Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

We all love quesadillas, and we could all use more leafy greens in our diet, so let’s add some shredded kale to our cheese and tortillas and call it a “kale”sadilla! This could even be a rather clever way to get your kids to eat more greens. Though it’s not exactly “sneaky” as you can clearly see the kale.

But think of it this way, shredded cabbage is often used in tacos, and kale is related to cabbage; they’re both of the brassica family. So, it’s not really a stretch. And these kale quesadillas are good! Especially with some red peppers, onions, cumin, and cheddar cheese.

By the way, this recipe is testament to the fact that when you think you’ve invented something incredibly clever it’s likely that someone else has already come up with The Exact Same Idea. And sometimes, even close to the same recipe.

My pun-loving sweetheart Guy came up with the idea for a kalesadilla the other day when I told him I wanted to play with kale recipes. Kale tastes great with red bell pepper and with cheddar cheese, so that was my plan for the quesadilla. When I later did a Google search to see if what we had come up with was truly original, to my surprise, it was not!

Kudos to Rachel Brathen and her “kale”sadillas. Check out her recipe with a slightly different method for quesadillas with kale, red bell peppers, and cheddar cheese.


“Kale”sadilla Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Make 2 kalesadillas

Corn would also be a good addition to this quesadilla. If you have some corn in your freezer, just toss a few kernels in with the pepper and onion sauté.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced kale (remove center rib from kale before slicing)
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter
  • 3/4 cup of grated mild cheddar
  • 2 flour tortillas (use corn tortillas for gluten-free version)


kalesadilla-1 kalesadilla-2

1 Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and red onion, cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with ground cumin. Add the thinly sliced kale and toss to combine. Cook a minute more on medium high, then lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for a couple more minutes until kales is cooked through and softened, remove from heat.


2 Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high to high heat. Spread a little butter over the bottom of the pan. Place a flour tortilla in the pan and heat until you see bubbles of air pockets starting to form. Then flip the tortilla over and lower the heat to medium.

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3 Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Place a couple scoops of the kale pepper onion mixture on one side of the tortilla. Fold the other side of the tortilla over the side with the kale. Press down with a spatula. When the cheese on one side has melted, flip the tortilla over to the other side. When the cheese on that side has melted, remove to a cutting board and repeat with the other tortilla and the remaining cheese and filling.


4 Cut the "kale"sadilla into thirds and serve.

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Kale Quesadillas from Rachel Brathen


Showing 4 of 13 Comments

  • EK

    How does this do reheating? I’m helping my vegetarian friend with meals and can’t deliver on the day she needs it. Can I make this ahead of time, freeze it or keep in fridge, and she can reheat on the day? If it reheats well, would you mind sharing instruction? Thank you so much!

  • threeks

    Delicious and easy! I added 1/4 c of chick peas, a sprinkle of turmeric and only 1 oz of cheddar. Before adding my changes I thought it was good too but I just wanted to make a healthier meal out of it. Thank you, keep ’em coming!

  • Jarod

    This was great! I actually added mushrooms to mine and the first one I cooked using butter and it was a little greasier than I wanted so when it was time to make the second I just used cooking spray and it was better. I will definitely be making it again and filling it with even more fresh goodies!

  • Jo-Anne Sutherland

    Hi, I made this tonight for dinner along with a tossed salad and it made a lovely dinner. Instead of the cheddar cheese, I used Daiya cheddar because it my son is a Vegan. I thought about also using spinach next time. The “Kale”saldilla is a good idea for a quick dinner and so nutritious too! Thanks for this.

  • T.

    I changed up recipe a little and used baby kale in a bag from Trader Joes because I am too lazy to cut the thick stalks from the kale. I also used wheat tortillas without the butter. Awesome recipe though, thank you so much for the great idea!

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