A cheese quesadilla is given a healthy make-over with the addition of a layer of butternut squash puree. This Healthy Quesadilla is Served with Cilantro Lime Cream and is the perfect way for picky eaters to enjoy veggies.
My daughter could live on cheese if we let her.
She would live on Grilled Cheese or Mac and Cheese if we let her.
She sort of sounds like a typical young child, doesn't she?
Most toddlers and elementary-aged children have a love affair with a few simple foods and it can be a daunting task to include new things or vegetables. Maybe you can relate?
And while I STRONGLY suggest getting your kids into the kitchen with you to cook and to invite them to try new things daily, I am NOT opposed to sneaking in a bit of healthy where I can, like Mac and Cheese Muffins or Veggie Quesadillas.
This is not your average cheese quesadilla. A few veggies are tucked inside a typical cheese quesadilla, to make it a bit healthier.
I call these healthy quesadillas, "Hidden" Veggie Quesadillas, but the truth is that my kids KNOW there are veggies there because I believe it is important to let kids know that veggies can taste good and SHOULD be included in their diets.
But these cheese quesadillas are a great way to "sneak" in some veggies without the flavor of the quesadilla being overwhelmed with the taste of vegetables.
- Tortillas: Use any tortilla you like. Homemade tortillas, store-bought or gluten-free.
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar is best, as the color and flavor help to mask the vegetables. It is also best to shred the cheese yourself for the cheese to melt uniformly. Pre-grated cheese is coated with anti-caking agents.
- Vegetable Puree: Butternut squash puree is mild and perfect for these quesadillas. However, feel free to use canned pumpkin puree, the mashed flesh of baked sweet potatoes, or carrot puree. Even a jar of baby food works perfectly.
How to Make Veggie Quesadillas
Start with a simple cheese quesadilla, which is typically a sure-fire win for most kids, and add in a layer of butternut squash puree.
- Spread one tortilla (corn, flour, or gluten-free) with a layer of butternut squash puree.
- Top with a generous layer of shredded cheese.
- Cover with another tortilla.
- Cook quesadilla either on a griddle or in the microwave. If you like crispy quesadillas, use a griddle or dry frying pan. If you want a softer quesadilla, microwave just long enough to melt the cheese. Pro-Tip: If microwaving cheese quesadilla, cover with a slightly damp paper towel to keep the tortilla from drying out.
Butternut Squash Puree
I find that butternut squash is one of the best vegetables to pair with a cheese quesadilla. The butternut squash puree is the same color as the cheddar cheese, so it is easily masked in appearance. Also, butternut squash has such a mild flavor, that it is easily hidden from young palates as well.
The easiest way to roast butternut squash is to roast BEFORE cutting.
- Place the WHOLE butternut squash in the oven and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
- Remove it and slice the squash open--it is SO soft, it almost cuts with a butter knife.
- Scoop out the seeds, and place the flesh of squash in a large bowl.
- Mash with a fork.
- You can also place in blender or food processor, but not a necessary step at this point.
- Freeze butternut squash puree in small portions for later use.
Cilantro Lime Cream
The dipping sauce is completely optional, but it does elevate these simple quesadillas. In fact, even adults love this simple healthy quesadilla when paired with a Fresh Cilantro Lime Cream.
More Kid-Friendly Veggie Recipes
- Vegetable Nuggets
- Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls
- Sweet Potato Oatmeal Cookies
- Ranch Veggie Wrap
- Easy Bean Burritos with Hidden Veggies
- Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Waffles
Hidden Veggie Quesadillas
- 1 cup Butternut Squash Puree
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shreddedd
- 8 tortillas
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime zest and juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Spread 4 tortillas with ¼ cup squash puree each. Top with one ounce of cheese on each.
- Top with remaining quesadilla and then heat in skillet, oven, or microwave until cheese is melted.
- Mix together the yogurt (or sour cream), cilantro, lime zest and juice and salt. Serve with quesadillas.
- Instead of Butternut Squash Puree, you can use sweet potato puree, carrot puree, or even 100% canned pumpkin.