It’s easy to overlook one Mexican staple that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves – the humble quesadilla. Thankfully, September 25th is a day set aside to give it some much-needed love: it’s National Quesadilla Day! So, whether you’re already a devotee of this classic Mexican dish or you’re still learning how to pronounce it (kay-Suh-DEE-uh!), why not take this opportunity to celebrate this unsung hero?
In this post, we'll give you some tips on how to make sure you don't miss out on all the fun of National Quesadilla Day. And don't forget to head over to our Facebook page on the 25th for our live event with the wonderful Paul's Kitchen. You won't want to miss out on his perfect quesadilla recipe!
Versatile and delicious
One of the great things about the quesadilla is that, whatever your plans, there’s always some way to fit this tasty treat into your day!
At its simplest, it needs only two ingredients – cheese and tortillas. That makes it a great option if you need something quick and easy for lunch.
But at the other end of the spectrum, if you want to fill your quesadilla full of veggies, beans, or meat, and top it with all those wonderful Mexican dips and sauces, there’s nothing to stop you from turning your quesadilla experience into a full-on feast.
In this post, we'll give you our top tips on how to make the most of National Quesadilla Day, including some fun recipes to try out.
The long history of the quesadilla
But first, let’s take the opportunity to do a little learning. After all, National Quesadilla Day isn’t just an excuse to eat tortillas and cheese – and who needs an excuse for that anyway? It’s also a day designed to promote the understanding of Mexican cuisine and culture.
Many of the staples of Mexican food are in fact truly ancient. Chillies were first cultivated by the Mayan peoples of the Yucatán peninsula more than five thousand years ago. Tortillas, meanwhile, have been eaten since around 1250 BCE.
Even that culinary favourite of the 2010s, the avocado, was being eaten by the Mayans thousands of years ago!
But it was not until the Spanish colonization of Mexico in the sixteenth century that Mexican food as we know it today emerged.
From the Mayans to the Aztecs, most indigenous Mesoamerican civilisations had little access to meat and no access to dairy animals. In fact, cheese was unknown to the pre-Colombian peoples of Mexico!
The Spanish brought with them cows and sheep, making meat and dairy products abundantly available for the first time. The combination of meat and cheese with the traditional staples of indigenous cultures produced much of the food that we today know as Mexican.
Tradition and change
The quesadilla, at its simplest, is the perfect representation of this history.
A quesadilla in its most traditional form is simply a corn tortilla filled with cheese and heated on a flat, cast-iron pan (called a comal). And this emblematic combination was indeed first eaten in the sixteenth century, right after the Spanish conquest.
But just as Mexican food was formed from cross-cultural encounters, it has continued to evolve in the subsequent centuries.
In fact, much of the Mexican food we’re familiar with today bears the mark of American influence. In fact, some dishes we think of as traditionally Mexican are anything but. Nachos, for instance, originated in the Mexico-US border town of Piedras Negras in the 1940s. Fajitas, meanwhile, are a Texan invention of the late 1960s!
Quesadillas made easy
So, now we all know a little more about the history of Mexican food. It's time to think about how we can truly celebrate National Quesadilla Day.
Hopefully, you’ll be even more excited to take part now that you know that people have been grilling up quesadillas for hundreds of years – and eating tortillas for thousands!
But this doesn’t mean you have to try and go down the traditional route.
Of course, if you want to get some corn tortillas and traditional Oaxaca cheese, don’t let us stop you! But you should feel free to adapt this incredibly versatile dish to suit your tastes – it’s supposed to be a celebration, after all.
If your priority is something simple, quick and delicious, then you'll only need the most basic of recipes:
- Lay a tortilla on a hot griddle pan and let it brown.
- Once browned on the bottom, turn it over and cover it in grated cheese – use whatever you like, but even a simple cheddar can be a great choice.
- Once the cheese has melted, fold it in half – and you’re done! It really is the perfect cheesy snack.
Quesadilla recipes for the adventurous
If you want to push the boat out, however, the sky is really the limit. With the right fillings, the quesadilla goes from a tasty snack to a full-blown feast.
Chicken or beef is a great addition, as are refried beans of course. But why not think outside the box? Let your imagination run wild – if it goes well with cheese, you’re probably going to be fine.
And if you need a bit of inspiration, there are plenty of recipes out there to help you.
Or why not take a look at Swan’s own recipe for grilled veggie quesadillas with pesto? It’s a delicious mix of Mexican and Italian flavours – and a healthier option, too. Not only is it packed full of vegetables, but it also makes use of the Swan Stealth Smart Grill.
The Stealth Smart Grill is a perfect choice for those looking to make healthier food choices without sacrificing flavour. And it can make a simple dish like a quesadilla even simpler to make thanks to its handy smart sensors. They'll automatically adapt the cooking time based on the thickness of the food you put on it.
And of course, Mexican food is all about those delicious sides. Why not rustle up a delicious chunky fresh salsa to go along with it? And for those who like it spicy, why not pour a generous amount of homemade hot sauce over the top?
Celebrate National Quesadilla Day on September 25th!
So, now you know the history and you’ve got a recipe to suit your tastes. Maybe your brand-new Stealth Smart Grill is on the way – after all, what better excuse do you need than this wonderful national day?
Whether you’re cooking up a Mexican feast for the whole family or just want a quick snack to keep you going, the humble quesadilla will fit the bill perfectly.
So, stock up on tortillas and cheese, and make sure you celebrate National Quesadilla Day in style!