Quesadillas – your lunch in less than 10 minutes

November 24, 2011


I’m a huge fan of all things Mexican and I think a big part of that comes from the simplicity. Beans, chillies, avocado, tomatoes, coriander, sour cream and cheese are the basic building blocks. You can use as many or as few as you like. For main meals I often use them all (and some more)  but for snacks I pare things down for bites that are easy to put together but more importantly, fast. During the week speed is all. We get home after work, school and creche between 2 or  3 and everyone is STARVING. I always keep a stash of corn tortillas for superfast lunches (yes, yes, I know you can make these so easily but believe me nobody is in the mood for anything that takes more than 5 minutes.

More often than not, I make quesadillas. First of all you throw a tortilla on the pan (no oil) with a handful of grated cheese (cheddar works for me but really any hard cheese will do). Toast over a lowish heat and let the cheese melt. Spread guacamole and/or a tomato salsa over the cheese then top with another tortilla.

Corn tortilla on the pan

Flip over so the top tortilla gets toasted. Take off the pan, quarter then eat with a little sour cream on the side.

That’s a very basic version. After that the combinations are pretty much endless. Here are just a few….

  • roughly chopped jalapeno peppers
  • scallions if they’re around (onions are a bit too hardcore so I don’t bother with them)
  • A generous sprinkling roughly chopped coriander
  • Griddled courgettes
  • Strips of red peppers – fresh or roasted
  • Refried beans (from a tin)
  • Rice from the fridge
  • Sweetcorn or, ideally sweetcorn salad with roasted peppers and lime
  • Salad leaves – anything bar rocket (the flavour doesn’t really go). If I’m using salad I either serve it on the side with a spritz of lime or, instead of using 2 tortillas I use just the one taking it off the pan when the cheese melts, then I add the salad and whatever else I’m having and serve it  folded.
  • Greens like this week’s rainbow chard finely chopped or spinach
  • scrambled egg
  • Any leftover cooked chicken or fish

There are probably lots of other things I just can’t think of at the moment but you can see that it’s a flexible kind of thing. The 2 “recipes” (and I really use that term loosely) I can give you for all this are for tomato salsa and guacamole. Both can be as rustic or as refined as you like. My versions tend to be pretty rustic -after all there’s only so much chopping you can do in the minute it takes the tortilla to toast…

Tomato salsa

You’ll need:

A couple of perfectly ripe tomatoes roughly chopped  Tomato salsa ingredients

1/2 small onion finely chopped

1/4 fresh red chilli minced (take out some of the seeds if you don’t want things too fiery)

1 lime

A handful coriander roughly chopped


Combine the tomatoes, onions, coriander and chilli. Add a pinch of salt and lime juice to taste.

Guacamole (my version that is)


You’ll need:

1 ripe avocado

1/2 small onion very finely chopped

1 tomato chopped

Some finely chopped green or red pepper if you have it – not essential and some would say a little controversial but nice


Lime juice

A handful coriander chopped

Mash the avocado then mix in the tomato, onion, coriander and pepper if using. Add salt and lime juice to taste. If you’re making this ahead of time a trick is to add the avocado stone back into the guacamole to stop things discoloring.

That’s about it really. Obviously this kind of thing isn’t just for snacks and lunches, they make brilliant “I’m too exhausted to cook” dinners – you just eat more!

In case you were wondering…….

The funny looking fruit in the Mediterranean bags is a persimmon aka kaki or sharon fruit. Known as the fruit of the gods in ancient Greece they have a lovely apricot flavour with a mango texture (yum!). They are perfectly ripe so have them for dessert this evening if you can.



6 Responses to “Quesadillas – your lunch in less than 10 minutes”

  1. amparo Says:

    que rico!

  2. Nicola Says:

    Yum! Love quesadillas. Great suggestions

  3. Brian Says:

    Like the look of those…. very tasty.

  4. Leticia Says:

    The kaki lasted 2 minutes out of the bag last week -it was delicious and brought me right back to my childhood.

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