This vegetarian quesadilla recipe contains savory eggplant, tart apple, and melted cheese stuffed between two crispy whole grain tortillas!
👩🏻🍳 Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe Back Story
Ever try to get your kids to eat eggplant? If your kids are anything like mine, it probably was not the most successful endeavor!
But I bought an eggplant anyway. They were so big and purple and beautiful, I just couldn't resist. Plus, I like eggplant, DH likes eggplant, and we deserve to have some eggplant once in a while!
So, there I was with this eggplant (which is technically a fruit, if you didn't already know!), wondering how to prepare it in a way that would at least give me a fighting chance with the kids.
The nice thing about eggplant is that the flavor is fairly mild, so you can combine it with some other yummy ingredients and the kids might not even realize they are eating a dreaded vegetable!
I really love all the different flavors going on in this vegetarian quesadilla recipe. The apple and the eggplant really complement each other, and the cheese pulls it all together. Delicious, and a little different from what we normally have for dinner!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- eggplant - the secret hidden veggie!
- apples - balances out the eggplant and provides some sweetness.
- butter - for getting a nice cook on the quesadilla filling.
- spinach - packs these quesadillas with extra nutrition.
- cheese - what's a quesadilla without cheese?
- tortillas - just like cheese, you can't have a quesadilla without tortillas.
- nutmeg - provides some extra flavor.
- Core and slice the apples and cut the eggplant into rounds (if you have one, use a mandolin or food processor to speed up this process!)
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the eggplant and apple and for cook about 5 minutes until they're soft.
- Place 4 tortillas on a baking sheet. Take about half of the cheese and layer on each of the tortillas, then add apples and eggplant, the spinach, and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle each with a quarter of the nutmeg.
- Top each with another tortilla then bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F, until your tortillas are golden brown and the cheese is good and melty.
Sure! They're best fresh out of the oven, but you could definitely make a larger batch, wrap them in some foil, and save them for lunch throughout the week or a quick dinner!
In the fridge, your quesadillas will be good for 3 to 4 days. If you need them to last longer, just pop them in the freezer. Technically they could be good for up to 4 months, but I recommend getting to them in 2 or so.
There are a couple of ways to do this. First, if you're pressed for time, sticking them in the microwave for a minute or so should do the trick. This method will definitely get them warm, but you might sacrifice some of the texture.
If you have more time, you could pop your quesadillas in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. You could also heat the quesadillas in a skillet loosely covered with foil in order to ensure the tortillas get nice and crunchy again.
💭 Top Tips
How to buy the best eggplants:
- The eggplant should be smooth and shiny with a nice uniform purple color.
- It should feel a bit heavy for its size.
- Press your finger to test if the eggplant is ripe; if it leaves a slight impression, the eggplant is ripe.
- Smaller eggplants tend to be a bit more sweet and less bitter, while also having thinner skin and less seeds.
- Avoid eggplants that are bruised, wrinkled, or have obvious blemishes or tan patches.
How to buy the best apples:
- Feel the apple and ensure that it's firm. A good apple won't have soft or bruised spots.
- Most apples will have some natural scuffs or markings, but any obvious rotting or bruising is a bad sign.
- Ensure that the apple has a filled-in color, which indicates maturity and great exposure to sunlight.
- Give your apple a sniff; good apples will have a pleasant aroma, some stronger than others.
- If you're not much a fan of eggplant, a potential substitution for this recipe could be some zucchini or another type of squash.
- Feel free to change up the type of cheese you use; pepper jack, cheddar, or American cheese would all be delicious in these quesadillas.
- Instead of baking, you could also cook these quesadillas in a pan with a bit of olive oil.
- Looking to crank up the taste? There are a variety of spices you could add into the filling to change things up. Try some garlic or onion powder, chili powder or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, or some cinnamon to go down a sweeter route.
- Instead of spinach you could use another kind of greens like kale, arugula, or a mixture of a few different kinds!
🥗 Suggested Side Dishes
Here are some potential sides to serve with this vegetarian quesadilla recipe.
🍆 Additional Eggplant Recipes
If this vegetarian quesadilla recipe has you craving more eggplant, here are some great recipes for you to try! Check out this Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan and more!
Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe
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📋 Recipe Card
Eggplant Apple Vegetarian Quesadillas
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 apples (I used Gala apples)
- 2-4 tablespoons butter (or your favorite buttery spread)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- 8 whole grain or multigrain tortillas (soft taco size)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg (divided)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Core the apples and slice it and the eggplant into rounds about 1/4 inch thick (use a mandolin or food processor if you have one).
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and apple and cook about 5 minutes until softened (you can do this in 2 batches if your skillet isn't large enough to cook it all at once). Set aside.
- Place 4 of the tortillas on a baking sheet. Layer about half of the cheese on each of the tortillas. Then distribute the apples and eggplant, then the spinach, and then the remaining cheese among the 4 tortillas. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
- Place the remaining tortillas on top, then bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the tortillas are browned and crispy and the cheese is melted.
- Cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve.
- Optional step - brush each of the tortillas with melted butter or olive oil on one side (the side on the outside of the quesadilla). This gets the tortillas even crispier and gives them a nice, deep brown color during baking.
- Zucchini or other squash can be substituted for eggplant.
- Pepper jack, cheddar, American, or your preferred cheese can be used.
- Cook these quesadillas in a pan with a bit of olive oil for an extra crispy version.
- Add garlic or onion powder, chili powder or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, or some cinnamon to change up the flavors.
- Kale, arugula, or a mixture of greens can be used in addition to or instead of spinach.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in October 2014, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in October 2020.
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