Friday, July 19, 2013

Zucchini & Mushroom Quesadillas with Pepper Jack Cheese & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I came across this recipe on Oh My Veggies the other day. I have always loved quesadillas. As a child, they were one of my favorite things to make. I'd take a tortilla, stuff it with grated cheddar cheese, fold it, and put it in the microwave until the cheese melted. Best snack ever. Over the years, my quesadillas have gotten much more grown-up and sophisticated. I never really thought that veggie quesadillas would be something to share on the blog, because I thought they were something that everyone knew how to make. Well, I've ran into several people who have never had a quesadilla. Some people said they didn't even know what one was. I guess I grew up in a house where Mexican food was a staple, so how was I supposed to know that there were so many who were deprived of yummy Mexican dishes? The recipe I found inspired me to share one of my favorite ways to make quesadillas. The cilantro pesto sounds amazing, and I definitely want to make that soon!

These quesadillas have a good kick to them and the pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch. If you want to, you can leave out the pumpkin seeds and add cooked and crumbled bacon to the quesadillas instead - that way you can appease the meat-lovers in your home! Enjoy.

Recipe for Zucchini & Mushroom Quesadillas with Pepper Jack Cheese & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. of olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. of raw pumpkin seeds
1/8 tsp. of cumin powder
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. of minced jalapeno pepper
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced, cut into half or quartered
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 - 2 cups of grated pepper jack cheese (depends on your cheesiness preference)
6 flour tortillas (soft taco size - 8")
*If you want to add bacon, omit the pumpkin seeds and cook 4 strips of turkey bacon or regular bacon. Crumble it before putting it into the quesadillas.

Toast the pumpkin seeds first. Toss the pumpkin seeds with the 1/2 tsp. of oil, cumin powder, and a little bit of salt. Place on a pan and put into oven or toaster oven set at 300 degrees for 7 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool.

Put the other 1/2 Tbsp. of oil into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the mushrooms and saute for 4 - 5 minutes, then add in the minced jalapeno pepper and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes. Carefully transfer the mushrooms and jalapeno pepper to a plate or bowl. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and add in the sliced zucchini. Add more oil if needed. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and then transfer zucchini to a plate or bowl.

Heat an electric skillet to 300 degrees. Place a tortilla on the warmed skillet. Top half of the tortilla shell with a little cheese, mushrooms, zucchini and pumpkin seeds (or crumbled bacon pieces). Top with a little more cheese. Carefully fold the other half of the tortilla on top of the cheese and fixings. Heat on one side for 30 seconds to a minute, then carefully flip with your hands or a spatula. Cook for a  minute or until the cheese is melted and tortilla is warmed through. Then transfer the cooked quesadilla to a plate. Continue with the other tortillas until all the cheese or fixings are gone (depending on the size of your electric skillet, you might be able to cook more than one at a time). Cut each quesadilla in half.

Serve plain or serve with sour cream, avocado, and/or super salsa. Recipe serves 4 - 6.

Recipe inspired by: Oh My Veggies