Quesadillas are probably the world’s most versatile comfort food. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We stuff them with our favorite proteins, veggies, herbs, and spices and serve them as snacks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts. And we are continually dreaming up new sweet and savory flavor combinations. How does a rich creamy Brie with peaches and prosciutto sound? Or a nutty Gruyère with cremini mushrooms and caramelized onions? When choosing what to eat with quesadillas, the possibilities are too numerous to count – but we never tire of trying!
Start with the Basics
Loosely translated, quesadilla means small and cheesy. These medieval turnovers emerged in Mexico soon after the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. The settlers’ dairy know-how and the natives’ affinity for corn tortillas turned out to be a match made in heaven.
Most authentic Mexican quesadillas are made with corn tortillas, Mexican string cheese, and farm-fresh vegetables, such as peeled poblano chiles or sautéed squash blossoms. Folded and lightly toasted to a golden brown, these pockets of cheesy goodness often are accompanied by beans, Pico de Gallo, guacamole, or Mexican crema. Other traditional ingredients include epazote leaves, mushrooms, potatoes, cilantro or parsley, and occasionally fish and assorted meats.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Some home chefs like to stick with what works, while others enjoy taking chances. That’s why this classic Mexican dish is so universally loved. When deciding what to eat with quesadillas, you can’t go wrong as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Know your tortillas. If you find yourself salivating at the thought of sautéed vegetables, chunky salsas, or creamy sauces, start with a thick corn tortilla. Not only does it have fewer calories than a flour tortilla, its sturdy texture will hold up better to wet ingredients. On the other hand, if you prefer a softer bite, a more pliable flour tortilla is your best bet. They come in all sizes and varieties, including whole wheat and gluten-free. Crisp your tortilla in a warm fry pan or on a griddle. Coating the cooking surface with olive oil will give your tortillas a more full-bodied flavor. Lastly, avoid soggy tortillas by cooking wet fillings separately and draining before adding to quesadillas.
Pick a cheese that melts and stretches easily. There are dozens to choose from, starting with mellow cheeses, such as American, Mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Goat Cheese, or Mozzarella and progressing to more strident options, such as Sharp Cheddar, Gruyère, Brie, or Gouda. You’ll know you’ve chosen well if cheesy strands (the longer, the better) cling to the quesadilla wedges as you slowly pull them apart.
Load on the toppers and sides. Some say these extras are the best part. Who doesn’t love a good excuse to pile on the sour cream, guacamole and a probiotic-rich salsa from wildbrine? Astute chefs, however, don’t limit themselves to only a few options. There’s a slew of exciting soups, sauces, salads, and slaws to choose from, including a wide selection of fermented foods guaranteed to make your taste buds sit up and shout “Yay!”
Quesadillas with all the fixings might be considered a guilty pleasure, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be part of an uber-healthy meal. When deciding what to eat with quesadillas, scour all the major food groups for possible candidates. Whipping up a delicious and nutritious version is quick and easy if your kitchen is stocked with a variety of plant-based foods, including fortified dairy and meat substitutes (to satisfy your inner vegetarian).
Fresh is good, but fermented is great!
While “fresh” is always desirable, it’s wise to toss a few fermented food selections into your basket as well. From spiced sauerkrauts and crunchy kimchi to chunky salsas and slow-burning hot chili sauces, these probiotic-rich superfoods are key to improving gut health, building stronger immune systems, and enhancing cognitive function. Look for them in your market’s refrigerated section. Or have us ship them right to your door. All it takes is a spoonful of Arame Ginger Sauerkraut or a drizzle of Smoky Jalapeño Sriracha to take your quesadillas from so-so to out-of-this-world!
Wondering What to Eat with Quesadillas? Give These Recipes a Try
TEX-MEX QUESADILLAS call for a golden blend of American and Cheddar cheese, along with diced tomatoes, peppers, and scallions, and a specially curated dried spice combo. Add generous spoonsful of your favorite salsa, sour cream, and a drizzle of sriracha, and you’re good to go. Here’s a healthy tip: for a dairy experience that’s lower in fat and easier to digest, choose plant-based substitutes. wildCREAMERY sour cream, cheese, and butter alternatives are so smooth and flavorful, only your gut will know the difference.
Serving suggestion: Pair with probiotic-rich homemade guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips (color comes from anthocyanins, which are thought to act like disease-fighting antioxidants). Yummy and addictive, this chip and dip combo is as healthy as it is good for you.
PIEROGI QUESADILLAS are a great way to repurpose leftover mashed potatoes. Perogies are a popular comfort food throughout Central Europe – and this clever quesadilla twist on a potato dumpling is sure to be a hit in your household as well.
Serving suggestion: If your family is adventuresome, rev up the flavor profile by serving a side of tart sauerkraut slaw or spicy pickled vegetables. Or keep things cool with a refreshing creamy ranch cucumber salad. Any ranch dressing will do, but we recommend wildCREAMERY plant-based Ranch Dip for its luxurious guilt-free goodness!
MEDITERRANEAN QUESADILLAS are bursting with all the sun-drenched flavors you’d expect from a warm-weather coastal dish. Roasted garlic and red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, earthy pine nuts, peppery basil, salty Kalamata olives…we could go on and on and still not do this garden-fresh taste experience justice.
SMOKED GOUDA MUSHROOM QUESADILLAS are super rich and dense. Popular in the Netherlands, Gouda cheese has a rich, nutty butter flavor that intensifies with age. This brilliant pairing of earthy mushrooms and layers of warm melted cheese has us licking our chops and heading to the kitchen as we speak.
Serving suggestion: To balance out this hearty profile, serve a bright, colorful salad on the side. Packed with protein and probiotics, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, Lexi Borr’s Superfood Salad meets all our healthy eating requirements – and it can be ready in just 15 minutes!
KIMCHI QUESADILLAS are a fusion of popular Mexican and Korean flavors. A blend of Mexican cheeses, avocado, and lime offer a palette-pleasing contrast to the sharp tang of Korean Kimchi (a crunchy mix of fermented cabbage, sea veggies, chiles, onions, and traditional spices). Topped off with a chunky red salsa and jalapeño sriracha, this So-Cal favorite is a powerhouse of explosive flavors.
Serving suggestion: Rest your tastebuds between bites by toning things down a bit with a cup of Korean seaweed soup. Made from chicken or beef broth and flavored with garlic, soy sauce, and a dash of sesame oil, this traditional dish is a real people pleaser – and it’s a great source of iodine and iron to boot!
The five quesadilla recipes above are just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from, or whether you’re a vegetarian, flexitarian, or anything-goes-atarian, if you have a heartbeat, there’s a quesadilla recipe tailor-made just for you. Join the rest of us quesadilla lovers and begin your quest today. All it takes is a tortilla, some cheese, and a whole lot of imagination.