A New Twist on an Old Favorite!
Peanut butter in a quesadilla, you ask?
Sure – why not?!? The tired old PB&J could use a modern makeover, and your kiddos could use a little excitement in their lunch hour!
But is there cheese in a peanut butter quesadilla, you ask?
NO!!! (Don’t worry, though – you’re not the only one wondering about that. We’ve actually been asked!)
We call it a quesadilla because of how it’s prepared in a tortilla. But come on, guys – seriously! Cheese melted in a peanut butter and strawberry quesadilla?!?! Ewwwwww … would we do that to you?? (No … no, we would not. We love you too much.)
The ingredients are so simple (and not cheesy!). Creamy, melty peanut butter studded with fresh, sweet-tart strawberries, crunchy sliced almonds, and just a hint of coconut. All held together inside a perfectly seared, crispy tortilla. It is sooooo good!
Here at THK, we’ve had requests to give you some fun lunch ideas, especially for the upcoming summer, when halting playtime to make lunches can feel like a bit of a chore. We know how it is – during those lazy summer months, it’s easy to fall into an uninspired lunchtime rut!
And, since May 20th is Pick Strawberries Day (who comes up with this stuff?!?!), you know we just had to work in a recipe with gorgeous strawberries now that they’re at peak season!
So, Gretchen and I combined two of our families’ favorite sandwiches – the grilled peanut butter and jellies she loves and a peanut butter and fruit pita that my kids discovered in a Better Homes and Gardens kids’ cookbook. The result: a recipe that will give your kids’ boring, same-old-same-old peanut butter sandwich a whole new lease on life!
These quesadillas are so yummy and so versatile, my kids even request them for breakfast (and have actually been known to joyously eat these twice in one day)! They are easy, fast and simple to adapt – perfect any time of day!
My son has one important word of advice: “Make sure you have milk ready!”
The preparation is super simple.
First, fire up a skillet and get it really good and hot.
Equipment tip: This recipe works well with a cast iron griddle pan, a full-clad skillet, or a nonstick skillet (use what you’ve got!). Just be sure not to preheat a nonstick pan on high heat. Also – many of you out there may have other ways of making quesadillas – in the oven, toaster oven, outdoor grill or even (for gadget lovers!) in a quesadilla press. Do whatever works for you!
While your skillet (or oven … or grill …) is preheating, slather some creamy peanut butter onto whole wheat tortillas, then arrange some luscious, juicy, sliced summer strawberries on one half of each tortilla and top the berries with a sprinkle of sliced almonds and shredded coconut.
Ingredient Tip #1: We don’t usually specify brands, but we do have a little tip for this recipe. In our own kitchens and during recipe testing, we generally use either Jif Natural peanut butter or Smucker’s Natural. They have slightly different ingredients and nutritional profiles, and they also have different consistencies. For this quesadilla, we highly recommend choosing the Jif Natural (hmmmmm … does that ring a bell … “Choosy moms choose Jif”???). The Jif is just a bit less dense so it easily takes on a happy, ooey-gooey consistency in a warm quesadilla.
Ingredient Tip #2: Feel free to get creative with your fillings. Why not try throwing in some dried fruit or different nuts? This is a sandwich, not a science – get a little crazy! Want more peanut butter? Extra strawberries? Go for it!
Fold each quesadilla in half and pop them one at a time into the sizzling-hot skillet. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may be able to fit a couple of quesadillas at once.) There’s no need to prep the skillet with cooking spray or to use butter, canola or cooking spray on the tortillas – a dry skillet works great for this.
Check each quesadilla after just a minute or two, and as soon as it starts to turn golden, flip it to crisp up the other side. Just a minute or two more, and you’ll be all set!
The tortillas should have a slightly crunchy exterior but still be really tender and soft inside, and the fillings should be just turning warm and melty. The key here is a really hot skillet and a fast sear. We speak from experience when we tell you that a long, slow cook time will yield a sadly cardboard-like tortilla and overcooked, limp and kinda downright gross strawberries (this was the unfortunate end to our first test batch!).
Once your quesadillas are perfectly cooked, plate them up and cut them into wedges. Done! So fast, so easy!
Quick Tip: If you are really pressed for time getting to the pool, the zoo, the __________ (insert fun summer activity of your choice) … you can skip the pan altogether. Seriously – I’ve done this in a change-of-plans moment! Just slather some peanut butter on your tortilla, toss on the toppings, and roll it all up like a wrap. Call it a burrito, and you’re out the door in a flash! It’s portable enough for your family to munch in the car while the kids bicker with each other in the backseat, and you fight with your GPS over the zoo’s address! Ahhhhhhhhhh … summertime …
We’d Love to Hear From You!
How will you celebrate Pick Strawberries Day this May 20th? Do you have a favorite strawberry recipe for this time of year? Just head down to the bottom of this post to find our comments box and tell us all about it! If you have a favorite kinda-unhealthy recipe for fresh strawberries, maybe we can even help you lighten it up! We love health-ification projects!
- 4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
- ½ – ¾ cup natural, creamy peanut butter
- 1⅓ cup thinly sliced strawberries (about 12 large berries)
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter over each tortilla. Top half of each tortilla with ⅓ cup sliced strawberries, crowding the berries very closely together. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon almonds and 1 tablespoon coconut over berries.
- Fold the quesadillas in half.
- Place one or two quesadillas (depending on your skillet’s size) into the preheated skillet and cook on the first side for just a minute or two, checking frequently. Once the quesadillas begin to turn golden brown, flip each over and cook for just another minute or two more. The quesadillas should be golden and crispy outside, while the tortilla remains soft inside and the fillings are just becoming warm and melty. Don’t overcook or your tortillas will be burned or tough and your strawberries will be unappetizingly overcooked.