Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas

Main Courses, Meatless, Mexican, Summer / Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


When you’re a fledgling small-town vegetarian, like I once was, sometimes you don’t see all the options.

You wind up eating a lot of pasta, cheese pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches and confusing waitress by ordering cheeseburgers without the burger.

And then one day, you realize that it’s not just about avoiding meat – hopefully before you lose your teeth and die of constipation.

And then you go forth and start trying vegetable-loaded recipes, like these Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas. I still love them, especially in the summer, when you can pick up corn and zucchini dirt cheap.

The filling is a simple sauté – onion, garlic, zucchini, corn and your herb of choice. I usually use cilantro, but if you hate-hate-hate it, go with what you love or just leave it out. When the filling is ready, spoon it onto half of your tortillas, add some grated Pepper Jack, and place your remaining tortillas on top. Then slide them into the oven.

These quesadillas are a great lunch alternative to your typical sandwich, but you could also slice them into smaller wedges to serve as cookout appetizers (when the grilling is taking a little longer than expected) or serve them alongside a summer soup, like Fresh Tomato and Sweet Chili Pepper or a really fresh gazpacho.

So much better than a chili dog, without the chili or the dog.

Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas

Adapted from “Everyday Food”

Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 4 flour tortillas (8-inch)
  • 2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute more.
  2. Add zucchini and frozen corn kernels, cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft and corn is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, if using.
  3. Brush one side of all tortillas with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; lay 2 tortillas, oiled side down, on a baking sheet. Place half of the filling on each, and sprinkle with half the cheese. Place remaining 2 tortillas on top, oiled side up; press down gently with spatula to seal.
  4. Bake until cheese has melted and tortillas are golden brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly. To serve, slice each quesadilla into wedges.

Nutritional Info (Per Serving) – calories: 558.6, fat: 35g, carbs: 44.8, fiber: 3.3g, protein: 19g, PP+ = 15

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44 thoughts on “Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas

  1. Ah, you did NOT mention your daddy on this one. He'd eat this, smile, and look for the MEAT. Beautiful picture.

  2. I love the idea of these being served while waiting for the grill! I remember the first quesadilla I ever had. It was ~1975 and we were camping. One woman in the group fired up her campstove and started making quesadillas. I fell in love with them then and have been filling them with everything from crab to caramelized onions to chocolate and marshmallows ever since. I think the best tasting one though was that first one out camping in the desert :)

    1. Campstove quesadillas! What a cool idea. I've never made them with a sweet filling, but I'm going to have to now.

    1. Yes, I'm totally preparing for the zucchini onslaught. Quesadillas are handy for transforming leftovers, too. Every time I make them, I wonder why I don't make them more often.

  3. YUM! Great lunch idea that is fast and not a sandwich. So glad I saw this post. And I can use some of my garden zucchini and cilantro.

    1. I know! Corn is 25 cents an ear right now, and people will be giving away their zucchini soon. Score!

  4. Having grown up a small town vegetarian (mostly) quesadillas were one of the first foods I learned to make–of course in those days we called them "cheese melts"–they live on today in my house as my go to lunch/snack— These look brilliant here and I will try them, but my standard is grated carrot with lettuce and salsa–that grated carrot (slightly sweet) and melted cheese (slightly salty) combo can't be beat in my book.

  5. We'll be awash in zucchini in another month or so, and this is one use I hadn't thought of. Looks delicious and kid-friendly! So funny about the misguided fledgling vegetarianism. I did that for six months or so many years ago and pretty much ate exclusively cheese. Tasty, but not quite right.

    1. Exactly, cheese overload! These are so cheap to make in the summer, with zucchini taking over and corn being 25 cents an ear. I also use them to disguise leftovers.

  6. You made me chuckle — french fries and grilled cheese was also my version of going vegetarian in college!

    I love this combination of veggies. I also like to scramble a version of your filling with eggs and serve it with tortillas and a salsa verde.

    1. The fries! I'd totally forgotten how many fries I wolfed down in place of a meal. How "healthy." ;)

      Oh, I love the idea of the zucchini, corn and onions scrambled with eggs. That's a Sunday breakfast.

  7. A quesadilla is one of my favorite quick "what the heck are we gonna eat" meals. I'm definitely doing this one and adding mushrooms in mine! YUM!

  8. Awesome! My family makes fun of me for making food that uses only Mexican flavors… but how can you say no to quick and fun like these quesadillas? When I lived in Mexico I used to eat them every night before bed. Yum.

    1. Love Mexican-inspired food! I could eat it every night. And quesadillas are so easy to make. I can see why you'd want one every day!

    1. If you try it, let me know what you think. I love that the zucchini doesn't get totally mushy and gross. Lots of texture going on with the onions and corn.

  9. These look great, I'll have to try them. I didn't realize you were a former vegetarian too. I ordered many a cheeseburger sans the burger when I was a vegetarian and each time my order was met with a puzzled look.

  10. I'm new to your site– love it. You're the best at photographing your food!! Made 2 of these quesidillas this a.m. for breakfast following your recipe except to add red bell pepper to the saute mixture and used Trader Joe's Frozen Roasted Corn as Julie suggested. Had lots of leftover filling so I made one for dinner. This time I added Mexican Style Four Cheese and TJ's Chipotle Salsa abd had some sour cream to spread on the tortilla after it cooled. And cooked it in my Sunbeam Rocket Grill ( a vertical grill that uses throw-away parchment bags) in 2.5 minutes! OMG!!! Absoulutely delish!! Thanks for your creativilty!!!!

  11. Oh good idea, I'll have to give it a try. We also make a vegetarian quesadilla with spinach, tomato, red onions and a dash of spices.

  12. When I was 19, I became a vegetarian for the first time. I remember eating a lot of french fries!
    Your quesadilla looks wonderful!

  13. I love this recipe! The only change I made was to use roasted corn, since I had some left over from the other day. It's great with pineapple salsa and a cold beer!

  14. […] Corn & Zucchini Quesadillas, Bean Stew, Vegan Mac & Cheese, Sweet Potato Stew, Veggie Lasagna, Biryani, and Tilapia […]

  15. […] this summer, I knew I needed to make it.  I mean, seriously…how incredible do these quesadillas look??  Well, these quesadillas were out.standing. Really.  The veggies were perfectly sautéed […]

  16. Plan on making these tongiht along with some Shrimp Tacos….the photo of these makes me want to just reach out and grab it…they look so delicious!

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