Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Have you ever eaten squash blossoms? The thought of preparing them always seemed a little daunting to me, until a friend made some for me for a traditional Mexican quesadilla (Quesadilla de Flor de Calabazas). They’re so easy! You just roughly chop them and sauté them with onions and garlic. The flavor is lovely, like zucchini but more delicate, and perfect in a quesadilla with cheese and corn tortillas.

Finding squash blossoms for sale is another thing. They are used in Mexican and Italian cuisine, so if you have farmers markets that cater to those populations, you’ll have more luck finding them. Here they are very inexpensive. I bought about 30 blossoms for about $3 at our local farmers market. They are only available in the summer, when zucchini and summer squash are in season.

Squash Blossoms

If you are a gardener who grows zucchini or other summer squash, you’ll have no problem sourcing them. Just pick the male flowers (the pollinators), not the female flowers that bear the squash. (Leave a few male flowers to do their pollinating work.) You can pretty easily tell the difference between them—the male blossoms grow closer to the base of the stem and if you peek inside they have a long stamen with pollen. The female flowers are a bit more swollen at the base, which will grow into a squash if pollinated.

Do you have a favorite way of preparing squash blossoms? If so, please let us know about it in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Squash Blossom Quesadillas Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Traditionally a small sprig of epazote (a Mexican herb) is placed in each quesadilla with the squash blossoms. You can also lay a strip or two of roasted poblano chile in the quesadilla.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 30 summer squash blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 12 white corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces Oaxaca cheese (a Mexican string cheese) or Monterey jack cheese, sliced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Method

cut stems off squash blossoms coarsely chop squash blossoms

1 Prepare the squash blossoms. Check the insides of the blossoms for bugs (especially if you've picked the squash blossoms from your garden), rinse out if you find any or if the blossoms are dusty. Otherwise there should be no need to wash. Cut away the stems. Roughly chop the blossoms, stamens and all.

saute onions saute squash blossoms with onions

2 Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté  for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the squash blossoms and toss to coat with the garlic and onions. Cook for a minute or two more, until the blossoms are just wilted. Remove from heat.

squash-blossom-quesadillas-5 top cheese with sautéed squash blossoms

3 Heat a large cast iron pan or a large relatively stick-free skillet on medium heat. Rub a little butter in the pan (just enough to give the tortillas a little flavor). Place a corn tortilla in the pan and heat on both sides for half a minute or so, until bubbles begin to form in the tortilla. Place a slice or two of the cheese on one side of the tortilla. Top with a tablespoon or two of the squash blossom mixture. Use a spatula to fold the other side of the tortilla over the side with the cheese and squash blossoms. Press down with a spatula. Cook until the cheese has melted and the tortilla lightly browned.

fold tortilla over start a new tortilla in the pan

While the quesadilla is cooking, if your pan is large enough, you can start heating another tortilla in the pan.

4 When the cheese has melted, remove the quesadilla from the pan and continue to make the remaining quesadillas in the same manner. To serve, cut each quesadilla into triangles and serve with salsa, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, black beans, Mexican queso crema (or diluted sour cream)

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Links:

Fried squash blossoms from The Kitchn

A hat, a skirt and some squash blossoms from Lisa Fain the Homesick Texan

Zucchini blossom fritters from The Parsley Thief

More squash blossom recipe ideas on Food Blog Search

Squash Blossom Quesadillas

17 Comments

  1. kt

    Fyi, they are also lovely in Orangette’s pasta no pomodoro recipe and as a topping on pizza. Keep the rest of the pizza simple, just olive oil, cheese, and for heat-seekers, a bit of finely chopped habanero, which also looks lovely with the color of the blossoms.

  2. Librarian Lavender

    It’s great to see such a great recipe with squash blossoms, I love them !

  3. serena

    I’m so so happy you uploaded this recipe! My mom is italian and she would always get zucchini flowers from our French neighbors next door, then batter them and fry them up. They were so good! I have been craving fried zucchini flowers all summer but everyone looks at me crazy when I say they are totally edible. Anyway, now I have another recipe to use that doesn’t involve frying! Thank you so much!!

  4. Mary Frances

    Squash blossoms are such a great addition to Mexican dishes, and I love that these quesadillas are so simple and made without a lot of oil or frying!

  5. Kim

    I’ve always heard you’re supposed to remove the stamens. I love squash blossoms, but removing them is my least favorite part of preparing them!

    They’re great stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried. I also love them in simple soups and pastas.

    • Elise

      There’s no need to remove them, unless you are hunting for bugs and find them there, or unless you want to make them easier to stuff. It’s all edible, and good!

  6. Dawn

    I have eaten these in southern France, stuffed with risotto-style rice mixed with diced tomato, zucchini, herbs and goat cheese. They loaded the blossoms with the cooked rice mixture, then baked them to warm them through, melt the cheese and cook the flowers. Delicious, fragrant and fresh! Must be difficult to load the mix into the flowers – I think I would try a piping bag with a very wide nozzle.

    • Dawn

      Hmm, that wasn’t written very clearly! I meant that I had eaten stuffed squash blossoms in France, not stuffed quesadillas! Fleurs de courgettes farcies – very yummy :)

  7. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    I love this idea. I’m always a bit intimidated by the idea of stuffing and frying blossoms. They seem so delicate! But I can totally handle stuffing them into a quesadilla! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I’m not sure where to buy them but I’ll try.

  9. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Such a great, creative recipe!

  10. Kate @¡Hola! Jalapeño

    This is such a coincidence, I just worked up the nerve yesterday to go and pick some blossoms off my zucchini and pumpkin plants. I was always so afraid I’d ruin the crop because I didn’t understand which ones to pick but thanks to the internets I figured it out and made a pizza with them. Up next….these quesadillas, yum!

  11. Steve

    What market(s) in Sac are they at? I frequent the one under the freeway and randomly hit up others, but have never seen them at any of the ones I go to.

    On another note, I had previously asked where along the river you find blackberries, and I finally found some spots this year. Over by Sac State there is a dirt path that they are just overflowing on. I found it by accident due to thinking I was really smart and would find a better way around some levee construction. I was wrong, but there were awesome blackberry bushes!

    • Elise

      Hi Steve, I found them at the Sunday market under the bridge last Sunday, at a couple of stands. You also might be able to get them at La Superior, the Mexican market in South Sac. Thanks for the tip on blackberry bushes at Sac State. It helps to find a patch that hasn’t already been completely worked over!

  12. suzanne

    I have lots of squash blossoms (and zucchini) so I am delighted to find a recipe that doesn’t require frying in a batter. Thanks.

  13. Jenny @ The Peachy Pair

    I might have to hunt these down! Lot’s of Hispanic markets here in Atlanta. I am sure I could find them!

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