Broccoli and Cheddar Quesadillas

Welcome to Eat Your Food! It's our recipe column with real meals for real kids. This broccoli and cheddar quesadilla may just make a believer out of your kids—and the spicy pico de gallo keeps it interesting for adventurous kids and adults alike.

Quesadillas with Cheddar and Broccoli
Nick Evans

Broccoli is a stereotypical "difficult food" for kiddos, but I have to admit that my three-year old actually loves broccoli and will eat it most days.

This may or may not have to do with the fact that I told him that LeBron James eats A LOT of broccoli. (I don’t know if this is true or not. Lies are fine at the dinner table, people.)

Cheddar Quesadillas with Broccoli blanch and chop the broccoli
Nick Evans

Despite the fact that I just told you lies at the dinner table are okay (in the name of good nutrition—let me clarify!), I tend to not love recipes that “sneak” veggies into other things. I like my kids to know they are eating veggies and learn, instead, through constant exposure and hounding, to love them.

It’s sort of working.

So, while I tell my kids these are “Trees and Cheese” quesadillas, they don’t hide anything. They are stuffed full of blanched broccoli and cheddar cheese. I do recommend chopping the broccoli pretty finely so it mixes in with the cheese and there are no huge bites of veggies. That just makes it easier for little mouths to eat these quesadillas.

Cheddar Quesadillas with Broccoli
Nick Evans

The Dad Add: Pico de Gallo

To kick these quesadillas up a notch for the adults, I like to mince up a quick, fresh pico de gallo. It's spicy and bright, and cuts through the trees and cheese. The other easy Dad Add here would be hot sauce, obviously, but this pico is only a little extra work for a lot of extra texture and flavor. It makes the quesadilla a full meal for me.

Bonus points if you can get your kiddos to try the pico on a corner of quesadilla or a spare tortilla chip!

The Kid Report Card

I served these Trees and Cheese Quesadillas to my 3 1/2-year old boy and my 19-month old daughter.

My son, the usual broccoli lover, ate one segment, said it was good, and then had to go attend to his fire truck. So it goes.

My daughter ate exactly zero bites of the quesadilla, but did eat all of the avocado and painted the sour cream on the table in the shape of the letter F. She doesn’t know her letters yet . . . or does she?! She hates any food right now that isn’t dairy or fruit, so this is about right.

More Quesadilla Recipes to Try

Broccoli and Cheddar Quesadillas

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

We suspect you can prepare this with frozen broccoli, but we haven't tried it and we offer this caveat: Make sure you gently squeeze as much water out of the broccoli as possible once it's defrosted, and blot it with paper towels or a clean dish towel.


For the quesadilla:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 12 ounces grated cheddar cheese (about 4 loosely-packed cups)

  • 4 large 12-inch flour tortillas

  • Vegetable oil, for tortillas

  • 1 medium avocado, sliced thin or chopped for serving

  • Sour cream, for serving

DAD ADD: Quick Spicy Pico de Gallo

  • 1/2 red onion, minced

  • 1 ripe tomato, minced

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

  • Fresh lime juice

  • Pinch kosher salt


  1. Blanch and chop the broccoli:

    Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch until it’s bright green and fork tender, about 3 minutes. Then drain the broccoli, let it cool slightly and chop it finely.

    Cheddar Quesadillas with Broccoli blanch and chop the broccoli
    Nick Evans
  2. Make the pico de gallo:

    If you’re using the Dad Add, now would be a good time to chop that stuff up (highly recommended). Combine the minced ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

    Quesadilla Recipe with Cheddar make the pico
    Nick Evans
  3. Preheat the skillet:

    Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat.

    If you haven't already grated your cheese, do it now.

  4. Assemble and cook the quesadillas:

    Brush one tortilla lightly with vegetable oil on one side and add it to the warmed skillet, oiled side down. Sprinkle a loosely packed cup of grated cheese (about 3 ounces) on one half of the tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli.

    Fold the tortilla over to cover the filling and form a half-circle. Cook the quesadilla for about 3 minutes per side until it’s crispy and the cheese is melted.

    Repeat with making the other quesadillas. (Though if you’re good—and your skillet is large enough—you can make two at a time in the same skillet!)

    Quesadilla Recipe with Broccoli assemble the quesadillas
    Nick Evans
    Quesadilla Recipe with Cheddar cook the quesadillas
    Nick Evans
  5. Serve the quesadillas:

    Cut the quesadillas into triangular segments, and serve with sour cream, avocado, and the spicy pico!

    Cheddar Quesadillas with Broccoli serve the quesadillas
    Nick Evans
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1248 Calories
62g Fat
136g Carbs
42g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1248
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 62g 79%
Saturated Fat 22g 111%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 1561mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 136g 50%
Dietary Fiber 19g 66%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 95mg 473%
Calcium 755mg 58%
Iron 8mg 46%
Potassium 1471mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.