Erin’s Adobo Eggplant Quesadillas

Erin's Adobo Grilled Eggplant Quesadillas /

Ciao from Italia! At the moment, our life is all about pizza, pasta and tomatoes. It’s amazing but every time I travel, the things I miss most are tacos and mexican-ish food. We made these quesadillas a few weeks ago but I could totally go for one right now!

Erin's Adobo Grilled Eggplant Quesadillas /

I often get questions about how to cook eggplant. My favorite and most foolproof method for non-spongy eggplant is to grill it. (If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan on your stove). I grill mine simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon or drizzle of balsamic; I then serve it with some arugula or sliced tomatoes.

But I’m in love with this recipe for grilled eggplant quesadillas that comes from my friend Erin (of Naturally Ella)’s new book The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen. The spices are so flavorful and the eggplant bulks up the quesadillas in a meaty-but-not-meaty sort of way.

Erin's Adobo Grilled Eggplant Quesadillas /

I know that so many of you are fans of Erin’s as well, so I’m sure lots of you already have her book, but if you don’t, put it on your list. It’s a super handy vegetarian guide to cooking with what you might have available seasonally or on hand. There are 50 base recipes and 3 unique versions of each. So pretty much any vegetarian meal you might want to make, she has a recipe for. Everything is made with whole grains and with fresh seasonal produce in mind.

I modified her quesadilla recipe just a tad. I mixed her spice rub with olive oil and used it as more of a chile sauce to brush onto the eggplant after I grilled it. (This kept my grill pan a little cleaner). I served the remaining sauce on the side of the finished quesadillas…  Jack gave this meal two speechless thumbs up. Because that’s how he says “this one is really good” as he stuffs the next quesadilla wedge in his mouth.

The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen by Erin Alderson

5.0 from 1 reviews

Erin's Adobo Eggplant Quesadillas

Adapted from The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen by Erin Alderson
Serves: serves 2
Adobo Seasoning:
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder (I skipped)
  • ½ tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (I used chipotle paste)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinches of salt and pepper
  • 2 small eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1½ - 2 cups shredded Taleggio cheese (I used Jack cheese)
  • handful of cilantro
  • lime slices, for serving
  • 4 whole grain tortillas
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the seasoning ingredients. (I added a few tablespoons of olive oil to this to make it a paste).
  2. Heat a grill pan to medium heat. Set the eggplant slices on a large plate and drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place eggplant on the grill, and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until dark grill marks form. Remove from the grill and generously brush both sides of the eggplant with the adobo paste mixture.
  3. Assemble quesadillas with the cheese, 3-4 eggplant slices and cilantro. Fold the tortilla over the toppings and grill each side of the quesadilla until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are charred on the outside (about 3 minutes per side). Press down with a spatula to help them along.
  4. Serve with extra adobo paste, lime slices and fresh cilantro.



Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Tara S.

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I was trying to come up with a dinner idea and wondered if there was such a thing as eggplant quesadillas. Sure enough, here you are 🙂 I added chopped arugula to the quesadillas which worked nicely. For a side, I made rice and then stirred in reserved adobo paste and some chickpeas. This quick, super delicious, and easily customizable recipe is a keeper. Thanks again!

  2. Haley from

    This is seriously the best recipe EVER. This is just the right amount of spicy and fresh at the same time.

  3. EIMIE from

    Eggplant is my favorite food, health, fresh and natural…
    Eggplant with chocolate or butter is very delicious mix..

  4. Oh wow, that adobo paste sounds wonderful. I can already imagine its aroma when slathered unto freshly grilled eggplant! Great idea for sharing Erin’s dish, Jeanine!

  5. I enjoy your posts. I look forward to trying this eggplant recipe.

  6. Eileen from

    These sound delicious! And who doesn’t want to eat more eggplant in every form? I certainly do. 🙂

  7. We have some eggplants in our garden that need to be used up, and this looks like a perfect recipe for them! Enjoy Italy, and eat all the pistachio gelato you can for me, okay? 🙂

    • jeanine

      ha, done and done 🙂

  8. Ellier from

    Eggplant (aubergine if we’re going to be British about it) is one of my favourite things right now. This looks delish!

  9. Erin from

    Thank you for sharing the quesadillas and so glad you + Jack liked them! (Love the idea of the sauce too- I can imagine it would save the grill pan some grief!) Hope you’re having a wonderful time in Italy!

  10. Stephanie

    This looks delicious! Thank you for the opportunity to switch it up when my 4 little eggplants growing in the garden get large enough to pick.
    My go-to marinade for eggplant, mushrooms, and tofu on the grill is Bragg’s Aminos, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and habanero-infused maple syrup. I love having each veggie get a different treatment, though, so now I have another way.

  11. Charlie from

    Looks yummy! Have fun in Italia – I’m about halfway through my Italy posts now (just posted Elba Island!), I’m looking forward to hearing your stories! – Charlie,

  12. Kate from

    Yay! This is such a fun way to prepare eggplant. I’m not sure how I missed these in Erin’s book. Glad you guys are having a great time in Italy. I’m living vicariously through your Instagram pics!!!

  13. When I travelled to Europe I really missed Mexican food as well. They’re just not as into it over there as we are here in America! However, being in Italy, I’m sure you’re not missing out on delicious eats 😉 Hope you’re having a great time!

  14. I’m in love with that adobo spice mix and I like that you used it as a dipping sauce too. Erin comes up with the most creative but also practical recipes!

  15. I LOVE eggplant but sometimes suffer from lack of creative ways to prepare it. This is so simple, but so absolutely perfect. Thanks for the recipe Erin, and thanks to you for sharing it here!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.