Quesadillas are simple and fun: essentially, the Mexican version of a grilled cheese sandwich. However, by layering flavors and adding a few embellishments, you can take your standard quesadilla to newer heights. Part of the appeal lies in its minimal cooking time. A few minutes on either side, and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Here is a recipe I created just days ago, with ingredients that I had on hand. The result is an intensely flavored quesadilla that is perfect for an appetizer, lunch, or light dinner.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 15 oz can corn (or frozen corn)

1 green pepper (sliced)

1 yellow onion (sliced)

1/2 red pepper (sliced)

1 large jalapeno

Zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoon cumin powder

2 teaspoon Lawry’s Taco Seasoning

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

2 clove garlic

1/4 cup cilantro

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese


Slice onion and peppers (julienne…strips) thinly. In a large pot or wok, heat up about 1/4 cup oil. Fry cumin seeds in oil and then add onions and peppers. Add sugar and stir. After few minutes, add cumin powder and Taco Seasoning and stir. Cook onions and peppers, seasoning with 1 teaspoon salt, until they have caramelized (reduced and browned). Set aside in large bowl. You will be using the SAME wok to cook the corn; do not clean it, as the corn will pick up residual flavor from the onions.

Chop garlic and jalapenos and combine with lime zest. Drain corn and set aside. Add more oil to the wok and toss in the corn. Next, add garlic, jalapenos, and lime zest. Season with salt. Cook these ingredients for about five minutes on medium heat, until corn develops color and garlic has cooked. Then add chopped cilantro.

Set corn and caramelized onions/peppers aside, and assemble your quesadillas. Place about 1/2 cup of cheese on one side of tortilla and top with onions/peppers, then corn. Top with second tortilla and cook on a flat pan on medium heat until golden brown.