Squash blossom quesadillas, called quesadillas de flor de calabaza in Spanish, are just about the tastiest vegetarian snack, appetizer or vegetarian supper I know of. What’s more, they are easy, and can be made in less than 30 minutes.
That’s a rarity on this site, where I revel in the long, slow cooking process that coax out the best in wild game. But I am also a gardener, and I grow winter squash every year; calabazas en español.
The way a squash sets fruit is with male and female flowers. The female ones have a micro squash at their base. The male ones are simply on a stalk, called a guia or guide in Spanish. And like a lot of organisms on this planet, there are a lot more males than females. So you will find yourself with an excess of squash blossoms if you are growing them.
The answer, for me, are these squash blossom quesadillas. I prefer them to their other main use, which is stuffed and fried, and while flores de calabaza are used a lot in soups in Latin America, I don’t normally feel like soup in summer.
Incidentally, while flowers from winter squash blossoms are most commonly used, there is no reason you can’t use those from zucchini or other summer squash.
I make my own tortillas for quesadillas de flor de calabaza, and I do prefer flour for this recipe; my method for making homemade flour tortillas is here. If you prefer corn, I have a recipe for corn tortillas, too.
You will want to use any melty cheese here. I use queso Chihuahua, which melts nicely. Queso Oaxaca works well too, as does mozzarella… or, let’s face it, so does that “Mexican blend” you see in the supermarket. Monterey jack is another good choice.
These are really very simple squash blossom quesadillas, with only cheese, the blossoms, and an herb of your choice: I prefer epazote, which is traditional, but cilantro works, too. Pipicha is another fun, very Mexican, option. If you have them, little chiles pequin are a nice surprise in there as well.
Once made, your quesadillas de flor de calabaza are best eaten right away, but I’ve eaten them cold and they were still good.
Squash Blossom Quesadillas
- 8 tortillas, flour or corn
- 1 pound shredded queso Chihuahua, or other melty cheese
- 1 sprig epazote, or cilantro
- 1/2 pound squash blossoms, roughly chopped
- Chopped chiles pequin (optional)
- Heat a comal, griddle, flat top or large cast iron pan over a large burner. If you are doing flour tortillas you want medium-high. If you are doing corn you want high heat. Corn tortillas are best around 500°F, where flour is better around 400°F.
- Lay down a little shredded cheese on one side of a tortilla, then some chopped squash blossoms, and a few epazote leaves. Top with a little more cheese. Fold over carefully and press the quesadilla down on the hot comal with a spatula until the cheese melts and holds it together. Let this sear a few minutes, then flip and repeat. You want the cheese a little browned on the edges. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Keys to Success
- Epazote really adds a lot to this, so use it if you can find it. It'll be in many Latin markets. No huge deal if you need to skip it though.
- Chop the stem ends off the squash blossoms and they will lay flatter in the tortillas. If I have lots and lots of them, I only use the yellow part.
- Serve your quesadillas with a nice salsa on the side. I am partial to salsa morita, fire-roasted salsa, or my tomatillo salsa verde.