These Vegetarian Quesadillas Are Cooked Entirely on the Grill

Grilled zucchini and corn enrobed in melty cheese and served with a blended peanut-chipotle salsa

A plate with grilled zucchini and corn quesadillas, served with salsa

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 27 mins
Cooling Time: 10 mins
Total: 52 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Yield: 4 quesadillas
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
860 Calories
60g Fat
55g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 860
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 1171mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 24mg 122%
Calcium 604mg 46%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 577mg 12%
*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.)

Everyone wants their vegetarian friends to feel welcome at cookouts, but offering them packaged veggie burgers can feel like a cop out. Enter this recipe for grilled quesadillas stuffed with grilled corn, zucchini, and gooey cheese. They’re easy to make, cooked on the grill, and so delicious the omnivores are going to want in on it, too! 

Grilling for Meat Eaters and Vegetarians at the Same Time

Grilling the corn on the cob at the same time as the halved zucchini can be done while you’re cooking the burgers and brats (just keep them separate). Once the meat is done, brush down the grill and grill the quesadillas; an average-sized grill can fit four quesadillas at once. 

How To Make Grilled Quesadillas

The trick is to use large (10-inch) flour tortillas, spread them evenly with cheese all over and then put the diced grilled veggies on half of each tortilla. When the cheese is melty and the tortilla is toasted on the bottom, simply fold the tortillas in half with the veggie side on the bottom. From there you can cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve them. 

What To Serve With Grilled Quesadillas

To serve with the quesadillas, I’m nuts about this simple pureed riff on salsa macha, a spicy chile pepper, oil, and peanut sauce from Veracruz, Mexico. The recipe makes about a cup of thick, rich, and smoky-hot salsa. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, you can either reduce the amount of chipotle chilies or add canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes to the sauce to mitigate the heat. 

Tips for Making Grilled Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas

  • Clean the grill well — Use a stiff wire brush to clean the grill before placing the tortillas on the grill, especially if you’ve grilled meat on it and you’re making these for vegetarians. 
  • How to get those grill marks — The tortillas may not get distinct grill marks on them. If this is important to you, mist or brush the bottoms of the tortillas with oil to help transfer heat and achieve grill marks. 
  • How to tell when the zucchini is done —The zucchini is best when crisp-tender (it will squeeze easily with tongs but still retain some structure). Don’t be tempted to grill it until it is mushy. 
  • Which chipotles to use — I recommend La Costeña brand chipotles in adobo. Different brands may have different levels of heat.
  • Make ahead — The corn and zucchini mixture can be made up to 5 days in advance. Let it come to room temperature before adding it to the quesadillas. The salsa can be made up to 7 days in advance.

"These grilled zucchini and corn quesadillas hit the spot! They were easy to make and so delicious! The salsa was absolutely addictive! I found myself adding more and more to each bite. Adjust the quantity of chipotle in adobo sauce to taste if your tolerance for heat is low." —Diana Andrews

Grilled Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Salsa

  • 1/2 cup avocado or safflower oil

  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts

  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

  • 1/2 cup canned chipotle chilies in adobo

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)

  • Fine salt, to taste

For the Quesadillas

  • 3 medium ears corn, shucked

  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or safflower oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • 2 pinches fine salt

  • 4 large (10-inch) flour tortillas

  • 3 cups (12-ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

Steps to Make It

Make the Salsa

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make salsa

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (a peanut added to the oil will sizzle and color immediately), add the peanuts and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 1 minute.

    A small pan of peanuts cooking in oil

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Remove the pan from the heat, add the garlic, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

    A pan of cooked peanuts in oil, with garlic

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add the chipotles, vinegar, sugar, and oregano to a blender. Add the oil-peanut mixture and blend until mostly smooth. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

    A blender pitcher with chipotles, vinegar, water, oregano, and peanut-garlic mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Make the Quesadillas

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

    Ingredients to make grilled zucchini and corn quesadillas

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Brush the corn and zucchini with the oil and season with the chili powder and salt.

    A plate with three corn cobs and a two zucchini halves, seasoned with oil, salt, and chili powder

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Place the corn and zucchini on the grill. Cover and cook until the vegetables are lightly charred and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. The corn will turn bright opaque white or yellow and the zucchini halves will squish easily when squeezed with tongs.

    Two zucchini halves and three ears of corn grilling on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs by holding the cob upright with tongs on a cutting board and sawing off the kernels from the cob. Discard the cobs. Chop the zucchini into small bite-size pieces. Set aside.

    A cutting board with grilled corn, sliced from the cob, and chopped grilled zucchini

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Grill the quesadillas when the charcoal is ashed over and you can hold your palm a few inches over the grill for 5 seconds. If using a gas grill, reduce heat to medium (350 F). Place the tortillas on the grill and quickly spread the cheese all over each tortilla. Spread the corn and zucchini on one half of each tortilla. Cover and grill until the cheese has melted and the bottom of the tortillas are crisp and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

    A tortilla on a grill, with one side topped with grilled corn and zucchini, and the other with melted cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Fold the cheese-only side of the tortillas over the side with the vegetables and pat down to cement the sides together.

    A folded grilled corn and zucchini quesadilla on a grill

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Transfer the quesadillas to a cutting board and cut them into 4 wedges each. Serve with the salsa.

    A cutting board with a grilled zucchini and corn quesadilla cut into four wedges

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

How To Store

You can double the corn and zucchini mixture and serve it as a side dish later. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Leftover salsa can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Variations

  • Add a protein—Add canned black beans or vegetarian chorizo, if desired. Don’t be tempted to overload the quesadillas with fillings, however, or they will fall apart. 
  • Cheese substitutes—Cheddar, colby, mozzarella, or Oaxaca cheese can be used in place of the jack cheese. 
  • Whole grain swap—Whole wheat tortillas can be used instead of white flour tortillas.