Meatless Monday: Southwestern Potato Quesadilla

You can fill a quesadilla with just about anything, like cheesy, spicy mashed potatoes.
By: Michelle Buffardi

Related To:


A quesadilla is quite possibly the easiest meal in the world to make. For the most bare-bones version, all you need are a couple of tortillas, cheese and a dry pan, plus some salsa for topping. But you can get way fancier than that and still come up with a meal in a few minutes -- experiment with different cheeses, use blue corn tortillas instead of yellow corn or flour, or pile on some vegetables or beans to up the health factor of your quesadilla.

These Southwestern Potato Quesadillas are made with poblano-spiked mashed potatoes and cojita and Jack cheese, so they're a little spicy, a little creamy and all kinds of tasty. You can make the mashed potatoes just for these quesadillas, or if you have leftover plain mashed potatoes, mix in some canned or jarred chiles. Baked or roasted potatoes work too, just smash them up with the chiles.

These quesadillas also make a great appetizer, and you can make them ahead, too -- just reheat in the oven, on a cookie sheet for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Confession: I bring leftover quesadillas to work for lunch and eat them cold, which is obviously a matter of taste. But cold quesadillas are up there with cold pizza in my book.

1 cup leftover Southwest Mash, recipe follows
Eight 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, plucked (just the leaves and soft stems)

1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack (about 2 ounces)
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Crema and salsa verde, for serving, optional
Southwest Mashed Potatoes:
2 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt
2 medium poblano peppers
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 1/2 cups crema or sour cream, at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a cast-iron grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat.

Spread 1/4 cup mashed potatoes on to 4 tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with a few sprigs of cilantro. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Cotija and then 2 tablespoons Monterey Jack over the potatoes. Top with the remaining 4 tortillas and brush lightly with some oil.

In two batches, place the quesadillas, oiled-side down, on the grill pan and cook until crisp with grill marks and heated through, about 2 minutes. Brush the tops with a little more oil before flipping and cook an additional 2 minutes. Cut the quesadillas into wedges and top with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with crema and salsa verde if desired.

For the Potatoes:

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by about 1 inch and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer briskly until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Coarsely mash with a traditional potato masher.

While the potatoes are cooking, char the poblanos on all sides under a broiler, 5 to 7 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with a plate or plastic wrap to cool. Once cool, peel, seed and slice the peppers into thin 2-inch-long strips. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan over high heat. Lay the onion slices on the pan and grill, turning until cooked through but still firm with distinct grill marks on each side, about 8 minutes total. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Mash the crema into the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the peppers and onions to make a chunky mashed potato. Serve hot.

More Meatless Mexican Meals:

Next Up

Meatless Monday: Blue Corn Mushroom Quesadillas

The flavor combination in this recipe is perfect. Mushrooms take on a nice heat from the jalapenos and provide satisfying heartiness to each bite.

Meatless Monday: Potato and Corn Tacos

Mexican food is easy to make meatless -- substitute vegetables for the meat in tacos, enchiladas or fajitas, or try Mark Bittman's potato-corn taco recipe.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Zucchini, Pepper and Potato Soup

Make a pot of spicy zucchini soup and freeze the leftovers for the months when zucchini is no longer in the market.

Meatless Monday: Panzanella

David Rocco's panzanella, a Tuscan tomato and bread salad, is so satisfying, you won't miss the meat at all on this Meatless Monday.

Meatless Monday: Meat-Lover Michael Symon Goes Meatless (Sometimes)

Chef Michael Symon, restauranteur, host of Symon's Suppers, Cook Like an Iron Chef and NBC's The Chew has a new message: Eat more vegetables.

Meatless Monday: Veggie Burgers

A round-up of our best veggie burger recipes for Meatless Monday and Labor Day.

Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetables

Grill up a bunch of vegetables tonight and eat like a king for the rest of the week; use the veggies to make pasta dishes, omelets, burritos, sandwiches and pizza.

Meatless Monday: Homemade Hummus

There are about a million hummus variations, pick one or go classic this Meatless Monday.


Unique Eats

7am | 6c

Unique Eats

7:30am | 6:30c

Unique Eats

8am | 7c

Unique Eats

8:30am | 7:30c

Food Paradise

11am | 10c

Food Paradise

12pm | 11c

Bizarre Foods America

1:30pm | 12:30c

Man v. Food

4pm | 3c

Man v. Food

4:30pm | 3:30c

Man v. Food

5pm | 4c

Man v. Food

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man v. Food

6pm | 5c

Man v. Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Carnival Eats

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight


8pm | 7c

Carnival Eats

9:30pm | 8:30c

Man v. Food

10pm | 9c

Man v. Food

10:30pm | 9:30c

Man v. Food

11pm | 10c

Man v. Food

11:30pm | 10:30c


12am | 11c

Carnival Eats

1am | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30am | 12:30c

Man v. Food

2am | 1c

Man v. Food

2:30am | 1:30c

Man v. Food

3am | 2c

Man v. Food

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Sundays 10|9c

So Much Pretty Food Here