Photos by Suech and Beck

My family’s fall-back weeknight meal is quesadillas. I keep tortillas in the freezer and there is always cheese in the fridge, so even when we are time-strapped and the pantry is almost bare, we can have a humble but satisfying meal. One day while grating the cheese for a round of quesadillas, I also grated a small zucchini into the mix, and they turned out better than ever. The zucchini offers a hit of nutrients and fiber without any sacrifice to the flavor or appearance. These are great on their own, served with salsa, or alongside a soup like split pea, butternut and bacon soup.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ready In: about 15 minutes


  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ¼ teaspoon salt Canola oil
  • 8 small soft tortillas
  • ½ small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese for serving 
  • Fresh tomato and corn salsa or store-bought salsa
  • Sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Place in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Give it a little toss to mix in the salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze as much of the liquid out of the zucchini as possible.
  3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with a tiny bit of canola oil, then place a tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the onion and one-quarter of the squeezed zucchini (fluff up the zucchini a bit to get better coverage). Sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup of each cheese. Top with another tortilla and press down with a spatula. Cook 1 minute or until the bottom is golden, then flip and cook another 1 minute or so. Transfer the completed quesadilla to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven for up to 15 minutes.
  4. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with fresh tomato and corn salsa and sour cream.

Switch It Up: Add anything you like. I love adding black beans, shredded cooked chicken or beef, grilled sweet peppers or hot sauce.

Reprinted with permission from Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited