Vegetable Quesadilla


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Quesadilla - Closeup

Fresh, colorful vegetables in the midst of golden, melted cheese, fused within layers of fresh, homemade wheat tortillas make for delicious vegetable quesadillas. Serve them with some crunchy salad, guacamole, tomato salsa, Greek yogurt and treat your friends and family to a visually appealing, gastronomically satisfying, and tantalizingly delicious meal!

Ingredients:

For the wheat tortilla:

  • Get the ingredients in the recipe for plain wheat roti/chapati or wheat paratha. Traditionally, the tortillas for quesadillas are made from corn flour. You could make corn tortillas from a special corn flour called masa harina, if you prefer that.

For the vegetable filling:

  • Vegetables like broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, onions, zucchini, green bell peppers julienne. I also added some fresh corn kernels.
  • Ginger (1/2 inch piece)
  • Fresh herbs like mint, coriander, rosemary, thyme. If you prefer dried, that is fine too.
  • Oil/Ghee (I like to use a tbsp of ghee, but you could use olive oil or whatever oil you prefer to use).
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper powder (to taste)
  • Lemon Juice (to taste)

For the tomato salsa:

  • Tomatoes (2 large)
  • Red onion (2 inch piece)
  • Garlic (1 small pod)
  • Green chili (a teeny-tiny piece)
  • Coriander leaves (small handful)
  • Cumin (jeera) powder (1 tsp)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Lemon juice (per taste)

For the salad:

  • Lettuce 
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Pink Himalayan salt (to taste)
  • Lemon juice (to taste)

Cheese:

I used a blend of sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, Asadero and Queso Blanco. But you can use whatever is your favorite cheese for this recipe too.

 

Method:

For the tortilla:

For the vegetable filling:

  • In a large pan on medium heat, add oil/ghee.
  • Add the fresh/dried herbs and minced ginger. Saute for a few seconds.
  • Increase the heat to high. Add the vegetables one by one. First add the vegetables like onions and bell peppers, followed by corn and last by carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Keep stirring continuously to ensure that all vegetables get done without burning. They should retain a little crunch. Switch off in a few minutes. Don’t wait till the vegetables end up becoming soggy and overdone.
  • Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper powder and lemon juice.
  • Keep the vegetable filling aside.

For the tomato salsa:

  • Blanch the tomatoes in hot water. Run cold water over the tomatoes.
  • Coarsely grind the cool tomatoes with remaining ingredients listed under salsa.
  • Keep the tomato salsa aside.

For the salad:

  • Chop the vegetables (you may mash the avocados or just chop them) and season with salt and lemon.

 

Assembly:

  • Place one tortilla on a plate. Sprinkle cheese over the entire surface. Sprinkle vegetable filling on top of the cheese. Place another tortilla on top of the vegetable filling and lightly press the tortilla sandwich that you just created.
  • On a pan on low heat, carefully place this tortilla sandwich. Using a flat wooden spatula, keep pressing the top surface of the tortilla in an effort to melt the cheese and cause the tortillas to sort of fuse. Doing this expedites the melting of the cheese by trapping the heat within the enclosed roti.
  • Flip the sandwich and repeat the process of pressing the tortilla that is now on top using the spatula.
  • When the cheese has melted (takes a couple minutes or so, depending on the heat setting), you are ready to take it off the stove. Cut into four quarters and serve.

Quesadilla - Closeup2

 

Serving:

Serve the vegetable quesadillas with Greek yogurt, tomato salsa, lettuce-cucumber-avocado salad and fresh guacamole.

Quesadilla

 

 

Tastes (Rasa):

Sweet (wheat flour, carrots, corn, avocado), sour (tomato, lemon), salty (salt), bitter (lettuce, cumin, herbs like coriander, mint), pungent (pepper, garlic, ginger), astringent (cucumber, lettuce, herbs).

 

Doshic Influence:

Wheat is nourishing, heavy, sticky and cooling. It has kapha increasing qualities. Pittas with strong digestions can digest wheat well. Vatas, with their variable digestion might find wheat hard to digest. Ghee is tridoshic and improves digestion. Spices used in this recipe are mostly heating and digestive. Examples are black pepper, garlic, ginger. Pittas should be careful not to overdo these spices. I made this fairly mild, adding the spices very frugally just for flavor, especially since it is summer now and also to make sure that the kids eat it without a fuss. Cheese is heavy and sticky, so is kapha aggravating, is pitta aggravating due to its sourness and is okay for vatas because of its heavy, grounding qualities. In general though, from an Ayurvedic perspective, cheese is considered a processed, preservative laden food, that is best avoided. I don’t use it often, but do so every once in a while especially for the kids. Overall, this dish is okay for all doshas. Although, kaphas may consume it in only in moderation. Adding more vegetables and less cheese may be another way, in addition to the digestive spices, to make it more suitable for kaphas.

 

Effects on the Mind (Gunas):

This can be considered a rajasic-tamasic dish. Stimulating spices like garlic, onions contribute to the rajas. Processed cheese contributes to the tamas. Addition of fresh vegetables definitely makes these vegetable quesadillas score high on the sattva quotient. But overall, this is not a sattvic dish. Addition of freshly made paneer instead of cheese is one variation that is worth trying for those who want to avoid cheese. The onions and garlic can be omitted as well, without altering the taste too much.


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