Kale meets cheese in a corn tortilla

Scott takes Luca to Cub Scouts a few times a month, so Alia and I fend for ourselves at dinnertime. Sometimes, I heat up leftovers for her and grab a handful of peanuts for myself. I think I am missing an opportunity for some one-on-one time with our quickly growing imp. So, I decided we would sit down and eat dinner just the two of us. While Alia rambled on about our cats, the birthday cards she made for Scott (Happy Birthday, Scott!), Flat Stanleyand James’ return to daycare, we ate Spanish rice leftover from Sunday night along with quesadillas stuffed with kale and cheese.

Some nights, planning dinner is like a segment of “Use It Up” on Everyday Food on Martha Stewart Living radio (Not sure if it is on any more. We cancelled our Sirius). Listeners called in with random ingredients and Sandy Gluck gave them recipe ideas. I had a bunch of kale that was starting to go south in the fridge. There was also some Greek feta and shredded mozzarella I always keep on hand . . . and a package of corn tortillas I bought for tempeh tacos. I had this recipe pinned on Pinterest.

The topic of kale came up a few months ago at a party. A friend asked a group of well-seasoned home cooks how we worked kale into our diets. Then, and over the course of a few months, we had so many suggestions we could have written a kale cookbook – kale and potato Spanish tortilla, kale and potato enchiladas, kale lasagna, kale and ricotta stuffed shells, sweet potato kale pizza, kale and feta egg bake . . . and how about kale pesto? I could go on, but I think you can see that kale is very versatile. Use it much like you use spinach – even in salads. It is a much sturdier green, which I appreciate. Spinach can break down into slimy goop so easily. Kale has a backbone and keeps it shape and some of its texture. Here is another recipe to add to the kale cookbook.


adapted from Serious Eats (makes about 9)

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 cup minced red onion

3/4 pound curly kale, chopped (You can also use the flatter lacinto variety . . . what ever is available)

1/2 teaspoon salt (Start out with a scant 1/2 teaspoon and add more if needed. The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon and that was a bit too much. The amount of salt depends on the saltiness of the feta you use.)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes or to taste

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cup diced feta cheese

9-12 corn tortillas

1 cup shredded mozzarella (I keep a bag of Kraft shredded mozzarella in the fridge ever since Cook’s Illustrated gave it a decent rating in a taste test. It is not organic, gourmet cheese, but it tastes pretty good and keeps well.)

In large (12-inch) skillet (I use cast iron), heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add chopped kale with any water clinging to leaves, along with salt, chile flakes, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until greens are tender, about 10 minutes. Add water as necessary to keep skillet from drying out.

When greens are cooked, stir in feta and remove from heat. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet. Resist the urge to eat all the filling before it makes it into the tortillas.

In the same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, using a spatula to spread evenly on surface. Add as many tortillas as will fit and cook on one side until softened, 2-3 minutes. Flip, then spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto tortillas. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of mozzarella on top of the filling. Use a spatula to fold tortillas in half.

Cook until tortillas are golden and cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes per side. If necessary, keep cooked quesadillas in warm oven until all are cooked. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Serve immediately.

I served with leftover Spanish rice.


Me:  A

Alia: D (She ate it but with much prodding.)


3 responses

  1. Yum. I love kale and it is one of the healthiest veggies around, as you know. I haven’t tried this but will for sure. In the past week i have totally enjoyed pureed butternut squash and kale soup, and brussel sprouts and kale salad. Can’t have kale too many ways!

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