Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas

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When I first started cooking, a quick meal that I used to love to make was a quick quesadilla. I used to take refried beans and grated cheese and heat it up in a pan. I used to serve it with salsa and it all resulted in a filling dinner in 15 minutes. While it’s fast and delicious, I feel like sometimes it needs something more.

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When I think of quesadillas, I don’t usually think of cauliflower. I personally think of cheese, meat and other heavy, gut bomb fillings. And while I love all of those things, it’s always nice to make a believable case that you’re eating something healthy.

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While growing up, I wasn’t the biggest cauliflower fan, but it has definitely grown on me as an adult. I love it especially in this dish as it is charred nicely, giving it a smoky quality. Poblanos are generally not that spicy, but you should definitely watch out as they can be a bit sneaky sometimes and end up being super spicy. Overall though, they’re pretty mild, so feel free to throw in some jalapeños for good measure. These flavors work well together and cheese can mask any vegetable, so enjoy this hearty fare.

Cauliflower Quesadillas 001

Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas

from smitten kitchen

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

First char the Poblano peppers. If you have a gas stove, turn the burner to high. Hold the chili peppers using tongs over the flame until skin is black and blistered. You can also broil the poblanos in the oven, turning frequently so that the skin gets evenly charred. When you’re pleased with the amount of charred skin, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool to touch.

Next char your cauliflower. Heat your heaviest skillet to high until the pan is nearly smoking. While your pan is heating up, toss the cauliflower with oil, salt and pepper. Once your pan is heated up, add your cauliflower. Move it around the pan until there are a few black spots on each piece, but make sure it remains crunchy and not mushy. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Once you get through all of the cauliflower, move it all to the cutting board.

Now it’s finally time to make your filling. Start by chopping all the cauliflower florets and the poblanos together so that they’re not that big {meaning no bigger than 1/2 inch}. Return the cauliflower and poblanos to the bowl and add the scallions, lime juice and salt to taste.

Assemble your quesadillas. Line up your tortillas then put 1/3 cup of the filling and 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese on top. I usually make enough to eat that night and save the filling and shredded cheese in the fridge for later. Put another tortilla on top of the filling. Heat a skillet over medium. Once it’s hot, coat lightly with olive oil or use cooking spray. Cook the quesadilla until browned on the bottom. Say a prayer and flip it over {or use a large spatula}. Brown on the other side, making sure the cheese is melted. I serve with salsa, but you can choose your favorite accompaniment.


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