Quesadilla

The history of the Quesadilla

The Quesadilla is a common dish that you can find in any regular Mexican restaurant. It is also an essential meal or snack cooked in Mexican family kitchens.

While the Quesadilla is seen as an authentic dish with its origins in colonial Mexico, the recipe has actually been influenced by several other cultures and cuisines along the way.

What is a Quesadilla?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Quesadilla, the dish is a modest corn or flour tortilla that is filled and grilled. A full quesadilla combines two whole tortillas with a filling in between – a bit like a sandwich – while a half tortilla is a single tortilla folded over into a half moon shape. Quesadillas are filled with cheese (but not always) and other savoury ingredients such as meat, spices and vegetables before they are grilled.

What other cultures have influenced the history of the Quesadilla?

A number of other cultures and cuisines have contributed to the dish that we know as the Quesadilla.

  • North America – corn tortillas were first eaten by the native Americans during pre-Columbian times (before 1492). They were considered a staple food.
  • Italy – the Oaxaca cheese often used to fill the Quesadilla is a semi hard cow cheese that is stringy like mozzarella. Its method of production was introduced to Mexico by Dominican monks.
  • Spain – the addition of pork and beef to the Quesadilla is a Spanish influence. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the early 1500’s, meat was rarely a part of the traditional indigenous diet.

When do you eat a Quesadilla?

You can eat a Quesadilla any time of the day!

  • Breakfast – between two corn tortilla add a fried egg & avocado or fry some mushrooms with garlic and epazote (thyme will work), add cheese. Grill until the cheese melts and serve with your favourite Mexican hot sauce to get your metabolism moving.
  • Lunch – try filling a single corn tortilla with fish or seafood and cheese, fold in half and grill, then serve with a fresh salsa on the side.
  • Dinner – fill your corn tortillas with slow cooked meat like beef, pork or chicken and cheese, grill, then serve with a fresh salad. For a vegetarian version try spicy black beans instead
  • Snack – there is a version of the Quesadilla known as ‘Sincronizada’, which translates as ‘synchronised’ in Spanish. It is a ‘Quesadilla Sandwich’ filled with ham and cheese and sometimes chorizo or refried beans. A winner with the little ones!

Why not try experimenting at home with your own Quesadilla fillings and our Doña Cholita corn tortillas? Share your creations with us! #DoñaCholita We love seeing what delicious dishes you all come up with.