A simple, nourishing and flavor-packed gluten-free and vegetarian meal. Roasted eggplant, zucchini & red pepper with fresh basil pesto and mozzarella... cooked up between two perfectly crispy gluten-free tortillas.
Italian Roasted Veggie Quesadilla
Easy, Flavorful and Satisfying!
May 2021: With grilled veggie season, and almost basil season, upon us, I’ve started making this quesadilla a lot again!
It’s an easy and delicious way to use extra grilled or roasted veggies and once you start making the pesto, you’ll be finding all sorts of uses for it all summer long!
Back to this Italian Roasted (or Grilled) Veggie Quesadilla…
We are always playing around with different filling ideas and this is one came about a few weeks ago because we had a lot grilled and roasted veggies I was trying to use up.
You might notice that I use grilled and roasted veggies interchangeably…. They are obviously two different methods of cooking, but for purposes of this quesadilla, either work well!
If you roasted or grilled veggies already, this quesadilla is particularly simple!
If you don’t, I provide simple grilling and roasting instructions below.
Same goes for the pesto… you can use store bought. But if you have lots of basil, like we do, I share a simple recipe.
Let’s start with the veggies!
For detailed instructions on roasting or grilling just about any veggie, click here. But let me show you how to quickly roast eggplant, zucchini and peppers!
Let’s start with roasted peppers.
I often roast several peppers at a time and leave some in the refrigerator and freeze the rest — they freeze really well!
I like to blacken at a very high temperature so the skin peels off easily.
I actually use my grandmother’s way of making them which is to broil them, turning once to make sure they are blackened on both sides. Then place them in a paper bag for 15-20 minutes, then the skin just peels right off!
Now for the eggplant and zucchini…
You can purchase the veggies pre-cut or cut them yourself (This time of year, they are so fresh and tasty, recommend cutting them yourself)…. then place them on the baking sheet with some oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and let them bake!
A few tips for getting them perfectly tender and crispy every time!
Make sure the veggies are well dried after rinsing and scrubbing off any dirt
Cut them as evenly as possible so that they cook evenly
Make sure they are coated but not dripping in oil ( I like use a cooking brush)
Place them on the baking sheet so that they are not touching and with enough space in between each vegetable so that they can get crispy.
Roast them at 400 degrees, for 30 minutes.
And they can be roasted at the same time!
For the basil pesto, our favorite simple recipe is below (as well as a link to our favorite vegan nut-free pesto) or you can use a store bought one.
The basil pesto recipe shown here is made with 8 ingredients:
freshly grated Parmesan reggiano
extra virgin olive oil
raw unsalted almonds
rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper.
And it couldn’t be easier!
Using a food processor (we’ve had a basic Cuisanart – Amazon affiliate link forever and it’s great for this!), pulse the basil, garlic and almonds a few seconds to get them break down a bit.
It will smell amazing immediately!
And the almonds give it a little texture which is so satisfying!
Then add the salt and pepper and pulse again. Next, add in the Parmesan cheese and with the food processor running stream in the oil.
Pulse in the rice wine vinegar (just a touch but adds a nice brightness!) and your done!
Pro tip: Scrape down the sides to make sure it’s all blended well.
The veggies and pesto can all be made ahead of time.
Now, let’s make those quesadillas!
All you do is heat up a tortilla in a saute pan.
Spread some basil pesto on the tortilla, then top with eggplant slices, then zucchini slices, then red pepper slices.
Sprinkle with mozzarella to taste and top with another tortilla and cook both sides 1-2 minutes, until both sides golden and just crisp.
It will seem quite full but as the veggies cook, it flattens a lot.
How good does this look?
Hope you love it as much as we do!
If you’re interested in the Easy Balsamic Dressing, it’s super simple and our go to everyday dressing.
It’s just as it sounds –EASY!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
and a pinch of salt and garlic powder whisked together!
To try our Mushroom and Swiss Chard Quesadilla, click here.
An simple, nourishing and flavor-packed gluten-free and vegetarian meal. Roasted eggplant, zucchini & red pepper with fresh basil pesto and mozzarella... cooked up between two perfectly crispy gluten-free tortillas. Note: This is a10 minute meal if you have roasted/grilled veggies and pesto already made.
Red Bell Pepper -- 1 -2, depending on how much extra you want
Zucchini - 1-3, cut in ¼ inch slices, depending on how much extra you want
Eggplant - 1-3, sliced in ¼ inch circles, depending on how much extra you want
Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ c EVOO
1½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Garlic powder, a sprinkle or to tasted
Salt, to taste
In preheated broiler, roast peppers for approximately 20-30 minutes, rotating midway through, or until blackened. You want them black so that the skin peels off easier.
Remove from oven and place in a brown paper bag, seal and let cool for about 15 minutes. Then remove from bag and the blacked skins should peel off easily and the seeds remove easily. Slice peppers into strips.
Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. One vegetable at a time, gently brush or toss in olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Lay in a single layer on individual baking sheets or bake in batches. Bake for 30 minutes until tender and slightly crisp.
Pro Tip: The top rack gets them crispiest so consider rotating pans midway through, or move whichever was on the middle rack to the top rack for five minutes at the end.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. One vegetable at a time, gently toss in olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
In batches, lay in a single layer on grill tray or on grill pan.
Grill in batches, one type at a time so that they cook at the same rate. Grill, flipping once, until tender and lightly charred, approximately15 minutes.
Roasted or Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Peppers keep well in the refrigerator in a sealed container for several days. Peppers also freeze well.
Place basil, garlic and almonds in a food processor and run/pulse several times until finely minced
Add salt and pepper and pulse a few more times.
With the food processor running, stream olive oil into the top of the food processor. Scrape down the sides as needed and run food processor until well combined and mixture is smooth.
Add cheese and process briefly until just combined.
Add rice wine vinegar and pulse a few times until just combined.
Can be made ahead and kept in seal container in the refrigerator.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat, lightly coat with oil and place one tortilla in the pan and gently heat it about 1 minute or until it starts to bubble up a bit as it cooks and browns on one side
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons basil pesto atop the tortilla and spread evenly.
Top with eggplant slices, then zucchini slices, then red pepper slices.
Then sprinkle with mozzarella to taste.
Top with another tortilla and cook both sides 1-2 minutes, flipping once, until both sides golden and just crispy.
Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!
Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette
Whisk together ingredients.
Can be made ahead and keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m the mom in our Healthy Gluten-Free Family. My posts and pictures here and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are labors of love that allow me to share a very personal journey with you, one our family has taken together — learning, experimenting and sharing how to raise a healthy happy gluten-free family. Read more ...