Sometimes I miss waiting tables and serving drinks. In my busiest moments at the restaurant, my thoughts were consumed with the tasks at hand. I furiously filled drink orders, slinging ice into shiny glasses and pouring liquor by the count in my head, steady as a metronome. I crossed the patio with three drinks in one hand and a water pitcher in the other. I ran to the back to change a keg and dragged the old one out like I had a million times before. My arms were stronger then.
There is satisfaction in a hard day’s work. My shifts were filled with smiles and thank you’s and inside jokes with my fellow waitresses in the corner. Each exchange came with instant gratification because I earned a little something for each drink delivered. At the end of the day, I left work with a wad of money in my wallet and kicked my feet up on the coffee table. I went home and I was done.
Instant gratification is built into blogging, too. I think that’s a significant part of its appeal; clicking publish and receiving near-instant feedback from fellow bloggers and loyal readers is just the best. Your comments, facebook likes and tweets make my day, every day. I also adore the cooking and food photography sides of food blogging—they get me up and moving, chopping vegetables and hopping onto chairs to snap photos. Even though I’m never really “done” at the end of the day when it comes to blogging (there is always more to do), blogging (and all that it encompasses) is what I love to do.
Sometimes, especially on days when I’ve been working all day in front of the computer screen, I procrastinate by daydreaming of a more physically active occupation. I think to myself that I’d rather go home physically tired than mentally drained. I wonder if I should quit my day job to waitress again so I could devote more of my thinking time to this blog. Then I remember the necessity of health insurance and stability, and I shudder at the thought of getting splashed with someone else’s dirty dishwasher. Surely some of you can relate?
Since I’m not going to change my situation in the foreseeable future, I suppose I’ll tell you about these quesadillas. Oh, these quesadillas! Quesadillas are my go-to lazy lunch or dinner for one, but these quesadillas are something special. They’re stuffed with vegetables and greens (and cheese, of course), as well as creamy slices of ripe avocado.
All that said, the quesadilla’s true pièce de résistance is the irresistibly crispy side produced when cheese sizzles between the tortilla and the hot skillet. If your quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches have ever leaked cheese out the edge and that cheese has, in effect, fried against the tortilla or bread, you know just how heavenly that super crispy cheese can be. My dad mentioned the other day that my grandmother used to use this method for grilled cheese sandwiches, so I like to think that we both discovered the trick on our own, two generations apart. I’d say the taste preference for crispy cheese must be genetic, but let’s get real: who in her right mind doesn’t like crispy cheese?!
The bottom line here is that these cheesy-crispy-creamy quesadillas would be perfect as Super Bowl finger food, or for tomorrow’s lunch. If you want to change these up with different fillings down the road, I do suggest retaining the avocado in the middle and the crispy, cheesy side. They really take the quesadilla from ordinary to irresistible.
Crispy Mushroom, Spinach and Avocado Quesadillas
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Delicious, filling vegetarian quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and creamy avocado. These quesadillas feature irresistibly crispy sides.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 8 to 10 ounces cremini mushrooms (AKA baby bellas), thinly sliced
- 6 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ small lime, juiced
- 2 ½ cups shredded raw Jack or cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 avocados from Mexico, cut into thin slices
- 4 medium whole wheat tortillas
- jarred red salsa
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add chopped red onion and a dash of salt, stirring occasionally, until the onions are turning translucent. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and turning golden, about 6 minutes. Add half of the spinach mixture, let it wilt a little, and then add the second. Cook until spinach is wilted and the mixture is dry, 2 to 3 minutes or longer. Season with salt and pepper and a splash of lime juice. Remove from heat.
- Divide 1 cup shredded cheese between the 4 quesadillas, covering only half of each tortilla with cheese. Divide the spinach and mushroom mixture evenly on top of the cheese on each quesadilla, then top with avocado slices. Top all of that with 1 cup shredded cheese, divided equally between the 4 quesadillas. Press the empty tortilla halve over the toppings.
- Heat a medium to large skillet (preferably cast iron) on the stove over medium heat. Place one quesadilla (or two, if they fit) into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then flip carefully with a spatula. Immediately sprinkle some of the remaining cheese over the hot sides of the quesadillas, and let it melt as the other side cooks for a few minutes. Flip each quesadilla, and let the cheese sizzle into the quesadilla for a couple of minutes. Flip and cook the other side for a couple more minutes if necessary, until both sides are a nice, crisp golden brown. Let the quesadillas cool on a cutting board for a few minutes, then slice each quesadilla into three slices using a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife. Serve with salsa.
▸ Nutrition Information
Update 2/5/13: Thank you to all who entered the giveaway! The lucky winner is Vicki. Best of luck in future giveaways.
Disclosure: This sponsored post is part of the Avocados from Mexico – Game Day Sweepstakes. This is a working partnership with Avocados from Mexico and Muy Bueno Cookbook.
I think I just found my dinner for tonight!! These look so good I can’t wait to try them. All the ingredients I love, and I love “fried cheese” (there’s a restaurant I go to nearby that actually has fried cheese on the menu, and a lot of people go in just for that!).
Oh boy, I wouldn’t be able to pass up that fried cheese. Yum.
Laura (Tutti Dolci)
These quesadillas look so tasty, Kate! I think this will be dinner quite soon :).
Ah, I can relate to so much of this. The instant gratification of serving, restaurant work in general, food blogging, photography, social media… they all have lasting rewards too. I’ve stepped away from serving a bunch of times, and always find myself missing it. Your body does feel stronger when you’re doing it too!
Love your avo+quesadilla move too. So great.
You get me, Laura. I’m glad we’re friends. :)
I am incapable of resisting the temptation of any type of quesadillas! I have to try this! Avocados are on sale in Shop Rite this week too!! =)
Sounds like these quesadillas are meant to be! If you have any leftover avocados, I have a ton of other avocado recipes for you on this site.
Bev @ Bev Cooks
Oh haaaaave mercy.
Alice @ Hip Foodie M
These quesadillas look fabulous!!!! oh my goodness! love this
The quesadillas look delicious!
The link to the Taste and Tell blog did not work for me.
Thanks for letting me know about the incorrect URL, Jill. Taste and Tell’s blog is http://www.tasteandtellblog.com.
These are making my mouth water like whoa. Awesome recipe!
I have a day job where the gratification is definitely not instant and I think that’s part of why blogging appealed so much to me in the first place. It gives you so many little smiles throughout the day!
So true, Joanne! I wonder how many extra times I smile a day because of my blog. A lot, I’m sure. Glad you can relate. :)
Food Porn Torture! These look soooo good. I’m back on the cheese wagon for Super Bowl! I want these in my belly :)
Woohoo! Can’t wait to eat cheesy things with you soon. It’s been too long! Hope you guys had a fun weekend.
Can not wait to try this-love, love, love quesadillas.
The Frosted Vegan
Yuuum! Look at that crisp, get down with it!
these sounds awesome!! entered the giveaway – those are pretty amazing prizes.
Good luck in the giveaway! I’d love to win that set of prizes.
Oh my goodness, I could probably eat one of these every single day of my life. I love the combination of ingredients!
What an amazing giveaway! I used to love how much I would run around when I worked in food service. I didn’t notice how much weight I lost then now quickly tacked back on when I switched to blogging and a computer based job. But you are right the instant gratification of feedback is amazing and totally worth it. The crucnchy mushrooms with the creamy avocado sounds to die for!!!
This was good and so easy to make for one.
Thanks, Melissa! Glad you enjoyed the quesadillas.
Mmmm these look so good. ALL of your recipes look so good! And yes, sometimes it’s nice to feel simply physically exhausted. It does have that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction…
I sometimes daydream about doing something more active and people-oriented, like waiting tables, but I too do return to the realities of insurance and steady salaries and all those other grown-up things. Too bad there’s not an easier answer! But these quesadillas probably do a pretty good job of easing the pain! I go through several avocados a week!
Wow, those look super yummy. Not being American, I’ve never watched the Super Bowl in my life. Now that I (temporarily) live in the States, I somehow managed to book a flight for exactly that night, so no Super Bowl again :) Ah well, those quesadillas will be good for any dinner!
Oh well, I don’t think you’ll miss too much! You could share these quesadillas with friends any time for a similar effect. :)
Kate – I could have written this. I’m an ex-server gone desk monkey who also blogs about food (and my dog!) and I could not agree more with the instant gratification piece. My blog is still baby fresh, but it brings me so much joy to just write about my day, my life, my food. I hope I can share some of that joy with others, and someday get out of the endless cycle of staring at a computer screen at work all day. Until then, blog away!
Oh, yum! One of my resolutions this year was to wean myself off meat and this recipe will definitely help.
These look great!
Oh yum can’t wait to try this.. I live for avacados
I’m hungry- looks wonderful. We love avocados at my house!
Looks delicious. Can’t wait to try them.
Yes, totally relate to the physically tired/mentally tired career dilemma. If only there was a secure career that was a mixture of both! Quesadillas are our go-to lazy meal (that and eggs with toast) – I love the filler combo you chose. I’ll be making these this week!
This looks and sounds amazing! Another great one…I think I could go vegetarian reading your content! Great post!
Natalie J Vandenberg
Those quesadillas look delicious!
These look great
Sylvie @ GitK
Mushrooms and spinach smothered with melted cheese? Yes please!
Freda Love Smith
I sure can relate to the health insurance/stability issue…in a perfect world I’d be home all day making bread and soup (and these quesadillas! they look incredible!) and writing recipes, but at least I can console myself by browsing good blogs on my work breaks!
I must admit, I am somewhat addicted to the instant gratification – it’s so nice! But, I was a barista for ten years, and some days miss it terribly. There was so much movement and feeling of accomplishment. Then again, I don’t miss the stained shirts and smelling like burnt coffee grounds and soup 24-7, either. :)
Your quesadillas look delicious!
I totally relate to your love-hate relationship with food/drink service, Sarah! Hope you’re doing well.
Kate, This looks delicious and I’m so happy to see a non-meat based SuperBowl dish! Hooray. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know the first thing about football and I don’t have the patience to actually sit through a game that long– but I’m always up for gatherings with close friends, especially where there’s great food, awesome drinks and wonderful conversation…so a Super Bowl party I will go! With these in tow! (Bad rhyming scheme, sorry!). Best.
I feel the same way about football, Batya. I’d love to “watch” the game with you—and by that, I mean, eat, drink and be merry while the game is on!
claire @ the realist
This looks amazing Kate!!
Just made them, so easy and tasty! Thank youuuu :) love your blog
Thanks, Laura! So glad you enjoyed the quesadillas. Have a great weekend.
Your pictures are stunning and the quesadilla looks so good that I am making it for lunch, immediately :) My vegetarian daughter always complains that I don’t pin enough amazing vegetarian foods. I am correcting that with this recipe. Thank you!
The Newlywed Chefs
Hi Kate! Your blog is fantastic. We loooove quesadillas and this recipe looks perfect. Brings together delicious flavors that will melt this cold weather away!
Just found your blog and put it on my Google home page. Looking forward to getting to know you!
Thank you for commenting, Connie! Hope you enjoy my posts. Please do let me know if you try any of the recipes.
Made these twice last week. They were great! Your recipe was so easy to follow. I love Quesadillas but had never made them.
Thanks, Nancy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the quesadillas. I make quesadillas all the time when I’m cooking for one—I just throw in veggies and beans and whatever else I have in the fridge!
Has the winner been announced?
Good question. Yes, I notified the winner (Vicki) yesterday morning. I will be hosting another big giveaway in a post published later today, if you’d like to enter. Best of luck!
Kate, this is so delicious with a simple ingredients. Really clean eating and I can eat like this everyday. Thanks!
Yumm, I made a slightly varied version of these last night as a scrumptious, pre-dinner snack.
Great recipe! I love your idea of melting cheese on the outside. These turned out delicious! I also loved your sweet potato and black bean enchilada recipe.
Thank you, Lisa! Melting cheese on the outside of quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches is one of my favorite little tricks. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my recipes.
These are SO delicious! I added some diced tomatoes, red bell peppers and black beans to make it a hearty meal. Thanks for the recipe and for your beautiful website – what a great layout of colorful pictures. I’ll be back!
Thank you, Linda! Your additions sound great. Please let me know how my other recipes turn out for you!
Wow! I couldn’t imagine how the quesadilla could be improved but you did it. These are great!
As a Californian, I have to ask–what’s wrong with avocados from California?
Hi Catherine, there is nothing wrong with avocados from California. I love avocados, but I live just as far from California as I do Mexico. The avocado commission of Mexico sponsored this post so I specified their avocados per our agreement.
This comment is many months delayed, but I am absolutely obsessed with these quesadillas. Such an easy, quick meal with flavor and the crispy cheese is completely amazing! Big fan of your blog!
Thanks, Kaitlyn! So glad you love the quesadillas! I need to make them again.
I so resonate with the whole waiting tables thing – wow. You really captured it well. Thank you for this recipe. My mouth is salivating, not drooling yet, just salivating.
Laurie, I’m sorry for taking a while to get back to you. I’m glad you can relate. Hope you’ll get a chance to try these quesadillas soon.
Ok, 3rd comment, but am just loving your blog: I at least am glad that you are not waiting tables any more as I am sure that we then would have never ‘met’ – but your blog. Fantastic!
Thank you for sharing. I just made these with cheddar cheese and LOVED them!
Awesome! Glad to hear it, Deanna.
These sound SO good! I can’t wait to try them out. This blog is awesome :D
Ok, sorry for the over commenting but this was so delicious! I served it for a get together and everyone was getting involved and having fun. I had the inside made by the time everyone arrived and then just made the quesadillas to order. That cheese on the outside part is PERFECTION–life skill right there! I was totally nervous about doing it but I am now having a hard time imagining making a quesadilla any other way. Thank you! I added a can of black beans and a can of (rinsed and drained) corn to the inside leftovers for tacos the next day…with your salsa of course. Thanks Kate!
No no, don’t apologize! I love your comments. So glad you loved the quesadillas! That cheese-on-the-outside trick really takes them to the next level. Try it on your next grilled cheese!
Love your commentary on waiting tables!! I leave waiting and end up coming back because of its wonderful flexibility and the quick money! Its an addictive profession–a blessing and a curse.
I made these for dinner. I couldn’t get my hands on avocado, so I left that out, but I added tomatoes instead!
Tomatoes sound like a tasty substitution! Thanks for commenting, Sudh!
These quesadillas are on of my favs! I pair with a glass of Merlot and I’m in Sunday evening heaven. Thank you I love love your recipes.
Thanks, Jennifer! That sounds like a great pairing.
OH GOD BUT WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO MEXICO FOR MY AVOCADOS
You can buy them from wherever you’d like. :)
I loved this! Thank you! What a wonderful low-calorie quick dinner recipe that still tastes like hearty comfort food. Found you on google and am excited to look through more recipes! Thank you!
Hey Laura, glad you found my blog and enjoyed the quesadilla! Hope you enjoy the other recipes just as much. Thank you for saying hello!
Deee-licious – we scraped every crumb from our plates. This is the first time I have dared to add the cheese on the hot side of the quesadillas –(visions of a skillet-mess). . .but the mess didn’t happen and omgoodness they were so good. And, yes, I can see these as finger food in our future :) Thank you for this post.
Awesome! Thank you for letting me know. Glad the cheese-on-the-outside trick worked well for you.
Hi, my name is Kate too!
These were so yummy, can’t wait to have a go at making them again!
Such a great, healthy meal! I can sometimes find it hard to figure out what to cook, being a vegetarian.
Your blog is a lifesaver! So glad I have found it :) Thank you!
Hey Kate! Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the quesadillas!
Great way to enjoy a simple but tasty dinner on a lazy evening. Just one thing, since I am a French, I couldn’t help but notice it felt weird when you wrote “pièce de résistance”, which does not exist… We are used to talk about “plat de résistance” for the part of the meal usually constituted with meat or cooked vegetables.
Anyway, thank you for sharing !
Glad you enjoyed the quesadillas, Jules! Thank you for the head’s up with that phrase.
I tried this recipe using kale instead of spinach- and WOW it was unbelievable! Easily the best quesadilla I have ever had. Definitely going to make it again. Thanks
Woohoo! Thanks, Somil!
I have made this recipe several times and love it. When I say I am making quesadillas, my daughter always asks if they are the spinach mushroom version. She LOVES them!
Hooray! Thank you, Cathy!
WOW amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing recipes cannot wait to try them out! So stocked I found your page
Thank you, Julia! I’m glad you found my blog!
We tried these Quesadillas and absolutely loved it! I have had to look for this recipe on popular demand today, thanks Kate for sharing this amazing recipe.
Served these as an appetizer for a dinner party. My guest adored them! I am not an avocado fan, so I 86ed that. I used shallots instead of purple onion and the outcome was fantastic! I am a vegetarian, and one of my guest could not believe there was no meat in the quesadillas! Two thumbs way up!
Made this for dinner a few times last week – so easy and delicious after a long day! I was a little afraid it would feel heavy and unhealthy, but I felt great after eating it :)
I’m so glad you’re enjoying these quesadillas, Brita! Yay!
Made this just now for lunch. I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier during the day (mainly so I can indulge on dinner), and my go-to lunch of eggs on a bed of sauteed mushrooms, onions, and spinach has gotten a little boring. I used provolone as that’s all I had on hand, and spread a bit of Peruvian green sauce on top of the cheese, and it is divine!!!
We made these tonight – quick, fresh and fantastic! FIVE STARS!!
I live in Panama. Substituting I should a way of life. Spinach is not a thing here, so I substituted kale. This worked really well.
I’m glad it worked well, Marc!
Hi! I just stumbled across this while looking for some inspiration for dinner.
Love your site! Just getting started ion this whole food bloggy thingie myself ;)
I’m cleaning out my fridge that consists of these stray ingredients: spinach and mushrooms. My counter is holding a lone avocado just for those quesadillas. It was MEANT to be! I have to add in one baggie of frozen green chiles from my hoard., though. The stars are aligned and dinner is already going to be fabulous, for sure! Thank you!!
Made these for my 1 year old daughter and I for lunch and they were a huge hit! I now make quesadillas all the time using this cooking method, even when I don’t have these exact filling ingredients.
1 year old, how adorable! Thanks for sharing. :)
Made this per the recipe and it was such a hit. Love the addition of the avocado slices. Bought the ingredients for the vegan Mac and cheese…excited to make it!
Wonderful, Avani! Thanks for your review.
I made these for dinner this evening; so good! As a matter of preference I made guacamole and had it on the side along with your sour “cream”. Delicious, thank you!
Great to hear! Thank you!
Loved it and so did my 12 year old vegetarian son! Left out avocados, may add next time. Makes a bit too much filling IMO but depends on how ‘full’ you want them. But no complaints at all. Lime juice adds just the right flavor.
Thanks for commenting, Kelly!
Flavor is amazing, but it was a mess. Tried using rice tortillas…bad idea on my part. Then used flour tortillas and they fell apart and very difficult to flip with the cheese on the outside. Suggestions?
Oh no! I would use corn tortillas if you need to be gluten free.
I instantly fell in love with you, Kate! I, too, loved waitressing(most days). I describe waitressing as the most fun I’ve ever had earning money — for the exact reasons you describe… I can SO SO SO relate. That was back in college. And now I’m 51(!) but I often think it would still be more fun than a desk job. Being physically, rather than mentally, drained is WAAAY better and more satisfying. I think I would have done well being a pioneer woman: chopping wood and carrying water, feeding and mucking. Anyway, thanks for the great description of waitressing and this delish recipe! – Jen
You’re so sweet, Jennifer! Thank you for your comment.
Sadly, this one was “just okay” for us. I followed the recipe to a T. But I won’t be repeating it as there are simpler quesedillas with more flavor. Sorry :(
I’m sorry you didn’t love this one! I appreciate your feedback, Annie.
I tried this recipe, but I’m not sure what I did wrong. The quesadilla tasted great but the veggie mixture was watery which made the quesadilla soggy :( how do I make sure it is crisp? Appreciate your feedback. Thank you :)
Hi Sal, I’m sorry to hear that! Did you follow step 1 and cook until the mixture was dry? Sometimes spinach can be watery.
Thank you for your reply. I think I may have cooked the spinach first which ended up making the mixture watery. I will try next time with cooking the mushrooms first. It was a delicious combo, so definitely want to give it another shot :)
Made these today for lunch and they were absolutely delicious!!! We didn’t put the cheese on the outside (mainly because I didn’t read that far down the recipe properly!!) but they were still amazing! I sprinkled them with coriander too as I just love it :) and served with some tomatillo salsa….absolutely delicious and everyone was very impressed with how filling they were too :) thank you so much for this delightful recipe!
Thanks for this recipe! I made these for the first time for dinner tonight and both my husband and I loved them. They cooked beautifully and as described. My husband has to limit dark leafy greens (kidney stones), so for his I used red cabbage, sautéed with the mushroom mix, and it worked well. I enjoyed the spinach in mine, though ;) Such a simple recipe and yet such a nice blend of flavors.
Just made this for lunch as I had all of the ingredients on hand (except for the red onion- I subbed a yellow one). WOW. I was blown away by the flavor of this. Easy to make and super delicious! I love quesadillas and had never even heard of a mushroom quesadilla- will definitely be making this regularly! I shared the recipe with all of my friends— thank you so much Kate for all of your delicious and healthy recipes! Keep em coming!
Thank you for sharing, Renée! I appreciate your review.
This recipe was a big hit.My family is super picky and not easy to please. At first, they felt this was a really healthy meaning not good tasting. They loved the quesadilla for the light and fresh taste. Thanks, I will be adding this in my repertoire of recipes.
I love it! Thank you for sharing, Sue.
My daughters discovered crispy cheese while toasting sandwiches in a sandwich toaster! I never knew it was actually ‘a thing’ Will be trying this recipe for our quick lunch today!! =)
This is exactly what I was looking for as a quick lunch for someone that is supposed to ‘stopover’ next week. What would you suggest as a side? PS….I have been making spinach/mushroom quesadillas for years but have never added avocado or fried cheese. Can’t wait to try.
Mexican Brown Rice would be a great option!