Favorite Crowd-Pleasing Quesadilla Recipe

Favorite Crowd-Pleasing Quesadilla Recipe

These quesadillas were originally created as an after thought to the salsas that flavor them, but quickly became a favorite in their own right. When my co-worker Heather gave me her scrumptious salsa recipe, she told me that the extra salsa was also great to make quesadillas with. Now, it’s the chips and salsa that are the after thought.

Don’t get scared by the long list of ingredients. You can make these quesadillas using only the corn and black bean mixture in the inside, but the other filling gives it the kick that a lot of my spice-loving guests really appreciate. I usually make the filling ahead and cook the quesadillas up right before I serve them because they are so fast to make and taste much better (and less soggy) fresh.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 12-16 super dough-y flour tortillas (I have used corn tortillas before as well, but the flour is better able to handle the filling)
  • 1 block of Monterey jack cheese (please grate it yourself and don’t buy a mix – it is super fast with the right box grater)
  • 4-5 vine ripened tomatoes (look for something local. The farther the tomato has traveled, the less ripe it was when picked, losing crucial flavor)
  • 3 serrano chilies
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 large can (or 2 small cans) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 small limes
  • cayenne pepper
  • cumin
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Prepare black bean and corn salsa by adding 1 can of corn (drained), 1 can of black beans (drained), and 2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes to a serving bowl.
  2. Add the juice and zest of half a lime along with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix and set aside.
  4. Prepare the tomato salsa by dicing two tomatoes and one onion and finely chopping 1 clove of garlic, 3 serrano chili peppers, and a handful of cilantro.
  5. Combine the chopped items in a bowl with a half teaspoon of salt and the juice of one lime.
  6. Mix and set aside.
  7. If desired, grate the whole block of cheese into a bowl (otherwise, you can grate some cheese on each tortilla as your are making the quesadillas).
  8. When you are ready to fire up the quesadillas, set up your pan (or pans; I use one large flat pan that can hold about three quesadillas) on the stove top over medium heat and grease each with some Pam spray or brushed cooking oil.
  9. For each quesadilla, layout a tortilla, cover one half with a light layer of cheese (about 1 1/2 tablespoons, but it depends on the size of the tortilla).
  10. Add two spoons of the corn and black bean mixture and the spicy salsa to taste. For guests who like heat, I add 1-1 1/2 spoons.
  11. Fold the tortilla in half and cook for 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side.
  12. Make sure to re-grease the pan between each quesadilla so you don’t have sticking/burning problems.
  13. Serve piping hot (with guacamole if you would like), and enjoy!