corn tortillas or 8-inch flour tortillas or 4 12-inch flour tortillas
- 8 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
- hot sauce or salsa (optional)
If using Swiss chard, cut off of stems; wash and cut into 2-inch ribbons.
Heat oil in a large skillet; add onions and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and oregano and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Pour in tequila and cook until liquid has evaporated.
Heat a large skillet (non-stick works best) over medium heat. Spread 2-ounces of grated cheese on a tortilla (or half of a 12-inch tortilla), top with 1/4 of spinach mixture, add hot sauce or salsa if desired, top with a second tortilla (or fold over 12-inch one) and place in the hot skillet. Watch carefully and flip the quesadilla as the cheese melts, toasting the tortilla to a nice brown color on each side. Place on a plate and cut into four slices (I use kitchen shears for this task). Serve immediately.