Sunday, June 03, 2012

Recipe for Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce

Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce
Quesadillas with baby kale and mozzarella, served with a spicy Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce.

Some of you guys who haven't yet joined the Baby Kale Fan Club might think I've gone a little too far with this recipe for Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce.  It was just an idea that popped into my head when baby kale had been on sale and I had an abundance of it in my fridge, and when Jake and I were making the first quesadilla I wasn't sure it was going to be anything special.  But oh my, the quesadillas were so amazingly good with the dipping sauce.  I don't know if this is something you could get a green-veggie phobic kid to eat, but it would certainly be easy enough to make a plain cheese quesadilla for the kids if you made this for a family dinner.  And if the adults in the family like leafy greens, I promise this will be a hit!

We used whole wheat tortillas and a minimal amount of relatively low-fat cheese to make these as healthy as possible, but you do need to use enough cheese to get the quesadillas to stick together.  The good news is that each of the 2 quesadillas we made had 2.5 ounces of wilted kale, so this is a good way to get a nice serving of nutritionally dense kale in a dish where you're not expecting it.  And I do think these Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas are a perfect Meatless Monday dish for a quick lunch or easy dinner.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

Before you make the quesadillas, mix together light Ranch dressing and Sriracha to make the dipping sauce.  Yes, I was lazy and mixed it with the measuring spoon.

Heat a heavy nonstick pan, brush with a tiny amount of olive oil and add the kale all at once.

Turn the kale over as it wilts, and when all the kale has wilted slightly like this, turn off the heat.  (This will only take a minute or so.)

We used these 8 inch soft taco tortillas for our quesadillas, but 10 inch ones would also work.

Once you've wilted the kale, heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, lay a tortilla in the pan and barely cover the surface with grated mozzarella.  (You're putting more cheese on the second side, so go easy on it here.  

Spread half the wilted kale over the cheese and top it with another scant layer of grated cheese.

Then put your second tortilla on top of the cheese.  (Yes, I could have found a tortilla that was a little closer in size, but it worked.)  Use the turner to press down on the top of the quesadilla as soon as the cheese starts to melt, and when it's melted enough that the tortillas are stuck together, turn to the second side.  Cooking time will depend on how hot your stove gets on medium, but for us it it was about 4 minutes total cooking time, turning the quesadilla a couple of times.

When both sides are nicely browned and the cheese is all melted, remove from pan and use a long knife to cut the quesadilla into four sections.  Serve with Sriracha-Ranch dipping sauce.

Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce
(Makes 2 quesadillas; recipe created by Kalyn.)

5 oz. package Baby kale (or you can use 5 oz. thinly sliced kale leaves)
1/2 tsp. olive oil (for brushing pan when you wilt the kale)
4 flour tortillas (8 inch or 10 inch size)
3/4 cup grated low-fat mozzarella (or slightly more if you like a lot of cheese; I used a low-fat mozzarella blend with 6 grams of fat in 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup light Ranch dressing
1-2 tsp. Sriracha sauce (to taste, we thought 1 tsp. was hot enough)

Before you make the quesadillas, mix together the Ranch Dressing and Sriracha to taste to make the dipping sauce.  (I make my own light Ranch, and I confess I usually use a package mix with half buttermilk and half mayo and fat-free Greek yogurt mixed.) 

Brush a large nonstick pan with the olive heat, heat the pan, and add the kale all at once.  Turn kale until it's all wilted and the turn off the heat.  (This only takes about a minute.)  

Turn the heat to medium under a second non-stick pan, lay a tortilla in the pan, and sprinkle on barely enough cheese to sparsely cover the surface of the tortilla.  (You're adding more cheese, so don't over-do it.)  Spread half the wilted kale over the cheese and sprinkle another sparse layer of cheese over the kale.  Lay the second tortilla on top of the cheese.

Use a large turner to press down on the quesadilla until the cheese starts to melt and sticks the tortillas together.  Then turn the quesadilla and continue to cook until it's nicely browned on both sides and the cheese is all melted.  (I usually turn it a couple of times so I can see how both sides are browning.  Total cooking time for me was about 4 minutes, but it will depend on how hot your stove gets on medium.)  When the quesadilla is done, remove from the pan, use a long knife to cut it into fourths, and serve hot with the Sriracha-Ranch dipping sauce.

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South Beach Suggestions:
If you use 100% whole wheat tortillas, a moderate amount of low-fat cheese, and light dressing, these Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas would be a nice lunch option or light dinner for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Meatless Ideas with Tortillas:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Egg Salad and Cheese Quesadillas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy Guacamole Tostadas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mediterranean Tostada with Hummus, Feta, and Kalamata Olives from Kalyn's Kitchen
Seven Layer Tostadas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quesadilla Pie from Simply Recipes
Heart Black Bean Quesadillas from Budget Bytes
Cara's Spinach-Pie Quesadillas from The Kitchn
Rainbow Chard Tortilla Pizza from Aggie's Kitchen
Jalapeno and Lime Marinated Kale Tostada from Not Without Salt
Grilled Tofu and Pepper Vegetarian Tacos from Herbivoracious
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. What a fun idea! I'll dip anything in a Sriracha dipping sauce. I still haven't had any luck finding baby kale, so I guess a trip to Costco in Boston is in order. I love all of the recipes you're sharing that use it.

  2. I have become a kale convert in the last few years - and your blog is one of the main reasons. Now, I'm going on a quest to find baby kale!

  3. Sounds/looks like a great idea, Kalyn. Now I just need some of your baby kale. ;-) Easy to make this recipe gluten free, too. :-)


  4. I really don't think there's any such thing as going too far when it comes to baby's kind of the best. Ever. LOVE these quesadillas! I always seem to have tortillas in the fridge lately...and baby kale, too. Perfect!

  5. I'm so glad to hear that some of my fellow kale fans don't think I've gone off my rocker with this!

  6. Such a simple yet fantastic recipe! I love Sriracha hot sauce, I am so going to make this!!

  7. Shawn, the dipping sauce made it so good!

  8. I love to make a sriracha mayo but I've never mixed into it ranch, love the idea! It's all about the sauce!!

  9. Kelley, indeed. I'm kind of a sauce-aholic!

  10. If I can't find any baby kale, I wonder if some chopped regular curly kale could work in this? What do you think?

  11. Ha--kale and mozzarella is one of my favorite quesadilla combinations! I like it best with quinoa for some crunch. I can't say I've tried them withe sriracha, though--I guess I have a new sauce on my list. :)

  12. LunaTechChick, I did say in the recipe that you can substitute 5 oz. thinly sliced kale leaves. You might have to saute it a tiny bit longer to wilt the kale.

    Eileen, must be one of those "great minds think alike" things, wouldn't you say?

  13. This is excellent! Mouthwatering recipe!

  14. totally making this. and kalyn, dont feel bad about the mis-matched tortilla. they shrink up when they cook, thats why the first one was smaller!

  15. Thanks Alida!

    AB, I am going to tell myself that anyway!

  16. I can see myself using that sriracha-ranch dipping sauce for all kinds of veggies and sandwiches. Baby kale is a gem!

  17. I have got to find me some of that baby kale... these are great made on a grill to serve as an appetizer while cooking up the main courses.

    Great post, Thanks for sharing

  18. First of all, your baby kale is absolutely beautiful - I don't think you're taking it too far! I love the idea of "hiding" the kale in cheese quesadillas--even though I'd gladly eat kale on its own, too.

  19. Kayln I love kale, especially baby kale. And the recipe sounds divine!I think I might need to dip all my food in the Srirach Ranch dipping sauce. :)

  20. Thanks Karista! And so fun meeting you at BlogHerFood!

  21. I like the sound of using kale in quesadillas like this and you cannot go wrong with a spicy dipping sauce!

  22. This recipe looks fantastic! I am actually hosting a kale linky party at as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!


  23. Meghan, thanks for thinking of me. I just don't have time to do those kinds of events any more, but you are always welcome to add one of my recipes.

  24. I've never noticed baby kale, I'm guessing it is more tender than grown kale. I'm definitely going to look for it!

  25. Kari, I think it's a pretty new product; I just started finding it here. In Utah I find it at Fresh Market.


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