• Suzanne Yearley

For the Love of Carbs: Quesadillas...or a Vegetable Stack for Abstainers

October 10, 2018

Suzanne Yearley

Whenever I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, his answer always involves pasta, pizza, quesadillas, or sandwiches. This may be a reaction to the items that appear quite regularly on our table: the kale, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash, that I love, actually crave and quite frankly, cook a lot because of current food trends. Or it could be that he, like many others out there, actually love these foods and aren’t quite ready to adapt as carb-free a lifestyle as is the vogue these days. Whatever your reasons, here’s an easy way to satisfy the sandwich lovers and a great way to use your leftover grilled or roasted vegetables. Finally, if you really are a strict Atkins devotee, this tastes just as delicious without the tortillas and corn. And with the creamy melted cheese and perhaps some avocado, you won’t even feel you are missing out.

The original recipe suggests using raw vegetables to save time, but to me, taking the few minutes to grill them, really elevates this dish. The smoky sweetness of the grilled vegetables permeates and is the ideal foil for the creamy cheese. Also, when buying pre-grated Monterey Jack, Cabot tastes creamier and cheesier than many of the other available options. Finally, experiment with different combinations of vegetables and cheeses, for many different variations.

Secrets to Success:

  • Do make this easy and use what you have on hand. These vegetables are just suggestions.

  • Change up the vegetables, cheese and tortillas for different versions.

  • For a heartier meal, add grilled chicken, shrimp, steak or crumbled and cooked sausage.

  • Charred chiles, cut into strips, add heat.

  • Corn tortillas are delicious and an easy way to make this gluten-free. Just read the package carefully for confirmation as sometimes wheat-containing flours are mixed in with the cornmeal.

  • Brush corn tortillas with a little olive or vegetable oil before grilling. Flour or whole-wheat tortillas can go on the grill dry.

  • The quesadillas themselves can also be made on a dry teflon pan. Heat only to medium heat.

  • Vegetables and salsa can be made ahead and the quesadillas just put together when ready to eat. 

  • Use a pizza cutter for hassle-free cutting. 

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Corn Salsa

Adapted from Martha Stewart


4 ears corn (husks and silks removed), or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed 

1 bunch scallions, half of bunch thinly sliced, other half, trimmed and reserved

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper 
to taste           

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces) 

1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise 

1 yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise 

            1 orange bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 4 wide slices

1-2 tablespoons good olive oil

8 flour tortillas (-inch)


Heat grill or grill pan to high. When hot, grill the corn directly on the grate, rotating a few times until some kernels are blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. 

While the corn is grilling, toss the vegetables and the reserved scallion halves with the olive oil and salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste. Grill them directly on the grill grate, turning once halfway through cooking, until they are charred and have nice grill marks, where applicable. Set aside to cool briefly until easily handled and slice into 2-inch pieces.Turn the grill or grill pan to medium if serving the quesadillas now.

Cut off the tip of each cob. One at a time, stand each ear in a large wide bowl; with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels (you should have about 2 cups). Discard cobs. Add sliced scallions, lime juice, and oil to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Set corn relish aside. 

When ready to serve the quesadillas: Place tortillas on the grill, grill pan or Teflon skillet to toast on one side. When lightly-colored, turn over the tortillas so the toasted side is now up. Sprinkle half of the tortillas with half the cheese. Top with the squash, bell pepper, scallion pieces, and remaining cheese. Top with one of the remaining tortillas, toasted side-in. Grill quesadillas, turning once, until browned in spots and cheese has melted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cut into wedges; serve immediately with corn relish.

Serves 4.



make ahead




good for leftovers





farmer's market








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