Kimchi Avocado Quesadilla

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What’s your go-to 15-minute make-it-from-what’s-in-the-fridge recipe? Mine is a quesadilla. Any kind of quesadilla. You’ll always find tortillas and cheese in my fridge. It’s my PB&J.

The great thing about quesadillas? They’re so easy to dress up! Whether it’s with chicken and apples, mushrooms, green chiles, or in this case, kimchi—spicy Korean pickled cabbage.

A friend of mine mentioned recently that she had had a terrific kimchi quesadilla at a local eatery, and I thought, what a great idea, why not? I found a few references online, including Roy Choi’s version of Kogi BBQ truck fame.

Kimchi Avocado Quesadillas

Wow, what a perfect combo! The spicy pickled cabbage goes great with buttery toasted flour tortillas and melted cheese.

I added avocado slices, because quesadillas are always better with avocados, some chopped parsley to brighten the flavors, and a splash of lime juice for the same reason.

So good!

Kimchi Avocado Quesadilla Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup cabbage kimchi, drained and chopped
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack and/or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
  • A dash of lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Method

1 Sauté the kimchi: Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter in a cast iron (or other relatively stick-free) pan on medium high heat. Add the kimchi and spread out in an even layer over the pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, flipping half way. Remove from pan.

kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-1

2 Heat the flour tortilla: Add half of the remaining butter to the pan and swirl it around on the bottom. Add one of the flour tortillas and flip it to coat both sides with a little butter.

kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-2

The let it heat in the pan to the point that you see a few bubbles welling up in the center of the tortilla.

3 Add cheese and kimchi: Add half of the grated cheese and half of the sautéd kimchi.

kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-8 kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-9

Fold the tortilla over (like an omelette) with a metal spatula. Press down with the spatula. After about 30 seconds or so, flip to the other side. The flour tortilla should be nicely browned.

When the cheese has clearly melted remove from pan and repeat with the other tortilla and the remaining cheese and kimchi.

4 Add avocado, lime juice, parsley: Open up the quesadilla and lay slices of avocado over the kimchi. Sprinkle with a little lime juice and chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Fold the quesadilla over again.

kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-6 kimchi-avocado-quesadillas-method-7

5 Cut into wedges to serve.

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Links:

David Lebovitz kimchi recipe

Kimchi recipe, delicious techniques from Marc of NoRecipes.com

Roy Choi's Kimchi Quesadillas on Serious Eats

Kimchi Avocado Quesadillas

7 Comments

  1. Susan

    Oh yeah, we have avocado quesadillas at least once a week around here, adding other things like chicken or shredded zucchini. Kimchi is brilliant!

  2. Bebe

    Yikes! Was thinking about making my own kimchi. Looked at David Lebovich’s recipe at your link. Even a half recipe would be too much to use up in the recommended 3 weeks. (It keeps on fermenting until it is not good.). Either the world’s smallest Chinese cabbage or a bottle of good commercial kimchi appears to be in my future.

  3. Laura

    We just had kimchi on eggs-in-a-frame last night! And I agree; it’s unexpectedly good with cheese.

  4. donutty

    Our family loves kimchi quesadillas. Cooking the kimchi with butter like you did here, Elise, or with some pork/pork belly the way my mom did mellows out the flavor of the kimchi and makes it a great quesadilla filling or the beginnings of a delicious fried rice too. I need to credit Joanne Choi of Weekofmenus for first giving me the idea. http://weekofmenus.blogspot.com/2009/09/kimchee-quesadillas-another-one-that.html

  5. Bebe

    I always put avocado on quesadillas. (We eat at least 1/2 an avocado each day. So good!) Have never eaten kimchi, but this sounds very good. Chicken would be a terrific addition, Laura.

    This week we had two separate quesadilla lunches, using up leftovers from restaurant fajitas. Meats and sauteed peppers and onions on a cheese-covered flour tortilla. Avocado was the perfect fresh addition. And some chunky salsa. And sour cream on top.

    Yum.

    Trader Joe’s has wonderful flour tortillas – big ones, perfect for quesadillas. So flakey when used for quesadillas.

    Thanks for a new idea!

  6. Kate | HappyForks.com

    This is actually great idea how to smuggle kimchi into a family meal! I am a huge fan of kimchi, and knowing that it is natural probiotic contributing health benefits in a similar way as yogurt as a dairy probiotic I keep trying to introduce it to my family diet, but usually they leave it on the plate if I offer it separately.

  7. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    These dillas just popped up on my Facebook feed last night making me very hungry! You know, I have never put an avocado on a dilla before and I have no clue why. But it’s the cabbage that really surprised me. Think I might throw a bit of chicken on these but they look better than a Food Truck dinner and that’s the highest compliment I can pay, Ha.

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