Mexico City Quesadillas

cut in half

For most people a quesadilla consists of an enormous flour tortilla stuffed with an insane amount of cheese, griddled, then topped with guac, sour cream and chunky salsa.  Well I am not sure what the folks in Mexico’s capital would have to say when they see that.  Out in Mexico City quesadillas look a lot different.  A lot.  For starters they are significantly smaller and use a corn tortilla as a base.  Second, fillings usually consist of something more than just cheese (although a cheese quesadilla is acceptable).  A variety of vegetables make for great additions to a quesadilla.  One of the biggest difference is these quesadillas usually get fried rather than just get thrown on a griddle.  The end result is half-quesadilla, half-turnover.  A crunchy outside that is filled with warm veggies and gooey cheese.

For this recipe I decided to keep it a little simple.  Mushrooms for meatiness, red pepper for beautiful color and onions for sweetness.  A nice mild white cheese lends to the gooeyness factor without overpowering the vegetables.


-2 cups of mushrooms (5-6 whole mushrooms);
– ½ red bell pepper;
– ½ onion, sliced;
– ¼ teaspoon of cumin;
– ½ cup of white melting cheese (Oaxaca, Monterrey jack or even white cheddar would work great);
– ½ teaspoon of oregano, crushed;
– 1 cup of masa harina or prepared masa;
– oil;
– salt


In a medium sauté pan heat oil on medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and red bell pepper.  Sauté until mushrooms are tender.  Season with salt and cumin.


Let mixture cool.  Meanwhile shred cheese.  Mix with oregano and set aside. Prepare masa according to package directions (I generally add a good splash of oil to the mix to add extra moisture).  Dough is ready when it is smooth and a bit sticky.  Separate dough into golf-ball sized balls.

tortilla dough

Using the palm of your hand or a tortilla press flatten out the dough into 1/8 inch thick tortillas.  Spoon mushroom mixture onto the bottom half of the tortilla.  Next, sprinkle cheese on top of the mushrooms.


Bring the other end of the tortilla over the mixture and crimp the edges together.  Heat about an inch of oil in the pan on medium or medium-high heat.  Oil is ready when tiny bubbles start to form.  Gently place quesadillas into the oil.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes then flip.  Quesadillas are ready to go when they are golden brown on both sides.  Place quesadillas on a paper towel lined plate to drain.


Resist the urge to dig in right away.  Remember these puppies just came out of the oil. They are going to be HOT!

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