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Tips & Hints/ Vegetarian Recipes

Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas + Using Cast Iron Cookware

Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas

Broccoli Quinoa QuesadillasQuinoa can be a tough sell, but these Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas are sure to please even the pickiest eaters! This is a perfect recipe for Meatless Monday.

Cast Iron Cookware

Back when I first started cooking, I didn’t know that there was such a thing as non-non-stick cookware. (Stick cookware?) Non-stick cookware made for easy clean-up! It let you use less oil and butter in your cooking! It was pretty much the best invention ever, right?

And then suddenly you started hearing bad things about non-stick cookware. Although they say it’s perfectly safe to use as long as it’s not scratched, my cookware was constantly scratching. It made me kind of uneasy, so I decided to switch out my non-stick pots and pans for cast iron. Since cast iron tends to be a little bit pricier, it’s been an ongoing process, one that began before I even started blogging. As my old pots and pans wore out, I replaced them with new cast iron versions, usually scouring discount stores and the Le Creuset outlet for good deals. I’ve finally replaced my last few pieces with cast iron and I’ve learned a few things along the way:

Quinoa in Le Creuset Pan

Cast Iron Is Expensive (In the Short Term)

The biggest hurdle for me in switching to cast iron was the cost. But if you’re replacing your non-stick cookware every few years like I was, in the long-run, cast iron ends up being cheaper because when cared for properly, it should never need to be replaced.

Cast Iron Cooks Differently

When I first started using cast iron, I was burning a whole mess of food. I felt frustrated and wondered if maybe I made the wrong decision. Well, I should have read the little booklet that came with my cookware—cast iron retains heat better than other cookware, so you need to keep the temperature a little bit lower than you would with your non-stick cookware.

Quinoa Quesadilla Filling

Cast Iron Cleans Differently Too

Enamel cast iron, like Le Creuset, can be washed with soap and water just like other kinds of cookware. Black enamel can be either rinsed in hot water or cleaned with soap; with use, it will develop a patina, which looks a little bit like rust, but it actually helps keep food from sticking. Regular, non-enamel cast iron skillets should be rinsed with hot water or scrubbed with coarse salt; once dry, the skillet should be coated with a thin layer of cooking oil. This takes some getting used to—I still have a nagging feeling that my cast iron skillet isn’t clean after I use it. For this reason, I prefer using enamel cast iron.

Cast Iron Is Super Convenient (Really!)

My absolute favorite thing about cast iron cookware is that it goes from stove to oven. When I make mac & cheese, instead of transferring it to a casserole dish, I can just leave it in the pot, top it with breadcrumbs and cheese, and pop it in the oven to bake. You can even use cast iron Dutch ovens to bake cakes and breads.

Quesadillas in Le Creuset Skillet
I used to make quesadillas on my panini maker, but after a few mishaps where more cheese ended up on the grill than in the tortilla, I’ve started making them in my enamel cast iron skillet instead. I use just a little bit of oil to get them perfectly crispy on the outside. These Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas are a simple, kid-friendly meal, ready in under 30 minutes.

Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas Recipe

Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas

Quinoa can be a tough sell, but adding it to cheesy quesadillas is sure to win over even the pickiest eaters!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 quesadillas


  • 1/4 cup quinoa cooked in vegetable broth according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup frozen broccoli thawed and chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 4 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 tsp olive oil


  • Combine quinoa, broccoli, and cheese in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide mixture evenly onto one half of each tortilla; fold top of tortilla onto filling.
  • Heat one teaspoon of oil in a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat.
  • Place 2 quesadillas in skillet and cook until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Add another teaspoon of oil to skillet and repeat with remaining quesadillas.
  • Cut into wedges and serve.
Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks!

Disclaimer: Although I bought almost all of my cast iron cookware myself, Le Creuset sent me a few pieces to finish out my set. This had no influence on my opinion of their products–I have used them for years!

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  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    If I make these and cut then into wedges, do you think that I can then freeze the wedges? This seems like a good, easy dish for a friend of mine who is a new mom. Would you saran wrap the wedges individually and then put them in a ziploc bag? I’m not very knowledgable when it comes to freezing food. Thanks for the recipe and for your advice on freezing them!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      I haven’t frozen these particular quesadillas before, BUT I’ve frozen other quesadillas and it works just fine. So I can’t promise that this exact recipe would work, but I’m pretty sure it would. 🙂 You’ll want to assemble them, then wrap them in a layer of saran wrap and pop them in a freezer bag instead of cooking them. Thaw them in the fridge or in the microwave, then cook them in a skillet. As long as they’re thawed when you cook them, the centers should be warmed through and the tortillas should get crispy just like if they weren’t frozen.

  • Reply
    Shelby Martin
    August 29, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Hi! I was wondering what brand of whole wheat tortillas you use? Those look wonderful!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      I think I bought these from Trader Joe’s. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Hi, love your blog and this recipe, thank you! I just wanted to make a comment about cast iron…I’m hooked on them too! But, I have my grandmothers huge cast iron frying pan, and ive always treated it the way I saw her and my mom clean them and have never had an issue…I always think it sounds U cleanly and unhealthy to oil the cast iron after washing to store it, serious eww! So, my hand me down (or heirloom?) cast iron are gosh 50+ years old and have been used almost daily. We add oil to the pan to cook, as you would, but when it came time to clean (I come from a large family that didn’t have lots of cash), the women didn’t have time to treat their dishes any different…so our cast iron sat on the stove top while the rest of the dishes were washed, then when it was their turn, they were placed in the dish water and washed like any other item. The difference came with drying…the stove was turned on (gas fire) and the towl dried pan was immediately placed on the burner, set on a pretty high flame, and the pan was heated to very hot until every drop of moisture was evaporated. Then the burner was turned off and the pan was left to cool before being put away. In my grandmothers house, it lived on the back burner, but Mom always stored it in the cupboard. It never rusted, it never made us sick, it never did anything unusual, and it was never greasy. My cast iron still looks as good as when my grandmother had it. My grandfather had a small cast iron skillet he used when hunting and fishing and was gone over night…he treated the cast iron the same way, washed in soap and water, dried on the fire. But when they bought their cast iron, they made sure to season the pan properly before being used. They used lard or any rendered animal fat and heated it in the pan for quite awhile. Gram said the first time she let the fat go cold and then scraped it out. The next day she added fresh fat, heated it, then lturned it off and let it go cold, left it sitting in the pan over night before taking it out and washing the pan in soap and wTer and drying on the fire. She then began cooking with it, daily, washing and drying in her normal way, but after cooking, in the evening, she would melt a bit of fat, just a few tablespoons and would heat it, let it cool, sit over night and get rid of the fat, wash and dry it. She said she did this for a couple weeks to make sure it was fully seasoned, after that, she never had to do it again. When cooking steak or burgers, she would heat the pan very hot, add a few shakes of salt, no oil and then slap the beef on the very hot pan…was the best, lol, never greased! But she always heated the cast iron to hot before she began cooking. so it was a couple weeks of work at the start and then she just treated it as any other cookware other than the drying method. So, if you’ve got a bit that isn’t enameled, give this a try and see what you think. It might make you more inclined to use it more often.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    A bit disappointed about the actual recipe: I thought the quinoa was being used to make the tortillas too! [Everyone can make the filling…]

  • Reply
    May 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    This sounds really good, I am a meat eater, and want to possibly add chicken to this, I wonder how this would work by baking? Thank you.

  • Reply
    Nikki Smith
    September 14, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I have all the ingredients (except cheese) so, I’ll try to make them with a substitute…maybe a pesto spread? I’ll let you know what i ended up doing and how it turns out 🙂

  • Reply
    February 25, 2019 at 5:52 am

    MY issue with cast iron is the weight. I had to get rid of my cast iron grill because it was just too heavy for me to lift easily.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    5 stars
    This is delicious and very good for your health

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