Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Quesadillas

I am about to unveil to you my most favorite recipe that I have blogged yet.

These beauties scream summer. This recipe takes advantage of your garden, your local farmers market or your in-season veggies (usually on sale) at the grocery store. Grilling these veggies brings out their incredible natural flavor and they are perfectly paired with the brightness of basil pesto, the meltyness (if its not a word it should be) of fresh mozzarella, and the creamy tartness of goat cheese. So good, I bet you eat them not once, but twice next week.

Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Quesadilla

Lets talk grilling vegetables. While I recognize the great flavor skewering and grilling can bring - I find the process way too laborious and sometimes tricky to be worth it. I have no time for soaking wooden skewers and threading produce onto it only for me and my grilling ineptness to somehow manage to over char one side to black as night and for part of what I'm grilling to slide off the skewer into the bottom of the grill for me to clean up ... like never. So I use one of these grill baskets. These are great and almost fool-proof and if you are not like me and order everything from socks to dental floss through Amazon Prime, you can find them at Walmart or Target or Sur la Table.  I chop up my veggies (and you can really use any vegetable except for really really tiny ones like peas or corn off the cob), put them in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and then pour them into the grill basket. I place the grill basket on the grill over medium heat with the lid closed and just give them a stir every 5 minutes or so until I am satisfied. They are great as a side OR...

Grilled Vegetables

...in this pesto quesadilla. For the quesadilla I like using these Ezekiel whole grain tortillas because they are high in fiber, are made from simple ingredients, and they are hearty and hold up to all of the veggies piled on top. But any whole wheat tortilla should do.

So here is the big unveil:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil pesto (here is a recipe for homemade if you are feeling feisty)
  • 6-8 Whole wheat or whole grain tortillas
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium summer squash chopped
  • 1 large red onion sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 8-12 oz fresh mozzarella cubed small or shredded(inexpensive places to buy include Costco and Trader Joe's, you can also substitute shredded regular mozzarella)
  • 4 oz goat cheese crumbled (inexpensive places to buy include Trader Joe's, Costco, Whole Foods)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to medium heat. Chop all of the vegetables except the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then toss to coat. Add veggies to a grill basket and place on the grill over direct heat and close grill lid. Toss vegetables every 4-5 minutes until they soften and the edges brown.
  2. If you are making pesto, then make it while veggies are grilling. If you purchased it, move on to #3.
  3. On the stove, heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet or griddle over medium - high heat (or if you happen to have a panini press, this is the time to use it!) and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Get your veggies, cheeses, and pesto out and get ready to assemble when your pan is hot. Place one tortilla on the pan or griddle, spread an even layer of pesto leaving a one inch border around the tortilla. Place grilled veggies on half and top with some of the tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a little goat cheese. Fold the half of the tortilla without the veggies over the half with veggies and press down with the spatula or use another smaller pan to weigh it down so that it flattens. After 2-4 minutes, start peaking at the bottom of the tortilla to see if it is browning and when it is, then flip it and brown the other side.
  5. Cut with a pizza cutter into triangles and get after it.

If you want more great ideas for grilling vegetables this summer, check out my friend the Pantry Doctor's recent blog post!