Overview

Comfort and ease: That’s what quesadillas have always represented to me, since the very first time I folded a tortilla over some cheese.

You can complicate almost any dish, but it’s pretty hard to do that with quesadillas. There’s not much room on a 6-inch corn tortilla, so you’ve got to keep the fillings pretty minimal. My favorites are beans (of course) and mushrooms. For the former, use whatever you have cooked — or in the can. Just warm the beans and mash them lightly with some spices (cumin and smoked paprika are my favorites) and a squeeze of lime if you’ve got it.

For the latter, I’ve always just winged it, often using leftover roasted mushrooms from one of my weekend big-batch roasting sessions. But I love the approach Diala Canelo takes in her new book, “Diala’s Kitchen” (Penguin Canada, 2020), sauteing the mushrooms with aromatic vegetables and spices before stuffing them into the tortillas with cheese, griddling and folding. She holds to the nothing-complicated rule of quesadilla making but adds nice touches: a little fresh parsley and fresh mozzarella instead of the more easy-to-come-by low-moisture variety. Both, incidentally, are optional.

I was a little skeptical about the use of fresh cheese, to be honest, because I worried it would make the filling watery. Instead, it provides just enough moisture inside, while getting a little charred and crisp in spots where it oozes out of the tortilla in the pan. Part-skim mozzarella will work well, too. Either way, you’ll end up with two words that make my mouth water: fried cheese.

In true quesadilla spirit, please feel free to adapt this to your own pantry and refrigerator situation right now. If you have a stash of dried mushrooms, employ them here, but if you don’t, use whatever you have that tastes good. A jar of roasted red peppers? Some leftover slaw? Sweet potatoes? Go for it.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

NOTE: If you don’t have access to fresh mushrooms, you may substitute 3 ounces of dried. Soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, pour through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all grit from the liquid, and rinse the mushrooms before chopping and using in the recipe. Save the liquid to add deep flavor to soups, sauces, grains and more.


Ingredients

1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, enoki, cremini and button; may substitute dried mushrooms: see NOTE)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

Eight (6-inch) corn tortillas

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces (may substitute grated part-skim or vegan mozzarella)

1/2 cup your favorite salsa or hot sauce, for serving


Steps

Step 1

Trim the mushrooms and remove the stems if you’re using a variety, such as shiitake, that have particularly tough stems. Save the stems to make mushroom or other vegetable broth, and chop the remaining mushrooms.

Step 2

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it does not burn.

Step 3

Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have reduced a bit in size, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, then scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.

Step 4

Wipe the skillet clean and return to medium heat. Toast the corn tortillas, one at a time, for 1 minute on one side.

Step 5

Working in batches as needed, put as many tortillas as will fit in the pan, and place a few pieces of cheese over just half of each tortilla, on the untoasted side. Scatter about 2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture over the cheese. Fold the tortilla in half, covering the filling.

Step 6

Cook until the tortillas are lightly charred and the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve hot with your favorite salsa or hot sauce on the side.

Adapted from “Diala’s Kitchen” by Diala Canelo (Penguin Random House Canada, 2020).

Tested by Joe Yonan; email questions to  voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

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Nutrition

Calories: 352; Total Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 36 mg; Sodium: 565 mg; Carbohydrates: 28 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 20 g.