Broccoli Quesadillas

April 17, 2021
15 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 6 quesadillas
Author Notes

These broccoli quesadillas forever opened my heart and mind to quesadillas' deliciousness. Inspired by Gonzalo Guzmán's Quesadillas with Brussels Sprouts and Cascabel Chile Oil in the cookbook Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen, they have layers of flavor from charred broccoli and red onion, a smoky-spicy-tangy chipotle-peanut sauce, and lots of melty, salty cheese. They take a little more effort than a clean-out-the-fridge type of quesadilla, but the pay-off is so worth it. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the quesadillas
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided, plus more for cooking quesadillas
  • 1 large broccoli crown (or 2 small), about 400 grams or 14 ounces
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 lime
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups crumbled cotija, crumbled queso fresco, or shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 6 soft corn or flour tortillas (about 6-inches in diameter)
  • For serving: 1/2 cup sour cream, lime wedges
  • For the chipotle-peanut sauce
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (I like roasted and salted)
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobe sauce (from the can)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • kosher salt, to taste
  1. To shave the broccoli: Trim the crown of any discolored areas and cut into quarters. Use the slicing blade of a food processor (or a sharp knife) to cut the broccoli into 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 4 to 4 1/2 cups. Set aside. (Tip: wipe the bowl of the food processor clean, and use it for Step 2.)
  2. To make the chipotle-peanut sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine peanuts, chipotles, adobe sauce, water, olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Taste a small amount to gauge spiciness, then add honey, to taste, to balance the heat. Taste again, and adjust seasoning and acidity. Add more water (a teaspoon or two at a time) to loosen the sauce, if needed.
  3. To make the filling: In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Sauté until tender and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another tablespoon of oil, then the broccoli; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the chipotle-peanut sauce, lower the heat, and cook another minute to warm through. Season with salt and a few squeezes of lime juice, to taste.
  4. To make quesadillas: In a large skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, then place the tortillas in the skillet (working in batches to fit). Quickly sprinkle the whole tortilla with cheese, then spread the broccoli mixture (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) over half the tortilla and fold in half. Flip quesadilla; cook, pressing down a few times, until the cheese is fully melted and the tortilla is nicely toasted on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes in total. **Alternatively, you can make the quesadillas with two full tortillas, which I sometimes do if my corn tortillas aren’t pliable.
  5. For serving, stir together sour cream and 1/4 cup of the chipotle-peanut sauce (or more or less, to taste). Cut quesadillas into wedges, and serve with sour cream and lime.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Katie Bates
    Katie Bates
  • Dana
  • Stephanie B.
    Stephanie B.
  • Kim
  • Louise Kendall
    Louise Kendall

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

15 Reviews

Katie B. November 21, 2021
This was an instant classic in our house! We are always satisfied and happy when we make it. The sauce makes the dish - don’t skip any of it!
EmilyC November 22, 2021
So happy to hear this, Katie! : )
Kristin May 18, 2021
This was absolutely fabulous! Husband and I both absolutely loved it. The only thing I did differently was to roast the broccoli and toss it with the sauce when it was finished, mostly because we love roasted broccoli. Such a great combination, and I know we'll use that sauce on lots of other things. Thank you!
Dana April 17, 2021
Any veggie based quesadilla situation catches my undivided attention, but I think the chipotle sauce and sweet red onions make this super special. For the sauce, I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand: pistachios instead of peanuts, sherry vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, and maple syrup instead of honey. Just yum.
EmilyC April 19, 2021
So glad you enjoyed these, Dana! Thanks so much for your note.
Stephanie B. January 3, 2020
My husband made this for dinner. He doesn't have a f52 account, but liked it so much that he specifically asked me to write a review, so basically he loved it (as did I). You struck gold with the peanuty, cheesy, broccoli combo!
EmilyC January 4, 2020
This comment made my morning! Thanks Stephanie (and your husband!)!
Kim May 25, 2019
This is a really good recipe! The idea of vegetables is so great - opens the possibilities of quesadillas for everything! The chipotle/peanut sauce is AMAZING!!! I'm making a third batch and we're eating it on everything from roasted vegetables to rice. I'm making the sauce with salted, roasted cashews. SO GOOD!!! I've never been a big quesadilla fan, but the roasted vegetable option has made them my new favorite thing! Thank You!!!
EmilyC May 25, 2019
Hi Kim! I'm so thrilled to hear that you like these. I love them for the same reasons -- infinite vegetable possibilities and the sauce (cashews sound amazing)! Thanks so much for trying them and circling back!
charla A. May 19, 2019
This sounds amazing! I plan to make this week. When cutting broccoli should it be in thin 1/4 inch planks or will is she more shredded and broken up? Thank you for sharing this unique dish!
EmilyC May 19, 2019
Hi charla: I like to do thin planks / cross sections, but whether you slice by hand or via food processor, you'll get a combination of intact slices and little pieces of florets that fall off. Use all of it -- the different textures are really nice in the filling! Hope you enjoy these! : )
Louise K. May 15, 2019
Just made this, so so good! The broccoli almost didn’t make it to the tortilla, I was just eating it out of the pan! Happy to say it was just as delicious with the cheese and made into a quesadilla. Love the cauliflower idea too! Thanks for this fast, easy, delicious recipe 😀
EmilyC May 16, 2019
Yay, so glad you liked this, Louise -- both the filling straight out of the pan and the quesadillas! ; ) Thanks so much for your note!
DBSeattle May 15, 2019
We followed the recipe as written. My wife, a lifelong vegetarian, was ecstatic about this dish - claims it's one of the most original, delightful dishes she's had in 10 years! "Oh my god! Blew my mind!"

I added some flatiron steak marinated in a chipotle rub to mine.

Have to say, one hell of an amazing flavor. Rich, but achingly familiar from other cuisines and recipes we've tried over the years.

We both agreed to try this again with cauliflower, which we thought would go well with both the cheese and peanuts, which we'd never had together in a dish before.

EmilyC May 15, 2019
Hi DBSeattle! So, so happy that you and your wife enjoyed these! Thanks so much for your nice note! Also, please let me know what you think if you try the quesadillas with cauliflower (I haven't done that yet!). Also FYI, if you have leftover chipotle-peanut sauce, it's wonderful with roasted vegetables: broccoli, of course, but also carrots and sweet potatoes. Toss a few tablespoons of it and olive oil with the vegetables, and then roast at high heat until they're done. I do this a lot with salsa macha, which inspired this sauce.