zucchini quesadillas

Sure, it’s only been one month since I wrote “I don’t find summer squash naturally loveable. Its flavor is not robust—fairly watery when fresh, slippery when cooked, and even when you do succeed in browning or crisping it, this textural triumph is short-lived.” But I never meant that I avoid it. Just because it may not be the most popular vegetable at the party doesn’t mean that it cannot flourish under the right conditions (salt, pepper, acidity, heat, herbs, and cheese — please). Conveniently, I almost always have these conditions in stock.

any zucchini you got

Lately, my favorite approach has been to cook it with garlic in it olive oil for about 15 minutes, at which point it becomes jammy — fully tender with concentrated flavors and excellent seasoning. Once you have a skillet of this, zucchini is your oyster. Maybe you fold it into an omelet with goat cheese and herbs? Maybe you mix it with big pasta, parmesan, basil leaves, and lemon? But last week, I mixed it with grated Monterey jack cheese and cooked it between two white corn tortillas until they were browned and crisp and it turns out, this might be my favorite use of it yet.

thinly slicedjammy zucchiniadd the cheeseassembly linedon't skimp on the crispzucchini quesadillas

I had planned to finish them with a punchy, herby sauce with jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt, and maybe lime but then I decided, well, I didn’t want to do that. I’m sure the contrast would be lovely. Quesadillas risk being a little one-note without some acidity, you know? But the reality is that when you have a plate of warm, bronzed quesadillas with messy lacy brown edges that have formed when the melted cheese lands on and crisps in the pan ready to be eaten and the mouths nearby to happily volunteer for this service, nobody wants to make a sauce. So instead, they were scattered with jalapeño, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice and devoured before they were getting cold, always a triumph. I hope you don’t wait to get to them, either.

zucchini quesadillas

This just in: Hey, have you ever wondered what A Work Week In The Life Of Smitten Kitchen is like? Like, behind the scenes? This just went up online (I think it will be in Sunday’s paper), and I’d be remiss not to share it in the place where it all began.


One year ago: Minimalist Barbecue Sauce
Two years ago: German Chocolate Cake + A Wedding Cake
Three years ago: Blackberry Cheesecake Galette and Eggplant with Yogurt and Tomato Relish
Four years ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Five years ago: Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde and Bourbon Slush Punch
Six years ago: Mama Canales-Garcia’s Avocado-Shrimp Salsa
Seven years ago: Peach Pie
Eight years ago: Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw
Nine years ago: Raspberry Brown Sugar Gratin and Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons
Ten years ago: Best Birthday Cake and Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad
Eleven years ago: Sauteed Radishes with Sugar Snaps and Dill and Nectarine, Mascarpone, and Gingersnap Tart
Twelve years ago: Red Pepper Soup and Cherry Clafoutis

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Cauliflower and Tomato Masala with Peas
1.5 Years Ago: Quick, Essential Stovetop Mac-and-Cheese and Luxe Butterscotch Pudding
2.5 Years Ago: Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
3.5 Years Ago: Broccoli Melts and White Russian
4.5 Years Ago: Perfect Corn Muffins and Spaghetti Pangrattato with Fried Eggs

Zucchini Quesadillas

  • Servings: 6 quesadillas
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

We stuff a lot of zucchini into 6 6-inch quesadillas here. For my family, it serves us 4, but we always eat it with salad (see the lazy slaw at the end here) and sometimes another vegetable (this would be great). It might be safer to scale it up for robust appetites. I kept the filling mild with Aleppo pepper so that my kids would eat it, but for adults, I’d definitely mince a hot pepper and cook it into the filling along with the garlic.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying quesadillas
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild (aleppo) or hotter red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini or other slim summer squash, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 6 ounces grated monterey jack cheese
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Sliced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, additional lime, and thinly sliced jalapeno to finish

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add oil. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook, stirring, until just golden at the edges, about 1 minute. Add zucchini, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and red pepper flakes and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, turning over occasionally, until zucchini becomes soft and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat slightly and cook 7 to 10 minutes more, at which point the zucchini will be jammy and very tender. Taste for seasoning — I needed about 1/2 teaspoon more salt here. Add the juice of half your lime and scrape mixture into a wide bowl. Let cool slightly while you prepare any toppings or grate the cheese you probably haven’t yet, if you’re me.

Add cheese to zucchini mixture and mix. Lay out 6 of your tortillas and divide the filling between them, going all the way to the edges. Place remaining 6 tortillas on top.

While you could use your large skillet again, I prefer a nonstick for these quesadillas. Heat the skillet of your choice over medium and add a couple teaspoons of oil. Transfer your assembled quesadillas to the skillet and cook until deeply golden and crisp underneath, letting whatever cheese seeps out cook and crisp in the pan. Flip quesadilla(s) and repeat on second side. Try to take all of the lacy brown cheese with you when you remove your finished quesadillas from the pan. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime half over them.

Serve halved or in wedges with additional lime wedges, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeno.

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169 comments on zucchini quesadillas

  1. Kel

    This sounds delicious. I’ll admit, it seems a bit counterintuitive to *not* try to preserve the structural integrity of the zucchini, but I can see these being awesome on a given weeknight.

  2. David Innes

    Hey but wait a minute! Tomatoes are fairly watery when fresh, slippery when cooked, and even when you do succeed in browning or crisping it (oh wait, you can’t crip tomatoes and who would want to?!?!) the textural triumph is… not the point of fresh, cooked tomatoes. Same with zucchini!

    As you say, nicely browned summer squash (not just zucchini but the cute crook necks I grew up with) are a lovely flavor bomb, especially when combined with onions (also very hard to brown or crisp but again not the point, hmmm?) And yeah, the combo is awesome as a filling for omelets, quesadillas, or (one of my comfort foods) in or alongside mac and cheese.

    (Ahahah, I realize I’ve turned into my parents, who loved zucchini whereas as children the only things we hated more were asparagus and sauteed mushrooms!)

    1. Liz

      I make these all the time and always love them! I usually grate the zucchini on the largest holes in my box grater instead of slicing—I like how it almost melts with the cheese this way.

      This may sound crazy, but I had some leftover zucchini/cheese filling and some leftover dumpling wrappers this weekend, so I made some little zucchini/cheese dumplings…they were so good! Especially with some sour cream. I froze most of them and have been eating them all week.

  3. Laura Oler

    I saute zucchini, add a little shredded cheese and wrap it in a tortilla all the time! I thought I was the only one who liked it that way. I love how the cheese gets crisp in the frying pan. Yours looks much nicer – thanks for sharing!

  4. I have two picky little girls who recently grew huge zucchinis in our garden. I think a little avocado or yogurt-based dip with herbs would make this a winner for them! Yum.

  5. Michelle Brengert

    Deb, I have been cooking in my kitchen the delights from yours for several years but I have never said thanks. When I read the NYTimes article it gave me a sense of all you do to make this happen. Thanks for all you do, from me and from my family and friends and poodle who have enjoyed learning from the magic of Smitte Kitchen.

  6. Barbara

    Bless you for adding a gluten free recipe! I found out a month ago (today) that I have Celiac. I’m a long time follower of yours and own your cookbooks. Your recipes and blog keep me full of food and laughter! I’m starting to try to adapt my favorite recipes, but some just won’t work. Of all the things I miss, challah is number 1! ❤️

    1. deb

      Thanks for noting it — I hadn’t even realized. Challah — I wonder if King Arthur Flour has gotten on it? They have such good recipes. Gluten development is pretty key, of course, but there’s also yeast and eggs and sugar and fat making it amazing. I feel like there’s some gluten-free potential here!

    2. As a longtime celiac follower of SK and Deb, you can actually make a number of her recipes gluten free with various replacements. For flour in baking I use Cup 4 Cup and have almost never had a bad outcome. Re: Challah, I haven’t tried to bake it but the gluten free Bread in 5 book has a recipe for it. I’ve tried a few of their loaves and they all came out pretty nicely.

      Also, I can’t wait to make the quesadillas!

      1. Barbara

        Thank you! I’m hoping to find it at Barnes or I’ll order it on amazon. I have to get past the mouth feel of gluten free bread. It’s nothing like gluten full breads but I gotta do what I gotta do!

    3. Adrienne

      America’s Test Kitchen has two gluten-free cookbooks out now. I have the first one and have it on authority from gluten-free friends that the recipes are good!

  7. Susan

    Ooohh! I’ve never thought to do quesadillas with this mixture; sounds wonderful. I have made sandwiches with a cheese-steak but no steak. I brown the rolls with garlic butter, then melt the cheese on them and load the buns with the mixture which include bell peppers. I must admit, I’ve most often served the vegetable mixture as a side dish to a meal with crumbled croutons for added crunch..

  8. ashley

    The NYT article was delightful and real, just like your blog. And, thank you for articulating so well what I feel about lots of “mom” things…why don’t dads also get stuck in this category, never to return to selfdom without brute force and/or witty comebacks? I think I need a raspberry bar…

  9. Lisa

    Oh yum. I’m pregnant and been living on a variation of this for weeks now as bland, boring zucchini is pretty much the only vegetable I can stomach right now. Some days I’ll grate the zucchini if I’m more in a rush but it does tend to get a bit gummy. I’ll try adding in the squeeze of lime next time.

  10. Vanessa

    Just made these quesadillas. Absolutely delicious! I added onions and used Chihuahua cheese instead. What a great way to use up zucchini from the farmers market.

  11. Morgan

    I am sure you normally prefer to make your own jalapeno/cilantro/lime sauce but FYI this new TJ’s offering is really great and not too spicy (i’m pretty wimpy when it comes to spice and I love it)…always nice to have those easy sauces on hand, and I’ve struggled to make my own since having a baby.

    Can’t wait to try this zucchini preparation!!

  12. And I happen to have all of these things in the house. It must be a “synergy” simpatico. However, since the basil is taking over the yard, I may have to add it.

  13. Natalie Dolgireff

    Deb, this recipe looks great!
    Next up, you should try a summer tian, a wonderful layered dish from Provence in the south of France, filled with sliced summer squash, egglant, tomatoes, garlic and onions, drizzled in olive oil and baked for a long time in the oven. It’s nice to add some grated cheese too and torn fresh basil. It can be served warm or cold, is great for a crowd, and tastes even better the next day.

  14. Martyna

    Hello, I’m very interested in making this recipe, I always feel that zucchinis are underestimated and not appreciated enough. What to use instead of Monterey Jack, which is unavailable where I live?

  15. nancy molyneux

    Love this and love zucchini but, I am sooooo cows milk intolerant. Any suggestions for a sheep or goat milk cheese here?

    1. Leslie Crabtree

      I’d try a goat cheddar. Also, Trader Joe’s carries a sliced goat cheese that is almost like American cheese in texture (round white slices though) that I’ve put on burgers. Any melty goat or sheep cheese will be great on these.

  16. Gail

    What brand of corn tortillas do you buy? I am so incredibly frustrated with how bad the supermarket corn tortillas are here in DC (in Chicago I could get warm ones in paper wrappers – no kidding – from nearly everywhere). For me, a bad tortilla (the flour ones are so boring!) can ruin an otherwise excellent taco or quesadilla. Thanks!

    1. Barb

      Agreed! I live in TX and recently have had such a hard time finding good ole corn tortillas made the original way. Don’t mess up a good traditional item!

  17. colleen

    Sounds delicious. Are those flour tortillas in the pictures (recipe says corn, but pictures look more like flour) – just curious. Thanks!

    1. Sallie Altman

      I am wondering the exact same thing. Tortillas available around here seem thicker and corn tortillas are yellow. I believe i had something like what is pictured at a restaurant recently, but no product i have purchased for a home version of it are remotely similar.

  18. rhannah

    I just came here to say that this is a brilliant way to use up the bounty of summer squash. I made these tonight and used whatever shredded cheese I had in the house (mix of sharp cheddar and mozzarella) and I made a roasted tomatillo salsa to go on top. ~Great~ meal. I even think my husband would eat these quesadillas despite being more of a meat eater.

  19. Christina

    Deb, this filling sounds delicious! I’m sure they’ll be on our table in the next few days. But I have to tell you that this is not the way we make quesadillas in my house. (My husband is from Phoenix, which clearly makes him an expert.) We lay the tortillas on a lightly oiled sheet pan (WITHOUT a silpat, I melted mine doing this once), top with the filling, and toss under the broiler. It’s amazing. You can do several at once (3 or 4, depending on tortilla size and oven size), and they get really good and toasty, though you have to keep an eye on them! Once the the cheese is melted, I pull out the tray, fold each tortilla in half, put it back under the broiler for 30 seconds, flip them over, 30 more seconds, and they’re done. It takes about five minutes total. Enjoy! And congrats on the NYT profile!

    1. Julie

      You might have just changed my life, Christina! Thank you. Deb – my kids actually ate their summer squash! This method met all my requirements for quesadillas and had all of them served warm at the same time!

      For those over-thinkers out there (me) – I should have spread the filing across the whole tortilla for the first step. I tried just 1/2 but it burnt the empty tortilla side.

  20. Wow! The interview is great and I related most to the parts which says I DON’T cook child food all the time. Well, none of the time…almost! I love cooking, use your books, and site all the time–but no, no child special food here for an 11 and 5 years old.

  21. Saurs

    Pace your opening para, I literally have always thought of you as the queen of the zuke (and its kin). You seem to gravitate to the methods that make it shine, and I am an avowed lover; I’ll eat the bloom off the plants and snack on the mature fruit whole, each bite gently salted, whenever possible. Bless you for this.

  22. Aileen

    You have the best zucchini recipes. I’ve made your zucchini grilled cheese sandwiches, and the zucchini pizza and loved both. Last night I made your summer squash pasta bake and it was delicious. I can’t wait to try this.

  23. Leslie Crabtree

    I made this last night and it was delicious. Now I’m going to keep a batch of sautéed zucchini in the fridge so I can throw these together for lunch or dinner in a minute. I also loved the recent Zucchini wth Almonds recipe. I now feel prepared for the Zucchini Tsunami that I know is headed my way in August. Thanks Deb.

  24. Sasha Patterson

    I made these for a dinner party last night, my friends were serving ribs and coleslaw. It was an absolutely perfect combination! In fact, I think everyone liked their quesadillas the best. I made a batch as written and a smaller batch with cassava flour tortillas because I’m Paleo (I also used mostly zucchini and just a tiny bit of raw cheese) and both batches turned out great!Somehow Deb has elevated the basic quesadilla into a really delightful and scrumptious meal item !

  25. Kate

    Are you ever amazed how many readers are able to get your new posts on the table that very day? I’d earmarked my CSA zucchini for your galette but turned a corner when this came up. (The galette crust is now overflowing with blueberries and that’s a win-win). So happy to see you pop up on the NYtimes — let me say that some of my other food blogs have folded and I am so glad you’re still here and we’re your primary audience! I love turning to a recipe and realizing how long I’ve been cooking after you (the galette is 2010, but it’s been longer than that). I also loved the comment about kid cooking. Family of 5 here, and we cook for ourselves and invite the kids to join us at the table. There are no short orders or second seatings, because that’s just extra work all around. Even though I started reading you before marriage and family, the recipes you post today still speak to ME, and I am happy to share them with my kids and have them develop a palate for fresh flavors.

  26. These are like adult quesadillas!

    Very yummy. I am a bit too much of a wuss for slices of jalapeno that big so I made a corn pico de gallo. I think they would be too heavy without anything on top.

  27. Emily

    I feel like a real dummy, but every single time I’ve made quesadillas, I find it to be so much work! You can only make them one at a time, so it seems to take forever, and 9 times out of 10, I lose a bunch of the filling when I flip the quesadilla. Also, I can never gauge the timing right and either end up with soggy tortillas that flop open when I go to flip them, or burnt tortillas. Help! What am I doing wrong? I’d consider myself a pretty experienced cook, but this is one thing I can never get right. (Alternatively, would this filling work inside a taco? I feel like the crispy/gooey cheese is probably essential here.)

    1. deb

      I agree that they can be a bit of work. I like how well they reheat. A larger skillet will allow you to make more at a time. But I also think it would be a fantastic taco or burrito filling — definitely scale it up.

  28. Leti

    Thank you-these were great! I was at your site today for another recipe and saw this recipe. Had only yellow squash. Added in some left over grilled shredded chicken and for some, added the jalapenos directly into the quesadilla. Served it with your quick slaw. Great way to use up squash or zucchini. ( garden owners can relate)

  29. nickysix416

    I just made these and despite being evacuated mid-sauté for a fire alarm in my building (I turned it off while I was stuck outside) and forgetting to add lime (because I was starving by the time we were allowed back in) they were delicious. Saved for repeat cookery! Oh and I used Monterey Jack with habernero peppers in it so I skipped the pepper flakes. Sooo good.

  30. Hillary

    We enjoyed this vegetarian dish very much! I thought adding sliced avocado to the top was a nice addition. For the cheese, I used leftover Cotija cheese from the grilled corn recipe from a few weeks ago. Served with sliced tomatoes, grilled corn and a chilled gazpacho soup. Yum!

  31. Kristina

    These were so delicious! We put some sour cream and hot sauce on them. The filling was so amazing I couldn’t help but munch on that while the quesadillas were cooking.

  32. These tasted amazing—but the sautéed zucchini was so waterlogged that I had to use a mesh strainer before I mixed in the cheese. Should I have cooked them longer, or was the skillet not hot enough?

    1. Shannon

      I think you probably needed to cook longer and at a higher temperature. After 15 minutes all the water had gone and the zucchini was jammy just like she described. It was amazing how quickly it went from quite soft to jammy texture from minutes 12 to 15.

  33. Sarah in Vancouver

    A zillion praise hands for your Mom comment in the NYT piece. SO MUCH.

    And these look awesome like all your recipes too. Will try ASAP.

  34. Shannon

    This was so fantastic. Shockingly I was out of garlic at the cottage – so I substituted garlic powder and we were still thrilled with the flavour. Am going to try these again later in the week and add a chopped onion to see which we like better. What a great way to use a just picked zucchini! Also, loved being able to compare my mixture’s texture to yours on your insta story. Thanks Deb!

  35. Annie

    Finally made this last night and it was GREAT! I’ve never cooked zucchini for this long and it’s a brilliant idea with brilliant results. They were so delicious. I had the leftover zucchini for lunch today and I’m still thinking about them. They were still so tasty. Definitely a keeper recipe.

    Also, great article in the Times. It’s so true how your voice is so consistent in your blog…that’s what keeps me coming back to your site. The great recipes help, too. Congrats and I’m so happy for you.

    1. Hillary

      I agree with the comment that your voice is so important to the blog and what you do – your readers really appreciate your recipes and writing.

  36. My bf HATES zucchini, but he loves quesadillas with the same intensity. I will try this to see if finally, he can enjoy zucchini like me hahahaha. Great recipe!

  37. Jen

    These were delicious! Thank you! I bake my quesadillas at 425 for about 10 minutes – the tortillas get nice and flaky and I can cook them all at once (though hubby complained about having the oven on when it is so hot outside)

  38. I made these last night with flour tortillas, because that’s what we had. I am usually a quesadilla purist, and don’t care for non-traditional ingredients in my ‘dillas, but these were delicious. Will def be adding these to my weeknight rotation. Thanks Deb!!!!!

  39. Russ

    These were good. My wife thought more than good. I cooked the zucchini for quite awhile and it never really became “jammy.” Didn’t really matter though as once I mixed in the cheese the consistency was good enough to put inside the tortillas. I also added cooked shrimp, chopped into small pieces, as we wanted some more protein. Topped it with guacamole and some lime juice and served with some refried bean and a salad.

  40. We just added this dish to our permanent summer repertoire. We loved it! I changed it a tad by caramelizing a 1/4 onion for a little more depth. Topped the quesadillas with a chipotle salsa for some smoky goodness!

  41. Maro

    these were wonderful! i couldn’t believe how much flavor was in just the zuke/garlic jammy goodness. i ended up adding a bunch of other leftover bits (grilled corn, chopped up grilled shrimp & poblano skewers) to clear the fridge, but this is an easy way to use a huge zucchini (or a couple smaller ones) for a delicious weeknight dinner.

    served with Greek yogurt & Trader Joe’s Zhoug sauce for an easy cilantro-pepper kick

  42. Jamie

    We made these!!! only adjustment was that I put a little smoky corn and bean salsa on each quesadilla too. They turned out great!!!

  43. Anne

    I love zucchini (I know–why?), so I expected to like these, but they were even more delicious than I imagined they could be! So simple and yet so perfect. Thanks!

  44. Brittany

    All zucchini ideas are very welcome and these look delicious! Thanks for sharing your NY Times article – so interesting to know what happens behind the scenes. This week I made your easy fridge dill pickles (so delicious and easy) with homegrown gherkins and I was eating them while reading the article – very appropriate I feel! Thank you for all your recipes over many years. You are the go-to site when I need cooking inspiration and I am often telling friends and colleagues to cook your recipes too!

  45. Emily

    I really never thought I needed a recipe for quesadillas before. If I didn’t trust your recipes completely, I never would have tried this. So glad I did. So, so good.

  46. What a wonderful summer dish! Just made this for dinner tonight and my husband loved it. The lime juice added just the right amount of kick to the dish. Instead of using sliced avocados, I smashed an avocado with salt, pepper, and olive oil and slathered it on top. Yum!

  47. Heather L

    A definite winner. The seasoning with the zucchini is just magic as is the lime at the end. I didn’t need to add the extra 1/2 tsp of salt to the zucchini. I will make this again soon and think it work lovely as a grilled cheese with bread too. Thank you!

  48. Dina

    Dummy me…I folded the corn tortillas without warming them first….big mess of corn tortillas and zucchini and monterey Jack cheese, but my mouth did not mind! When I first looked at the picture, the tortillas looked folded…then I just went back and look and see that you did them WHOLE and then cut them in HALF…duh!

  49. JP

    I made these last night, following the directions except that I used a teaspoon of harissa instead of the red pepper flakes because that’s what I had, and used finely chopped mint as my herb because, again, that’s what I had. I was truly surprised about the depth of flavor, and that this absolutely feels like a complete meal (meat-eater bias, I know). The lime really woke the whole thing up. And although I make quesadillas frequently, it never occurred to me to mix the cheese in with the filling! It made putting them together in the pan so much easier. Thanks, Deb!

  50. Audrey

    Truly love any new way to use zucchini! Super simple, super tasty, and (thankfully) doesn’t involve too much heat in the summer months. Thank you for yet another great weekday dinner idea.

  51. I made these quesadillas and they were delicious, thanks :) The only thing I changed was to chop and add some parsley to my zucchini and cheese mix. It was hard not to eat all of my quesadillas at once!!

  52. Ok- I feel like my love of this recipe and it’s simplicity are so unbalanced. So simple, and SO GOOD. OH my gosh. Yum. And the almost-5-year-old in my life who doesn’t love zucchini proclaimed her quesadilla love and didn’t seem to notice the green filling. :)

  53. Andrea

    Amazingly wonderful! My husband doubled the zucchini filling ingredients (except the pepper), since our garden zucchini are suddenly small-child sized. We had to sauté it twice as long but the water suddenly vanished and the mixture became thick and smelled good. This mixture + cheese had wonderful flavor. We served with abundant avocados on flour quesadillas and we loved it, including my 10 year old. Next day, the husband ate the few remaining left overs as a morning burrito. And just like that it’s gone. Definitely a keeper!

  54. Hila

    I have to say, I used to not like zucchini at all, and I’m the type of girl that need her greens and veggies pretty constantly. But – as soon as I tried some of your recipes (this one included) I feel in love with them (only when cooked well and not mushy, but still). This is a great, easy, balanced recipe.

  55. Nikki Patel

    These quesadillas were so delicious! I could eat the filling just on their own. They were very easy to make as well

  56. Alison

    I loved these, though I could NOT get the tortillas very crispy. Do corn tortillas get as crispy as the flour ones? I am mostly used to using them for tacos, but I’m used to having a super crispy crust on my quesadillas. Could have also just been the brand I used.

  57. Maeve

    I’ve made these twice now, and while all agree that they’re delicious (even my zucchini-phobic husband), I’m shocked that there is no mention of curling tortillas, in the recipe or the comments! My top tortillas always curl up, do you not have that problem? Maybe this is to be filed under “poor tortillas”?

    1. deb

      I’ve never had that problem before. I’m using cheap tortillas, too. If the cheese and ingredients go to the edges, don’t they “glue” into a flat shape when fried?

      1. Maeve

        Hmmm. Nope they certainly don’t, but maybe I need to be pressing the top down hard to “glue” them together. When I simply place them they roll up, even before they go onto the pan — I assume because of the heat pushing them up.

  58. Anne

    I served in Peace Corps Jordan and made a version of this all the time. The Arabic word for squash is coussa so I called them coussa-dillas. They didn’t have great cheese in my village but I subbed lebnah (kefir; similar to goat cheese)- yummy!

  59. This is my first ever food-blog comment, just to say that I made these and couldn’t believe how delicious they were. I’ve made many of your recipes over the last 2 years, but most have been lovely recipes that I knew instinctively would be delicious. This was the first recipe where I thought “this sounds utterly insane, but if Deb says it will be good…”

    I used a few grated cheeses we had in the fridge that needed to be used. So I can confirm that a mix of colby jack shredded cheese and swiss will not hurt this perfect recipe. For me, this perfectly made 3 quesadillas when using 12″ tortillas folded in half. I can also confirm that this filling is just as wonderful left over and rewarmed just a little bit before it goes into the tortilla. I didn’t top with anything, because as pretty as that is, they are utterly perfect on their own.

  60. Country Kate

    This was delicious. I had a zucchini languishing in the fridge, and used it up in this recipe. I also tossed in some red onion (because I had it already cut up), and my husband and I loved it. Thanks!

  61. K

    Absolutely delicious! I used a pre-shredded blend of Mexican cheese instead of monterey jack and added a pinch of cumin to the zucchinis as I cooked them down. I also added a can of black beans to the filling for some added protein and fiber–definitely recommended! This recipe is going in my regular dinner rotation, especially when zucchini is in season.

  62. JP

    Made these this evening and they are greater than their parts, that is for sure. I did not expect much and this turned out to be the vegetarian dinner of the year (says my husband). So tasty and those bits of cheese that sneaked out onto the griddle and got super crispy (we did all 6 at once on our pancake griddle!) were amazing! We ate this with corn on the cob and a cucumber tomato salad. For a double hitter win I also made your cocoa brownies. Ya know, I’m a Cook’s Illustrated Girl, but they better watch out because I am being converted to Smitten! Thank you so much for a real treat tonight!

  63. Charlotte Horseman

    So decadent! I made these last night for a football watch party – lots of raves! They were perfect along side wings! Added more garlic than called for and really let the mix cook down. I upped the cheese a bit and used a mix of freshly shredded Pepper Jack and Gruyere. Was so glad to find the 6” white corn tortillas – They really make it! I did everything in one non stick pan and they turned out great. Crispy outside, cheesy goodness inside. Served topped with just the cilantro (and skipped the other toppings just because there were other avocado appetizers and a lot of spicy stuff at the party.) So good!

  64. Jessica White

    I just omit the pickled jalapeño pepper to make the dish kid friendly. They loved it. I’m having a hard time preparing meals they would like and I tried plating my zucchini quesadillas with a wooden retangular dish from a thrift store Innovatronix in Amazon. Perfect!

  65. kate

    I’ve made these several times in a double batch to keep triangles in my freezer for a worknight dinner. I started shredding the zucchini, letting the mixture cool a but before stirring the cheese, because it makes a more uniform filling (if that mouthfeel is comforting about a classic quesadilla). Everyone in our fam of 5 loves them.

  66. Emily

    These, made with flour tortillas, have been a quesadilla game changer for me. SO GOOD. And I’ve also taken to making the zucchini mixture and serving it with a fried egg, avocado, and cheese melted on top.

  67. This is a perfect example of a “genius” recipe: It’s easy. It’s delicious. It’s healthy. It’s satisfying. It’s attractive. It’s adaptable. You write a wonderful article with many information. Anyone will love to read your article and get so many information through it. Your write very well. Keep it up. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  68. Anne

    These were delicious and made a normally heavy meal, light and delicious. I added onions and used colby jack because I had it on hand. I would try it with putting the contents into half a tortilla and folding so that they don’t fall apart as easily after cutting. I was a little skeptical of adding the cheese to the zucchini and then assembling since I usually assemble quesadillas over heat, but the cheese veggies mix made a nice creamy sauce that wasn’t too thin with the zucchini.

  69. Nicabot

    I loved these so much! Thank you, Deb; it was a treat to have a new and different tasty way to use up the recent summer squash in my veggie box.

    Served these with a simple savory yogurt dip that seemed to elevate all of the flavors: plain greek yogurt mixed with a squeeze of lemon and some chili-garlic sauce. Yum!

  70. Mb

    I make it jammy with onion and anchovy and put on white pizza with some lemon rind. Sometime add a can of clams..summer 😎

  71. Michelle

    I made this today with one very large zucchini from the farmers market. It was a sandwich filling with good country white bread and provolone cheese and turkey. I did not measure, but this seems eminently adjustable with seasonings depending on your mood and what you are making. You could easily swap in vinegar for the lime juice, and fresh herbs at the end would be fantastic. I will be making this again.

  72. Kel

    Made these tonight and I’m so glad I did. I’m always looking for a way to add veggies to dinner, especially taco Tuesday, which can feel like a challenge with my picky eaters. So creamy and sweet. I added a little sharp white cheddar for a bit of a bite but other than that followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. Perfect outside the box dinner.

  73. SaraHS

    Wow. I have two zucchini plants that are just starting to produce squash, so I have been lining up recipes to use myself and to offer along with surplus zukes to friends and family members. I made a half batch of the zucchini filling for two of us tonight — we usually have quesadillas once a week and this will be our recipe for the rest of the summer. The sautéed zucchini develops a beautiful buttery texture that really elevates the everyday quesadilla. I’ll try adding onion to the mixture next time, since everything is better with onion.

  74. Elena

    I owe you (and my taste buds) an apology for passing by this recipe many times without making it. I love zucchini, I love quesadillas, but for some reason the combination wasn’t appealing to me.

    I looked in my fridge tonight and had 2 zucchinis to use up so I went to SK, as per usual, to find something to make (was thinking the quick zucchini sauté, also excellent) but decided to give these a try instead for a heavier meal. Wow. I’ve never put garlic in my quesadillas, it’s an excellent addition as is the zucchini.

  75. Vicki Murphy

    At the risk of being the exact jagoff nobody wants to read a comment from on a cooking blog . . . I made some adjustments. I’m from Texas and garlic + some pepper flakes + salt and pepper just did not seem like enough spice for quesadillas, particularly when you’re starting with squash. I added a good amount of cumin, some paprika, significantly more pepper flakes than the recipe called for, and the cheese I used was pepper jack. That said – these were really ridiculously tasty. My dedicated-carnivore husband said “fantastic” approximately eleven times. (He also said they would be the main draw at a vegan restaurant and then I had to explain the concept of dairy in the context of veganism.) We have zucchini and crookneck squash growing in the garden and usually either just grill them on skewers or zoodle them, but this was a really delicious alternative that is going in the rotation.

  76. Lindsay

    I made these last night and they were SO good! Only addition I made was to add halved baby tomatoes to the zucchini. The result was a “jammy” zucchini-tomato mixture and it was delicious. I think next time I’ll try adding a can of rinsed black beans to the last 5 minutes to make it a full meal.

    Still have zucchini in the fridge – tonight it’s zucchini fritters! Thank you Deb!!

  77. Lina

    This was delicious! My carnivorous family devoured them. Only change was to add a chopped chili (we like it hot). Served with guacamole, salsa, lime and more cilantro. Great recipe!

  78. Shelley Malmgren

    I made these tonight and although the site of them made everyone’s mouth water, I was a little underwhelmed. Probably because I had no fresh garlic and used jarred( ew). So they didn’t have a lot of flavor. As soon as they came out of the pan I sprinkled Parmesan on them which is something our food trucks do and I like the texture and flavor that it ads. I’ll make them again :)

  79. Holley

    Totally pulled a “I made it with lots of changes,” but dang it was still great! Skipped the cheese and drizzled a healthy portion of cashew sour cream into the squash instead for a vegan version. Added some cooked kale because I needed to use it. Also used whole wheat tortillas because that’s what I had around. Absolutely delicious way to cook and eat summer squash. Will make many more times this summer!

  80. Abby

    Oh my God! Never in my life would I have thought to put zucchini in a quesadilla, but these were unbelievable. The crispy corn tortilla with the bright lime and gooey cheese- YUM! Got back from vacation last week to giant zucchinis all over our garden, I have printed every single one of Deb’s zucchini recipes and am working through them. These are the perfect summer lunch and so easy, save this right now!

  81. Kate

    I’ve been cooking from your site for years – thank you so much for all the inspiration! Just posting my first comment/question now though. We love these zucchini quesadillas – and have a zucchini plant that produces zucchini larger than my arm every day. Do you think it would be possible to freeze the jammy zucchini before adding the lime juice and cheese? I’d love to be able to have these all winter.

      1. Kate

        Made our first batch of zucchini quesadillas using frozen jammy zucchini last night – they were just as delicious as they were this summer. But even more exciting since we haven’t been eating zucchini every day. I didn’t notice any difference in the texture of the filling after adding the lime juice and cheese to the defrosted jammy zucchini.

  82. Miriam

    Delicious, quick to put together after a long day and a real crowd pleaser! There’s lots of room to improvise on toppings and seasonings. Thanks for another great recipe.

  83. lp

    we made this with a few adjustments and it turned out beautifully.
    – caramelized some thinly sliced vadalia onions (about 1/4 onion) before adding the garlic
    – used extra sharp cheddar & havarti cheeses


  84. Rebecca

    We have been drowning in patty pan squash from our CSA and this has been exactly what we needed! Even my husband who doesn’t usually eat much cheese will happily eat these quesadillas and I have been very impressed with how much zucchini (or in our case, patty pan squash) they use up. Delicious!

  85. Tiffany

    This was AMAZING. I made fresh pico de gallo to go with it and also chopped up some green onions I had in the fridge to accompany the cilantro and pickled sliced jalapenos I had for toppings. The monterey jack cheese is phenomenal, the zucchini was cooked perfect, and it was so easy that my husband was able to help prep and cook with minimal supervision (lol). Would make over and over and over!

  86. Nancy

    I found this recipe on the surprise me tab and it just sounded so good, I had to make them. I was surprised how much my husband loved them and it was a nice light dinner after the excesses of the holidays.

  87. Connie

    These are great! I used flour tortillas and baked them according to a method in America’s Test Kitchen ‘The Best Mexican Recipes’: line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, brush with 1 T oil, add folded tortillas to pan with folds against the side of the baking sheet, brush top with additional oil, bake at 450 in middle of oven for 10 minutes, flip, press down a little on the tortilla, bake another 5 minutes. The quesadillas come out crispy and I’m not challenged trying to keep all of the filling inside when flipping. They also mix the cheese with the rest of the filling, which helps keep everything together. I served them Deb’s lazy taco slaw (aka sunset slaw in SK Every Day). To stretch out the quesadillas if serving a crowd (there were just 2 of us), I would make some cilantro-spiced black beans. I will definitely be making these again!!

  88. Christine Picklo

    I made these last night for dinner with my vegetarian friends. They were great. I chopped a jalapeño to add some zing.

  89. Letty

    I make these all the time as is and just wanted to say thanks! With some salad or fruit on the side a perfect dinner. Love your easy and quick dinner meals.

  90. Evgeniia

    Absolutely amazing! Just had it for dinner and it was as someone said “flavor bomb”. Even my husband who hates zucchini inhale 4 of them. Great recipe!

  91. Barbara H.

    Made the Zucchini quesadillas for lunch today: another winner! The squash didn’t get “jammy” but it was still excellent. (I added a cut-up tomato from our garden and some onion because … well, doesn’t onion belong in just about everything??)

  92. Aja

    Had this tonight. It was great! Didn’t change a thing (well, used medium cheddar because it’s what I had on hand, but otherwise no changes), but I did scale it down to about 2/3 of the recipe because we are only two hungry people.

    I used pico de gallo (fresh made last-minute) and sour cream as an accompaniment when I discovered my avocado was actually inedible despite looking perfect.

    Definitely going to make this again! A nice change from zucchini pasta which is the other starch+cheese+zucchini dinner around these parts in the summertime.

    Thanks, Deb!

  93. Rebecca

    Just when I think, “oh, Deb, this looks ‘meh,’” … she does it again! In other words, don’t let the simplicity fool you.

    These really are so tasty, filling, fun, and flexible! I added some scallions to the mix and used half mozzarella, half grated cotija (bc that’s what I had on-hand). Just excellent.

  94. Made these today using grated zucchini and a big pinch of red pepper flakes. I cooked it down til jammy (like your zucchini butter spaghetti recipe) and it was so delicious. Another winner!

  95. Noel Kruse

    I do not subscribe to any recipe group. I enjoy and have recipe books from Smitte Kitchen.
    That you do not make the recipes available is too bad since it has a very negative feeling.
    Very sorry that this has been your decision.

    Noel Kruse

  96. Lori

    So delicious! I got the “you know I don’t like zucchini” announcement, and then watched dinner disappear. Who knew – zucchini jam!

  97. Colleen L.

    Tis the season for tons of zucchini, and it’s the perfect time to haul out this recipe. I’ve been making these Zucchini Quesadillas for several years now, and my family and I love them.

  98. Toni McCormick

    making this AGAIN for lunch. In order to adhere to a T2 diabetes food plan, we use almond tortillas (Siesta brand from Costco–MUCH less expensive that WF). Since its Hatch chili season, I added a mild hatch chili, and to compensate for less olive oil (or avocado oil) I added some Trader Joe (low sodium) Hatch Valley Salsa. Threw in some ‘shrooms & used a hatch chili gouda!

  99. Sharon

    I made this today for a late lunch/early dinner. It was delicious, filling, and simple. It took a little longer for my zucchini to become ‘jammy’ as described in the recipe, but aside from that there were no issues! Another winner from Smitten Kitchen that be added into my repertoire. Thank you.😁

  100. Cara

    Everyone I’ve made these for loves these so much. Tonight I wanted to use up a zucchini but I wasn’t doing Mexican and didn’t have tortillas. I had just baked a loaf of bread though so I made these as a zucchini grilled cheese instead and wow. Just as good with a nice bowl of butternut squash soup!

  101. Abigail Wysocki

    Happy to report these worked very well in grilled cheese form. (Didn’t have tortillas.). Was in the middle of making zucchini bread with a big one, and had a hunk leftover. Made these for lunch (sans lime or avocado) and served with a leftover cup of soup. I feel like I really treated myself to non-kid food for lunch at the end of summer.

  102. JP

    We made these delicious quesadillas tonight but did not use pepper flakes (I can’t deal with spicy) and instead used a little chili powder. They were delicious. We sprinkled black olive slices and cherry tomato quarters over the top too. Thanks for the yummy recipe that helped us to put a dent in our garden zukes!