Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on November 30, 2013

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Butternut squash and kale are two of my favorite fall veggies.

Every fall, my dad used to make a butternut squash “sabji” – which is basically butternut squash sautéed with a ton of Indian spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric — the works. It was delicious and I’d look forward to it like a kid in a candy store (and since butternut squash is so sweet, the analogy kind of works 🙂 ).

Kale is such a trend right now — kale salads and kale chips are everywhere! I’m definitely on the kale bandwagon – I love the texture and flavor of these curly, leafy greens. But I really wanted to do something different with kale, because you can use it in almost anything you’d use spinach, lettuce, or any other green. It’s super versatile and it’s so, so good for you.

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So as I was trying to come up with a new way to use these two veggies together, I decided to go the Mexican food route, since the husband loves quesadillas.

To cut down on the prep time, I used Earthbound Farm’s frozen butternut squash and kale – which, when heated up, tasted just like the fresh version (and not all frozen veggies will retain their flavor and texture when going from frozen to fresh, so I was pleasantly surprised at that).

I threw in a bunch of warming spices, added cheese of course, and browned the quesadilla in a skillet. In about 30 minutes I had the most delicious and hearty quesadilla that we could really feel good about eating!

The Ingredients

  • 4 Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas (I used the kind from Trader Joe’s – pictured below)
  • 8oz Frozen Butternut Squash cubes (like the kind from Earthbound Farm)
  • 8oz Frozen Kale (like the kind from Earthbound Farm)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Mexican Shredded Cheese Blend (you’ll use 1/4 cup per quesadilla)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • optional: 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like things on the spicier side)

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The Directions

Step 1: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.

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Step 2: Add in the butternut squash and kale, saute until cooked through.

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Step 3: Once the veggies have defrosted, add in all of your spices (salt through ground coriander; or through crushed red pepper flakes – if using). Cook for another 10 minutes until all of the ingredients have combined and the squash is slightly soft.

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Step 4: Assemble your quesadilla! Take one whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle 1/8 cup of Mexican cheese on half of the tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the butternut squash/kale mixture, and top again with 1/8 cup of cheese.

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Step 5: Spray a skillet with cooking spray and brown your quesadilla on both sides until slightly crispy.

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Step 6: Let cool for a couple minutes after removing from the pan, then slice and serve.

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Thanks to the size of the whole wheat tortillas and the heartiness of the filling, one quesadilla (sliced into 2-4 pieces) is more than enough for one person. And each quesadilla is less than 300 calories!

The husband and I both absolutely loved it. We served it with a bit of fresh guacamole and salsa – but you can top it with anything you like (some other options are 0% Greek Yogurt and Pico de Gallo).

It’s Mexican comfort food at its best.

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Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 quesadilla

Calories per serving: 278.5

Fat per serving: 12.3g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 278.5 Calories, 12.3g Fat (7g Saturated), 640.9mg Sodium, 32.1g Carbs, 6g Fiber, 2.7g Sugar, 11.6g Protein

Ingredients

  • 4 Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
  • 8oz Frozen Butternut Squash cubes (like the kind from Earthbound Farms)
  • 8oz Frozen Kale (like the kind from Earthbound Farms)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Mexican Shredded Cheese Blend (you'll use 1/4 cup per quesadilla)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • optional: 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like things on the spicier side)

Directions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
  2. Add in the butternut squash and kale, saute until cooked through.
  3. Once the veggies have defrosted, add in all of your spices (salt through ground coriander; or through crushed red pepper flakes - if using). Cook for another 10 minutes until all of the ingredients have combined and the squash is slightly soft.
  4. Assemble your quesadilla! Take one whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle 1/8 cup of Mexican cheese on half of the tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the butternut squash/kale mixture, and top again with 1/8 cup of cheese.
  5. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and brown your quesadilla on both sides until slightly crispy.
  6. Let cool for a couple minutes after removing from the pan, then slice and serve.
http://pickyeaterblog.com/butternut-squash-and-kale-quesadillas/

Anjali Shah

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Rejane December 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I’ll try to make it. It seems delicious, simple and very nutritive!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Rejane!! It is super easy to make so I’m sure you will have no problem recreating it at home! 🙂 Enjoy!

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lynn @ the actor's diet December 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I love using frozen kale so much more than spinach!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Yess me too!! The texture is so much better! Frozen spinach can get mushy sometimes.

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Janhavi December 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hi Anjali,

It’s Janhavi! I love your blog! Anytime I am looking for a quick, healthy dinner recipe, this is my go-to resource! These quesadillas were delcious! I didn’t use frozen squash though… had no idea that squash takes so long to cook! Am I doing something wrong?

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Hi Janhavi!! Awww thanks so much!! It’s so great to hear from you! I hope you’re doing well 🙂 Ohhh so yeah – if you don’t use frozen squash it will take FOREVER to cook! Fresh butternut squash can take up to 30 minutes to cook – depending on how you cook it (e.g. 30ish minutes for roasting in the oven, 20ish minutes for cooking on the stovetop – less if you cover the pot – but then it won’t get caramelized as well). That’s another reason why I used the frozen squash in this recipe! So no, you probably didn’t do anything wrong — you just have to adjust the cooking time if you’re using fresh butternut squash. Hope that helps!

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Sharath December 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm

That looks very delicious. The looks really add to the appetite. Don’t they? 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thanks Sharath! And yes absolutely – you eat with your eyes first!

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eisha December 3, 2013 at 6:10 am

YAY!!!!! I cannot wait to try this squash recipe! This looks really yummy-licious! I have never tried frozen kale but love the taste of it! Thanks for always having healthy and creative recipes!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Eisha!! I’m sure you will love this recipe 🙂 And the best part is — the frozen kale, once it’s cooked, tastes just like fresh kale!

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Nina Aggarwal December 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

just letting you know we tried these- they are amazing!! Lol in true indian style i didn’t follow the spices proportion exactly as specified, but still turned out great! THe tortillas you recommended from trader joes are great, just the right texture. Now i’m hoping my kid will eat some tomorrow… here is hoping!! I was bummed our whole foods doesn’t carry the butternut squash you recommended, but i just microwaved the 365 brand organic with a little water for a few mins before sauteeing and it worked really well. Thank you!!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 8, 2013 at 12:28 am

Yayy!! I’m so happy to hear that Nina!! And yeahh – I love those tortillas from Trader Joe’s – I use them for everything! 🙂 Good tip for the butternut squash substitution too 🙂 Let me know how your kid likes it!!

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Olivia Gregory December 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Looks delicious, Anjali! Can’t wait to try it out. Butternut squash definitely seems to be the veggie of the month- all my favorite food blogs- including yours- have posted amazing recipes with it!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

Thanks Olivia!! I’m totally into butternut squash right now — it’s one of my favorite veggies of the season 🙂 You’ll have to let me know if you end up trying this recipe! Can’t wait to hear how you like it!

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Lauren January 4, 2014 at 7:22 am

This looks perfect for tonight.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 4, 2014 at 10:29 am

Great!! Keep me posted on how it turns out!

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jess January 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Made this tonight with the busband and we both loved it! Unique take on quesadillas, will def make again. congrats on the new addition!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Oh awesome!! I’m so glad you liked this recipe Jess! 🙂 And thanks for the well wishes!!

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Kristen July 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Hi Anjali! I stumbled across your blog this past weekend, and I want you to know that I am so excited about these recipes!! We tried this one tonight, and it was fantastic. I’m looking forward to trying the others. Thank you!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

Hi Kristen! Thanks so much – it’s so great to “meet” you!! And I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my recipes – thanks for letting me know! 🙂

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