Last week* I mentioned that we’d been on a big breakfast-for-dinner spree this winter, less out of a noble desire for inexpensive, balanced, wholesome meals and more because scrambling eggs at the last minute allows us to go all the way to 15 minutes before dinner to come up with an idea for it, which is meal-planning equivalent of the heavens opening up and glorifying all of my late-afternoon lethargy at last.
The other kick we’ve been on since the beginning of the year is passing off anything we can put in, on, or near a tortilla as dinner, leading to a steady rotation our go-to fajitas, beef tacos, black bean tacos and, in a mash-up of both the breakfast and tortilla benders, scrambled egg tacos. Many of you asked “how” I got my son to eat such foods as scrambled eggs and tacos, and while I’m tempted to take credit for it (“it’s the rainbow of local organic produce and definitely not the daily succession of pb&j sandwiches I ate while he was in the womb!”) it would be dishonest when it’s been more due to random outside influences. The grandmother of one of my son’s classmates brought in warm — warm! freshly cooked! how I long to be a kindergartener most days! — quesadillas for snack a few weeks ago, and it’s all he’s talked about since. Plus, since it fit into our all-tortillas-all-the-time meal plan, I set about finding a way to pass it off as dinner.
If we’re being honest, it got two cranky thumbs down from the kid** but we adults loved them so much, we are placing this in the permanent rotation and think you should too. First, char a mild-to-hot pepper or two and while it’s steaming its way out of its skin, cook a head of cauliflower at a blistering high heat in a big skillet and until your smoke alarm maybe goes off (sorry) and it’s equal parts tender, crisp and totally worth it. Mix this with the pepper, scallions, lime juice, salt and an unholy amount of shredded cheese, fry it between two small tortillas, make a lazy slaw (or whatever your salad of choice is) and wonder why you’re not eating “taco grilled cheese” (the kid’s words, not mine) for dinner more often. Seriously, why aren’t you? I think you should fix this tonight.
* before I lost a few days work when an unfortunate interaction between my laptop and a glass of water taught me some Very Important Life Lessons about file storage, p.s. you are owed banana pudding
One year ago: Garlicky Party Bread with Cheese and Herbs and Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
Two years ago: Pasta and White Beans with Garlic-Rosemary Oil
Three years ago: Cheddar, Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread
Four years ago: Mushroom and Farro (or Barley) Soup
Five years ago: Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes and New York Deli Rye Bread
Six years ago: Flaky Blood Orange Tart and Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
Seven years ago: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree and Candied Grapefruit Peels
Eight years ago: Icebox Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa and Blueberry Crumb Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Banana, Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles and Charred Corn Crepes
2.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Rice Gratin and Pink Lemonade Bars
3.5 Years Ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas
Poblanos are very mild hot peppers. You could use fewer or swap them with a small bell pepper for less heat, or swap one or both with a hotter jalapeño or other chile for more heat.
Yield: 6 quesadillas, serves 6
2 small or 1 large fresh poblano chiles
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into rough 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking quesadillas
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely grated monterey jack cheese
12 small (7-inch) flour tortillas
Char peppers: Over a gas burner turned to high, hold the poblanos over the flame with tongs and char them until they are black and blistered all over. Alternatively, you could do this under a broiler, turning them frequently for even blistering. Transfer hot chiles to a bowl and cover tightly with foil. Set aside to steam and let their skins loosen while you cook the cauliflower.
Char cauliflower: In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, until it’s evenly coated. Heat your largest heaviest frying pan over high heat until almost smoking, add cauliflower, and let it cook until each piece has a few black spots but is not mushy, turning and moving it frequently to ensure even cooking. This will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer florets to cutting board to rest.
Mix filling: When poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off with your fingertips or a paring knife. Pull out and discard stems and seed clusters, and slice peppers into 1/4-inch wide strips. Add to cauliflower on board and give both a rough chop together, reducing the cauliflower to no bigger than 1/2-inch chunks. Return cauliflower and peppers to the large bowl, add scallions, lime juice and salt to taste. You should have about 2 cups of cauliflower filling.
Assemble and cook quesadillas: Lay out 6 tortillas and spread 1/3 cup cauliflower filling and 1/3 cup shredded cheese to each. Place second 6 tortillas on top as lids. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, coat lightly with olive oil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook quesadillas until browned underneath, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully a flip — a large, thin spatula like my favorite kind helps here — and repeat on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.
To serve: Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with your choice of fixings. Two of my favorites are below.
1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
A few gratings fresh lime zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of salt
Combine, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve alongside quesadillas.
Lazy Taco Slaw
1 bag coleslaw mix or (as used here) 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage and 1 coarsely grated carrot
Juice of half a lime
2 scallions, sliced thin
A dollop of mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves
Toss cabbage mix, salt and lime together in a large bowl; set aside for 5 minutes. It will shrink down a bit. Stir in scallions, then mayo and hot sauce. Adjust seasonings/ingredients to taste, then stir in cilantro leaves. Serve alongside quesadillas or any of your favorite tortilla-clad meals.
179 comments on charred cauliflower quesadillas
You are amazing Deb, I am always searching for more cauliflower recipes, I love these! Thanks, Nicole
Oh hello! Can’t wait to try this. I finally made your cheesy cauliflower dish this week and it was sooooo good. Added breadcrumbs made with panko, celery and garlic salt, thyme and paprika. Will let you know how this one works out…
Going to ask Olaf to give you a nice warm hug for me for posting this. I’ve been considering making a vegetarian quesadillas for a while now but had no ideas for what to include or how to get started. Never have I thought about using cauliflower! Wonder of wonders. Okay, going to the grocery store in a snow storm to get these ingredients. Don’t you love the new purple cauliflower too, won’t it look so cool in this recipe =)
We made kimchi and steak quesadillas the other day and those, and your post, served as excellent reminders that there are very few things in life that aren’t better when smothered in melted cheese and wrapped in a golden, crispy tortilla.
Great combination of spice and tang in the slaw and crema; the textural cauliflower is a must try for my next meatless Monday. All well about your son; more for the adults right? I sorry you lost your files to water spill! I can not wait for your pudding recipe. Even that photo is mouth-watering!
Yum!! Looks so easy and delicious! I think I have all of these ingredients on hand too so I don’t have to brave the horrible weather in NYC – definitely will try this recipe tonight!
Oh man, I love quesadillas and I love caramelized bits of cauliflower. Why have I never before thought of combining them?
This looks incredible!
I once tried make a pizza with a cauliflower base which rob ably tastes similar to this. Such a versatile food though!
wow – these look amazing. I usually roast my cauliflower – would that work here?
yay – tonight’s dinner!
these look delish! we’re all about cauliflower this winter. mmmm!
these look amazing! i love cheese, i love roasted cauliflower, and i love anything quesadilla’ed!
I have quesadillas for dinner or a weekend lunch probably once per week.
This looks like a great addition, but I find that leftovers can often be tucked inside as well. I’ve made pretty much every version out there, and it is a great way to use up ingredients around the house and resist take out one more night. I can’t wait to try this version.
This look so yum. I love quesadillas
What’s the best way to do meal prep for this recipe for a couple of days?
Cook the cauliflower and jalapeno up then do a quick reheat in pan before assembling? Make the whole quesadilla then reheat in the pan? I really only have 5-10 mins to make dinner each night.
Either will work. I do find that quesadillas reheat well. Maybe don’t get them fully brown when you make them the first time, so you can cook them further without burning.
MMMMM, looks so tempting and delicious!! Great recipe for a vegetarian like myself! :)
I’m having a moment with poblano peppers! I’m not sure where they’re coming from, but they are definitely brightening up this dreary winter! Love this recipe!
I ate so much watermelon when I was pregnant I’m surprised she didn’t turn into one.
I’m hoping she ends up being flexible food-wise too and doesn’t live off of waffles, chicken nuggets, and yogurt in a tube :)
I adore you Deb! Made these and love them. I did however use corn tortillas. As a good Mexican, I just can’t bring myself to use flour tortillas for anything. For Dessert for two – there are poblano peppers all over Mexico but I’m not sure if that is the place they originate.
Ooooooooooh. Is about as articulate as I can be – they look SO GOOD.
There is a new pitta place in Paris called Miznon that do crazy flavours, one of which was the roast cauliflower with tahini that blew me away. Your quesadilla recipe looks like the perfect, easy home twist on it. Thanks!
I’m making this tonight. I just happen to have everything except the chillies and I have no motivation to shovel my way to the grocery store to get them. This looks like a nice, easy excuse for dinner. As always, you’ve come up with a great idea.
Just before reading this, I happened to make my 3 year old a roasted cauliflower and spinach quesadilla with smoked cheddar for snow day lunch, because that was what I had leftover in the fridge. It was more of a hit than I expected it to be, but this version looks better to me! We love quesadillas for dinner, but our 3 yr old won’t eat beans anymore, which is what we usually put in them, so it’s nice to have alternatives. (That said, black bean, roasted sweet potato, onion quesadillas are one of my favorites)
Yum! Smoked fish and cherry tomatoes is my go to quesadilla. I guess charring the cauli would have a similar smokey result. There’s something comforting about anything in a tortilla, thanks for the recipe.
Yum! Heads up that scallions are mentioned in the directions for the filling, but are not listed in the ingredients. :)
B — Thanks, now fixed. You’ll want three for the filling.
We are all tortillas all the time at our house, since its one of the few foods 4/4 of my kids will eat. None of them will eat a grilled cheese sandwich, but quesadilla? Heck yeah. I have been making tortillas from scratch lately and they are delightful, but we still buy more than our fair share at the store.
I can only get one of my kids to eat eggs of any sort which is completely maddening and frustrating since it would make dinners so much easier!
Looks amazing! So tasty on a salad too!
Quesadillas make for such a quick and easy meal! Love it!
Sounds delicious – I’ll give them a try… but am currently addicted to carmelized onion quesadilla (hello, yum)
I KNEW there was a reason I wanted to pick up tortillas at the store yesterday! I could probably eat those every day for a long time before getting sick of them.
I want the danged banana pudding. That looked amazing. These quesadillas will work as a stopgap tho… I will get bananas a.s.a.p. so that they will be ready to go when your laptop had dried out. Meanwhile thanks for the photo of it, and the I.O.U. ( I think.)
What a neat way to present a recipe. You make it look simple and tasty. Thanks!
Such a neat flavour! These sound lovely!!
just finished having one of these for lunch – it was absolutely delicious. I mY even manage to get my cauliflower-hating husband to give this a go.
Um, my husband isn’t a cauliflower fan but this looks like he might eat it without complaining!
I would never have thought to put cauliflower in a quesadilla, but what a great idea! I love cauliflower, so there’s kind of no way for this to go wrong. Can’t wait to try it!
And this is precisely why you are the absolute best: you publish great recipes all the time AND you post links to older recipes more suited to the other half of the world, who does that? :) (I live in the northern hemisphere right now, but I know what it is to be always on the opposite season as my favorite blogs and magazines!)
Glad we aren’t the only ones eating something in a flour tortilla twice a week. Steady rotation of black pepper lime steak tacos, tacos al pastor, cumin chicken tacos, and veggie tacos over here. The amount of guacamole I have consumed alongside is ridiculous. Because the point of a taco is getting to eat as much guacamole as possible, right?
I can’t wait to try this! I love a new cauliflower recipe.
Of course! Quesadillas. Why didn’t I think of that? Unfortunately, I won’t be leaving the house anytime soon because of all the snow. :( Maybe I’ll make quesadillas with the leftover chili from the SuperBowl. Thanks for the inspiration!
I am so very happy that I have an extra cauliflower in my fridge since I bought 2 but only used one for Super Bowl buffalo cauliflower wings!
I love, love, love the way that cauliflower makes cheddar taste cheesier; what a brilliant add to quesadillas!
I am NOT a cook, but this looked so good to me that I actually went to the store, got supplies and made it. I roasted the cauliflower, pepper, and onion in the oven. My dogs freak out if the smoke alarm goes off. And it was SO wonderful! I thank you for the brilliant recipe, and I am proud of Myself!
Yum! Looks right up my alley! When your son gave it a thumbs down, what did you do? I’ve been struggling with this when my very small kids turn their noses up to new recipes. Make something else or say too bad? Thanks!!
these look wonderful! hooray!
Kids only hold so much weight as taste testers!! This sounds yummy!!
Oh how lovely! I make roasted cauliflower with garlic, lemon, salt and a scatter of Parmesan. I am going to use my recipe to stuff quesadillas with as well as trying yours out Deb. Thank you.
It looks amazzzingggggg! So delicious! Need to try this recipe.
Amanda (#37) is a girl after my own heart: Because the point of a taco is getting to eat as much guacamole as possible, right? Heck yeah!
Wow, this looks really delicious! I love cauliflower and i LOVE quesadillas! I think everyone could benefit from eating more vegetarian! Nice recipe, I’m for sure going to try it!
Deb, these look scrumptious! My only question is using olive oil in frying the cauliflower since it has a low burning point. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to use grape seed oil or other oil which can stand high temperatures? I may be mistaken, but I think I’ve read somewhere that bringing oils above that point is not really advisable from a health viewpoint. I think grape seed oil is rather expensive, so would love to hear your advice.
These look great! I’m always looking for something fun and interesting to do with cauliflower! Not much beats cast iron frying, but have you tried this recipe with high-heat roasting the veg? I imagine the crispy “umph” isn’t as prominent…
As always, thank you, Deb!
Looks really delicious! Cauliflower seems to be everywhere these days; I need to get with it! “Taco grilled cheese”- too cute!
Deb, you are a cruel mistress. Cauliflower is hands down one of my favorite veggies, and I’m all in for anything vaguely Mexican-inspired. (I grew up in Arizona, now live on the East Coast, and yearn for the food on a near-daily basis)
I roasted the veggies at 500 for 5 or 6
min and they got crispy
Deb, you have a very smart kid. That is all.
I believe that anything involving cheese and tortillas automatically jumps to the front of the line in terms of winning dishes. Score for you!
Cauliflower is definitely my go-to vegetable these days, this is a wonderful way to use it. Grilled cheese in any guise is always a hit. Thanks.
Margit — Not everyone agrees that olive oil isn’t good for frying. Here’s Sara Jenkins of Porsena/Porchetta disagreeing. It’s worth noting that many olive oils are dishonestly labeled (Mueller has since written a book on the topic; he also has a website where he includes olive oil recommendations that he has researched to be what they claim); it’s very likely that these are the subpar olive oils people find unpleasant for frying. That said, I feel strongly that there’s no need to use your fanciest most delicate/grassy olive oil to fry. I keep more of a workaday one around, one I buy in massive cans, saving the delicate stuff for raw uses, like salads.
Lisa — In this case, ignored it. Okay, it most cases. If he rejects something because it’s spicy (I’d made him one sans poblanos, even), I’m willing to make a milder version.
Oh, Deb. You’ve done it again! I’ll be making these as soon as I can get my hands on some flour tortillas here in Spain…
What a great alternative to black beans and spinach! Cauliflower is definitely the new kale…can’t wait to try this out….
Hey Deb — looks delish! A request: when you post recipes, can you give us some idea of the ingredient quantity in cups or by weight? I know you say a small head of cauliflower, for instance, but it’s unclear if that’s 3 cups or more of florets, and having that info would help me scale the seasonings, etc. You do such a wonderful job with creative ideas and directions, thanks for helping me come up with new ideas to resolve our perpetual what’s-for-dinner quandry!
My five year old’s favorite quesadilla combo is a sprinkling of smushed pintos, corn (from the freezer, yes) and cheese with olives on the side. She eats it so well, and it has a vegetable and two proteins, that I consider it a successful and nutritious-enough meal.
Question: What is the best way to chop cauliflower? I should probably look for a Youtube video, but I avoid using it (the cauliflower, not YouTube) because it smells like farts and makes a huge mess of white crumblys when I start chopping. Help!
First off – Deb this looks so great! I am always looking for new ways to get cauliflower in (and to have an excuse to eat more cheese) ;)
Second – to everyone that is asking about feeding kids who may reject a lot of foods. You may want to look up the DOR (Division of Responsibility) model by Ellyn Satter. Excellent excellent child and parent friendly model. Total common sense and truly great –
Fantastic! I love the flavors you’ve got going on in here.
This looks really good, BUT I seriously can’t wait to see what you do with banana pudding!
Hi Deb, these look fab, except for the slight issue of a strong aversion to cauliflower ;-)
I often find that substituting broccoli for cauliflower works in a lot of cases- do you think that would work here? Or any other veg suggestions?
Hi Deb, I love your work, you’re always an inspiration. How sad that i can not find your book in Turkey.
Greetings from Istanbul,
Thanks for the cute touch “other side of the world”. Since I live in perpetual summer, these winter months of comfort food just won’t cut it for my family (although we still sometimes eat it with the a/c cranked up).
I’m sorry, you said BANANA PUDDING. I’m listening….
Jen — I think broccoli would work great — and may have been more popular with my kid. ;)
Megan — I’m a great fan of looking at YouTube for all cooking technique, and I’d say this is pretty close to what I do. Once I have it in large chunks and want to cut them smaller, the main thing I always try to do which cuts down on mess — but, frankly, some cauliflower heads are just more crumbly than others, you can just scrape them into your pan — is to either break or cut the larger florets into smaller pieces through the stem portion that’s attached.
Articul8r — Yes, I agree. And I usually have more detail, but this recipe, I promise, is very relaxed and it will still work even if your cauliflower head is slightly smaller or bigger than mine was, or if your heap of cheese is larger. My cauliflower clocked in at about 1 pound even.
Being from the UK I’m not that familiar with Mexican food and get very confused about the difference between tacos, quesedillas, burritos etc… but these look fabulous and are tempting me to try my hand at Mexican food :)
Made this with some awesome modifications:
Used frozen (thawed before roasting, obviously) cauliflower
And threw in some sauteed spinach and baby bellas.
Also used pepper jack cheese for some kick.
Not to mention that I made my own “crema” by combining greek yogurt and crushed red pepper flakes with lime.
So amazing that I didn’t even miss the meat!
April, (commenter 69), please consider that there are limited resources on this planet and purposefully cranking up the a/c to recreate winter conditions is very wasteful. There are people who cannot afford heating, you know. I really do not mean to say this in a mean way – just something you will hopefully consider for the future.
Hey Deb, these could be made gluten free in a snap if you subbed in corn tortillas for the flour ones. I always like to see the GF section here expanded. :)
I looove putting cauliflower in Mexican recipes! It’s such a great substitute for meat and pairs really well with cheese. I really prefer to roast the cauliflower at high heat because I like to have fewer things I’m watching on the stove-top. If you put the tray in to heat up before putting the oiled cauliflower on it, you can get really great color and flavor!
I made these tonight. The whole shebang including slaw and crema. I only put poblano in me and my husbands in case there was too much heat for the kids (and they were totally mild). Looking forward to making them again with the leftovers. My almost 4 year old didn’t even ask what was in them, he just scarfed them down. Kids picked at the slaw but I’ve yet to make a slaw they’ve been enthusiastic about. So thanks again.
I agree with Natalie in that here in Mexico it would be unthinkable to make a quesadilla with a flour tortilla, apart from the fact that corn tortillas are much healthier.
Poblano chiles originate from the State of Puebla in South-Central Mexico. When they are dried they are called ” Chile Ancho “.
I have seen Poblano chiles in US super markets and know that friends living there replace them often with Anaheim Chiles.
I am definitely going to make those quesadillas this weekend with home made blue corn tortillas.
Cauliflower in a quesadilla? Whoa. Gonna have to try this to believe it. But a more important question… when is the banana pudding recipe coming?? I’ve been scanning the web for a recipe using homemade Nilla wafers (I’m assuming yours are), and would love to follow your lead. My feller’s birthday is later this month, and I want to it for him. Thanks!
Any recommendations for how to bring the leftovers to school/work (if possible)?
Alison — Can you warm it up there? If so, this definitely reheats well. If not, maybe warm it in the morning and wrap it tightly in foil.
@Alison – I used the leftover cauliflower/slaw as a makeshift brown rice bowl with leftover chicken I had in the fridge. A thwap of the crema on top too.
I’ve been wanting to make banana pudding. I look forward to your recipe, especially since the cookies look homemade. :)
Cauliflower is all the rage right now! We saw a cauliflower parm recipe the other day. Love this use for it – can’t wait to try!
Love, love, love cauliflowe!. So versatile. Will definitely be adding this recipe to our collection. Have you tried making cauliflower rice? We have a recipe on our blog :)
Looks great! Will be cooked;)! Best wishes from Munich! KochBock
These look delish! Sometimes I mix a bit of the juice from a can of pickled jalapeños to sour cream and cumin for crema. Yum.
Yum! great recipe. Can’t wait to try it
Any suggestions for how to char a pepper without a gas range or a grill?
Anna — Yes, use your broiler. Just roll it around every few minutes so that it easily chars.
Made these tonight and they were delicious!!! My 5 year old twins inhaled them. Awesome. thank you!
The idea of charred poblanos, cauliflower and gooey cheese sandwiched between two crispy tortillas sounds divine.
Made these for dinner last night and they were absolutely delicious! We had to use our (pathetic) oven’s broiler to char the peppers, so they weren’t quite a blackened as we would have preferred, so they were a smidge tougher to peel, but it was totally worth it! This one is definitely being added to our repertoire!
Along the lines of cauliflower, I tried making a Skinny Cauliflower soup this weekend. It ended up being totally amazing, and I highly recommend. Give it a try :) http://meaggles89.blogspot.com/2015/02/skinny-cauliflower-soup.html
Made these last night and they were FABULOUS!!! And then I had the leftover quesadilla reheated this morning with an egg on top. Just as amazing. Thanks for the great recipe – I’ve never been a cauliflower fan and lately am coming to appreciate it and start quite the little love affair.
I actually gasped and said, out loud, “Damn Deb, this is freaking delicious.”
The cauliflower with poblano and scallions was so delicious, I think I will eat them alone without even a tortilla. This is crazy talk considering I love nothing more than carbs with cheese.
My 18 year old meat/junk food lover son said: “Mom, it’s as good as Taco [Ding Dong]!” I did add a little shredded roasted chicken to his from Sunday’s dinner. He snagged the leftovers for high school lunch even. Now that’s saying something!
I made these with the pcikled onions on top, and the southwestern brisket in my husband’s, wholly cow. We almost had to evacuate the aparment from the smoke, but totally worth it. I’m thinking I may have used the wrong kind of pan to cook them in. SO delicious. We also had the chocolate crumble for dessert, it was all I could do to not eat the leftovers as a midnight snack! Thanks for the awesome recipes.
Made this recipe and it was amazing, love the flavors. Exactly what I need!
Deb, love your play on the classic combination of broccoli and cheddar cheese. Quesadillas are truly perfect for any time, climate, or festivity. Will definitely have to try out this recipe with gluten-free tortillas! xo
The ONLY problem with this recipe is I only ended up with 3 quesadillas because I couldn’t stop eating the filling while I was making them. Delicious!
I made this with vegan-cheese and garlic – easy veganized treat! With extra hot sauce too …. mmmmmmmmm
This looks amazing. Love the idea of using the cauliflower this way! Thanks for the idea.
This looks amazing, thanks for sharing !
Just made these for dinner and they’re great! I’m always on the lookout for creative, easy cauliflower recipes. It’s worth making the crema. I subbed Greek yogurt and it was quite tasty and zesty. Thank you!
I, too, have put variations on quesadillas on a weekly rotation and wonder why it took me a couple of decades to get around to this. Other quick vegetable fillings are sautéed greens of some sort (chard, kale, collards, beet greens, whatever you have handy) — I usually blanch them quickly, then chop or cut into thin strips and they sauté up while you are grating the cheese. Caramelized (or almost caramelized) red or yellow onions are nice, as is shredded red cabbage. I dispense with stacking and flipping tortillas by using larger tortillas and folding them in half after spreading cheese and filling(s). That way there is less chance of the filling falling out when you flip them. I often use whole wheat or multigrain tortillas (always trying to get more fiber and reduce white flour when I can without sacrificing taste — with quesadillas if there is enough melted cheese and spice, you really won’t notice)
I made this for lunch today (at work) with a counter top oven and an induction burner. I broiled the peppers (I used one half of a red pepper and a small jalapeno) and they were nicely charred and very easy to peel. This quesadilla was fantastic! Definitely a keeper. Thanks, Deb
I made these last night to rave reviews. I will definitely make them again, but with two revisions. 1) I found that the poblano pepper was so mild that I didn’t even notice it. Are they usually so mild? Can you suggest a slightly spicier chile? 2) Jack cheese is too bland…I will use sharp cheddar next time. BTW – the lime cumin was fantastic with these. Enjoyed the slaw as well.
My wife and I are in agreement that these are the best quesadillas we’ve ever had (we did make the slaw and crema recipes too). I have to admit that I initially questioned the use of cauliflower in Mexican food, but you have won me over completely. Thanks!
I’m planning on making these quesadillas for a dinner party tomorrow night! Deb – how would they taste with cooked prawns / shrimp added in?
These look stunning!
I can already taste them they sound that good! I’m going to make them this weekend and serve them with my favourite guilt free kidney bean and lentil chilli!
These are unbelievably amazing. I made them 3 times in 48h the first time I discovered them. Everyone I cooked them for was almost stunned after the first bite: “Oh my gosh, these are SO good?!”
I even made mason jar salads with them, sans wraps (coleslaw in bottom of jar), sprinkled Cilantro on top – mmmh!
My kids love cauliflower..these should be a hit!
I made these as tacos tonight to save a little bit of time, and they were fantastic! I’ve made them as quesadillas before and they were amazing as well. The tacos did save a bit of time since we didn’t have to pre-assemble/cook/flip.
Oh my WOW!!!! I actually used this amazing filling as the innards to enchiladas with a homemade roasted salsa verde for dinner tonight……I will be using the leftover cauliflower filling to make a quesadilla for my lunch tomorrow!! THANK YOU!! Your recipes are always so beautiful to visualize and tasty when made!! Keep them coming!!
I will second @115 Nicole and say “Oh my WOW!” — these are perfection. We had to pry ourselves away from them last night in order to have some leftovers for today. also made the crema and salad, and they were both great!
We used Trader Joe’s Brown Rice tortillas (never going back to flour), which are 9″ and come 6 to a bag, so we made 3 enormous quesadillas. Having dealt with that, next time i would probably just make them open-faced and fold, rather than try to flip a 9″ round, very full “sandwich.” but fallen innards be damned, they were still well worth it and provided plenty of leftovers (for me. not sharing.).
I can just imagine the flavor and crunch, pefrect!
Breakfast tacos are the norm in South Texas. Eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, cheese, refried beans, chorizo…you name it and it’ll be in a tortilla for breakfast. Oh, almost forgot barbacoa (edit: and avocado and salsa). I’m so happy to be home again. People in other places I’ve lived thought I was crazy when I waxed on poetically about breakfast tacos, but if they’d only had a good one then they would know why.
These look amazing! I think that I’ll have to convince the meat-loving folks in the house to give it a try. Thank you for the recipe!
These were so great, and super adaptable! Especially when you get home from work and are trying to use up everything in your fridge without having to run out and get that ~one~ ingredient.
I used frozen cauliflower, jalapeños, and half of a yellow bell pepper because that’s what I had. I also added some fresh sweet corn because it’s summer and why not? I’m a big fan of folding over the quesadillas, rather than doing the (kind of scary) flip. Still worked out great.
Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Deb!
These are amazing. I froze a few the extras (cooked, wrapped in parchment and foil) and revived them in a skillet. Delicious twice over! One of my favorite recipes from this site, and that’s saying a lot, since I cook from here all the time.
Made these for dinner last night to rave reviews!! Thanks for such a fab recipe Deb!!
Just made these, but with red pepper since i can’t find poblanos here in Brazil. They tasted great! “Unfortunately” i’ll have to make them again since i just realized that i forgot to put the lime juice… I think it’ll taste even greater then!
I made these last night.Another great and simple vegetarian meal option-thanks!
Do you drain off the water that comes out when you mix the cabbage, salt and lime together?
Tawni — I haven’t, but I usually just mix and eat it so runoff hasn’t been an issue.
These are amazing.
I only had half a cauliflower on hand, so I stretched these a little further with a puree of butter beans, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Delicious! Will definitely make again.
These were DELICIOUS and the crema recipe was much greater than the sum of its parts… My only issue – definitely 3 servings, not 6!
Cruciferous veggies + cheese + a crunchy carby thing = pure dinner satisfaction.
Just like your broccoli and cheese tartines, this is so going on my to-try list :)
Tasty, although my cauliflower never got black. I tried homemade tortillas, but I think I actually like TJ’s handmade ones better!
I used little six inch corn tortillas and made a big ol’ mess when I tried to flip these in a skillet as much of the filling tumbled out. Next time, I’ll be taking the lazy route and tossing these in the oven. I think I’d also roast the cauliflower in the oven rather than on the skillet. I had a hard time getting char spots without overcooking the cauliflower (if only I had a grill!).
We just had these for dinner! THEYRE AMAZING. charred cauliflower is so good. Wow. Really, go make these now. We added some ground seitan to the mixture for some protein but otherwise kept everything the same. I can’t stop gushing.
Just made these — yum! No need to flip the big tortilla if you spread cheese over entire bottom, spread cauliflower on just 1 half, then fold once cheese is melty.
These were so good! I had leftover cauliflower and poblano so I used it to stuff a spaghetti squash!!
These were yummy and made easier thanks to the commenters who suggested using larger tortillas and folding in half and adding the cheese into the cauliflower mix to glue it all together! Roasted the cauliflower with some mild chili powder at a high temp instead of doing it in the pan. Will make again.
I loved this recipe, even with the wrong cheese (I made them with sharp cheddar). My daughter doesn’t like cheese, so I made some couscous and served it with the couliflower. She loved it. Thank you!
Hi Deb! It looks like you might have either parsley or cilantro in the pic of the ingredients but it’s not listed in the recipe. I made this (liked it) but thought it might be missing a little something… Love your site!!!!!!
I’d had these on my to-do list for the past year and finally got around to making them — they were worth the wait! Definitely more impressive than their humble ingredients would suggest. Though I got a good char on the cauliflower in the 8-10 minute guideline, it took a bit longer to get the cauliflower tender, so I put a lid on for a couple minutes to speed up the process. I also folded larger tortillas in half to safeguard against losing filling in the flip. Will make these again and again.
Made these last night- yum! For our 2 1/2 year old I puréed some of the cauliflower and put that on his quesadilla- are the whole thing. Can’t wait to try it again!
Finally tried this one last night, and it was FABULOUS!!!
This was great. I added some corn and spinach and it more than made a meal.
Who puts cauliflower in a quesadilla? I mean, seriously.
So, I did. And it’s so good I’ve made it multiple times.
Roasted a green bell pepper once when I didn’t have poblano. Another time I just opened a jar of fire roasted green chiles when I was short on time.
Thanks for making my unhealthy quesadilla obsession healthy.
Love love love this recipe! Have made it loads of time. So delicious!! I pile the cole slaw and lime crema on top – so so good. Go make it now!
This is a keeper for “Meatless Monday”. Delicious!
We finally got around to trying these and it was DELICIOUS. The quesadillas and the crema were particularly fantastic (a hit with my 5- and 2-year-olds), and the crema should not be skipped. We think it’s a very important flavor component. I’m not sure what happened with the coleslaw, however. As far as I can tell, we followed the recipe to a T (it’s obviously possible that we made some mistake), but I could never get the flavor to be anything but one-dimensional, no matter how much I dialed up the salt or the hot sauce or the lime juice. It was weird, given the success we’ve had with most of Deb’s other recipes. We’ll try it again (including the coleslaw, to see if I can get it right), but even if that piece never works, the quesadillas and crema were showstoppers. So, so good.
I love this recipe. I’ve only ever made it halved, in a 8×8 glass pan, and it comes out perfect. I’ve used fresh berries, frozen berries, both taste great. For whatever reason, it seems way easier than making a full cheesecake in my springform pan but it delivers the same taste and texture. Love.
Hello Deb. I wanted to tell you that I make a roasted broccoli cheese quesadilla similar to your cauliflower one. (I process
The broccoli for consistency). I first had it at the Ritz in Sarasota and I know you will love it. One of the best things I’ve ever made/eaten in a tortilla. Ps. If you are ever in Maine please stop by for a bed+breakfast! Thank you for all you do. I love your writing and cooking.
These were so good! They even got the stamp of approval from my friend from LA, home of Mexican food snobs. I served them with SK’s pomegranate grapefruit palomas for an awesome dinner party.
My grocery store didn’t have poblanos, so we used two medium Anaheim peppers. I couldn’t taste them at all. I’ll try green bell peppers next time, or poblanos if I can get them.
Oh wow! I know what we’re having for dinner. (And no one need know that that cauliflower has been in the bottom drawer longer than it should have been.) Thank you!
These are wonderful, so good, quick and easy that the cauliflower filling on its own makes a tasty salad for a lower calorie meal — skip the tortilla and cheese, and substitute yogurt for sour cream in the crema. The combination of flavors is wonderful on its own. Thanks Deb!
These are OK. I’ve made them a couple of times, I think the flavor could use more “oomph” because the cauliflower is kind of bland, even when charred. I’d put some cumin, garlic powder, charred white onions, and cilantro in the filing to give them a boost. I’d also mix the cheese together with the other filings before placing it on the tortillas so they “glue” together better for flipping.
I have to agree with you! Made them tonight and thought they needed something! A little boring.
A tiny sprinkle of cheese on the bottom tortilla before you put on the cauliflower (and then the rest of the cheese) also helps glue the quesadilla together!
added a little cumin seed when charring along with the some corn.
my 2 year old also rejected.
about to make lunch with the leftover filling. and potentially add bacon. that’s just how i roll.
Made this for my meat loving husband. He said “that is a very good quesadilla babe!” Meatbless Monday win!!!
This looks like a great combo, I’ve had so much delicious food thanks to this website!
Just in case you see this, Deb, in Mexico one way chilies are steamed is wrapped in a dishrag then into a plastic bag (then the rag helps you to take off the skin). Maybe you’ve already compared, but this method works really well.
Made these before and they were yummy! Decided the next time I make them, I will use a larger tortilla and fold it in half for easier flipping!
I’ve made the vegetable portion of this many times. It is delicious and can be done entirely under the broiler. Just get the peppers on the sheet pan and broil until soft and charred, put them in a bowl with the chopped scallions and covered with plastic wrap, and then toss your cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin (if you wish). Put that back under the broiler for three mins, toss, three more mins, toss again, and maybe another minute. Remove from oven, prep the peppers, and toss everything together. Then add lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. It’s so good with eggs over the top!
These are absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS. So hearty and so delicious. I’m not always the biggest cauliflower fan, but the char on the cauliflower makes these. I threw mine on the grill, along with the poblano and some jalapeños for spice. When combined with the yogurt (a must, in my opinion) – wow. Definitely adding these to my summer rotation!
To make this even quicker and more weeknight-friendly, I skip the poblano and use pepper jack cheese. Today I mixed the grated cheese with the cooled cauliflower and then filled the tortillas with this mixture. It helped glue the whole thing together during flipping. We love this recipe, and it is in our regular rotation!
This lazy slaw is awesome, thanks Deb!
I made it to accompany spring rolls and added roasted sesame seeds to move into a slightly-vaguely asian taste, works great.
These were pretty great as an easy weeknight meal! I used a small can of hatch chilis in place of the poblanos and I think it still worked out. These will definitely stay in our rotation, though my 2.5 year old was not impressed.
Could you make the quesadillas in the oven if you wanted to make several at once to serve for a group?
I think so. I haven’t done it but I do think it could work.
Textures are great, flavor is bland! Like others, I added some spices (garlic powder, paprika, chili powder) and found that made a big difference. Also added cilantro and pickled red onion. Lovely!
This was super yummy! Lovely way not to eat meat. My kids liked it as well which is a win.
Thoughts on roasting rather than pan charring the cauliflower? My largest heaviest skillet is warped and i am cursed with a glass top electric stove… and i want this like. now :) (sooner than i’ll buy a new skillet or fix my old one)
You definitely can. Just look for good color — will happen fast.
I found a cauliflower calzone recipe in my new cookbook addressed to families and while I found the idea great, the execution is a bit lacking (to my mind). We ate it and it was good, but not great. One big mistake to me was that the cauliflower is blanched, not roasted. Then I remembered this recipe here and I will make a combined version next time (because I find it easier to make two big calzones in the oven in advance of dinner than standing at the frying pan while we eat – because let’s face it, six quesadillas would be eaten by my husband alone…). But yummy dough + cauliflower + cheese is a winner for sure!!
These were delicious, but SO difficult to flip over. I made such a mess trying to do so! I think if I make them again, I will just fold these in half vs. putting a lid on them and flipping them.
My kids love cauliflower and I am always looking for a new way to eat it. These are amazing and quite tasty!
How much coarse salt do you add to the slaw? I just added a bit of iodized salt, it hasn’t shrunk much. thanks!
Made these last night and loved them! Only change I made was to roast the cauliflower in a scorching hot oven (basically the cauliflower taco method!) for maybe 40 minutes. Very important to season your cauliflower really well, because it can be a pretty bland vegetable without lots of salt and pepper (as the recipe notes). I see a lot of commenters had flavor issues and I imagine the problem is proper seasoning, because this recipe isn’t bland if seasoned correctly.
These were a hit! Even my 4yo ate them (though admittedly he is a cauliflower lover). I subbed half a large red bell pepper for the poblano. Used a mixture of Monterey Jack/Colby because that was at the store already shredded. As suggested by others I used one larger tortilla and put the filling on half and folded over when ready to avoid spillage. Loved them!
My kids weren’t fans of the cauliflower but I liked this recipe. I think the crema is what makes them good.
Really delicious – I’ve made several times now and serve open face which makes them easier to make. A bit time intensive but worth it!
Made these tonight and the hubby loved them. Very umami and rich flavor for a vegetarian quesadilla. I made Pico de gallo instead of the cream. Thanks Deb!