When in the guts of Summer, when temperature highs are in the 90s (or 100s) and humidity is giving you a new hair-do, the real high points for me are AN OUTDOOR GRILL and OUTDOOR FARMERS MARKETS. This week browsing the New York City Stuyvesant Farmers Market with my friend Sarah, the real stars were pit fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums,) tomatoes, and zucchini. Nick and I stocked up on all of the above. Inspired by the gorgeous yellow and green zucchini, I set out to make a vegetarian main course using this versatile vegetable. Using what I had on hand (tortillas,) I decided to go for quesadillas. For added protein and fiber, I added lentils. The end result was so delicious. You should see this recipe less as a “recipe” and more as a template. You could easily substitute grilled eggplant or red/green peppers for the zucchini and your favorite cheese will work as long as it melts well. An important tip: be SURE to cook your veggies first. If you don’t, they’ll put out too much liquid and give you a tortilla mop–and not a crisp Summery bite.
Grilled Zucchini + Lentil Quesadillas
4 zucchini, green or yellow or both
8 medium-size flour tortillas
1 medium red onion
½ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced as thinly as possible
1 cup cooked and cooled lentils
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
salt + pepper
- Slice the zucchini in half horizontally. Then slice the halves vertically as thin as you can (approx. ¼ inch thick.) Spray both sides of the zucchini with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice the red onion in half, root to top. Slice the root and top ends off and discard. Peel the tough outer skin and discard. Slice the red onion into 8 wedges, root to top ends. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice jalapeno as thinly as possible and set aside (you will not be grilling the jalapeno.)
- Grill the zucchini and red onion on both sides, flipping once. You can do this in an indoor cast-iron grill pan or on an outdoor grill. Carefully watch your veggies so that they don’t slip through the grates! If you like, you can cook them on an outdoor veggie pan. Allow to cool.
- Place one tortilla on a cutting board or wide plate. Arrange cooked zucchini slices to cover the tortilla in one layer. Scatter a few cooked red onions on top. Cover with a single layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon ¼ cooked lentils on top of the cheese and scatter a few fresh jalapeno slices. Finally, top with second tortilla. Continue with all remaining ingredients as explained until all ingredients are used up. You will now have 4 quesadillas.
- Place quesadillas on a hot grill and CAREFULLY flip once. (I like to place the one-side cooked quesadilla on a plate and cover with another plate. Flip the plates over, with the quesadilla still inside. You can then slowly slide the uncooked side of the quesadilla onto the hot grill.) You’re looking for medium-dark brown grill marks and oozy cheese. Let rest on a cutting board for a minute or two and then slice into wedges. Serve with extra hot sauce or fresh chopped herbs.