Cubano Quesadillas are a fun way to use up leftover pork and/or ham. Melty, tangy, and utterly delicious!
We always seem to have some form of leftover pork in this house. Phil loves to smoke pork butts during the summer. This is great because we freeze batches of the leftovers to pull out when it’s cold outside. I also make a lot of pork tenderloins for easy midweek meals (like One-Skillet Mustard-Herb Crusted Roast Pork Tenderloin).
We’ve also lately taken to buying half hams from our local wholesale club. We cut it into quarters, 3 of which we freeze immediately. We thinly slice the other quarter with Phil’s favorite gadget. This ham is great for standard sandwiches, but it’s also perfect, of course, in Cubano quesadillas.
Cubano Quesadillas: an easy midweek meal
Even though they are crazy fast to make, we usually eat our Cubano quesadillas on the weekends. This is because Cubano quesadillas are a wee bit on the decadent side. Phil and I decided a long time ago to be relatively healthy during the workweek and “let it all hang out” on the weekend. So these are weekend treats for us.
But Cubano Quesadillas would totally make a fun, easy weeknight meal, so I won’t judge.
Preparing the quesadillas
To make the process as easy as possible, prep all of the ingredients in advance. Shred the cheese, chop and dry the pickles, and slice any meat. We assemble the Cubano quesadillas right in the skillet (see preparation collage below), so cooking is a simple matter of browning up the tortilla and melting the cheese.
To facilitate melting, we like to lid the skillet. This generates steam that helps the cheese melt more quickly. When the bottom half of the tortilla is golden brown, we flip the quesadilla.
The layers of cheese, pickles, and meat make the quesadillas fairly thick. We flatten them out by pressing down with a saucepan (being careful not to squeeze out the filling!). Then we cut the Cubano quesadillas into wedges—and away we go!
Making 2 Cubano Quesadillas at a time
We make our Cubano quesadillas one at a time in a ~12″ non-stick skillet. To keep the first quesadilla warm, we put it in the oven on the lowest setting. If you need to make 2 at a time, you can use a larger skillet and assemble the quesadillas before adding them (carefully) to the pan. When it comes time to flatten the quesadillas, set a Dutch oven on top.
Two Cubano quesadillas make a great lunch for two. With a side dish like Easy Zippy Coleslaw (make it ahead of time!), they’d be filling enough for dinner. They’d also be enough for 6 as an “outside-the-box” appetizer.
That’s it! With a bit of meal-prep, you’ll have lunch or dinner in no time. I hope you love ooey-gooey, tangy Cubano quesadillas!
P.S. If you need more inspiration for using up leftover food, pop over and read my article, Using up Leftovers!
- #CookBlogShare , a great food blogger recipe-share hosted this week at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- The What’s For Dinner Sunday Linkup (coming soon!) at The Lazy Gastronome.
- Delicious Dishes Recipe Party, a weekly link party where bloggers share their most delicious recipes and check out other bloggers’ amazing recipes, hosted by Walking on Sunshine.
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter - softened
- 2 flour tortillas - (large, a.k.a. "burrito size")
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup dill pickle - thinly sliced and chopped; dried with paper toweling
- 1 cup pork - pulled or thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup ham - (smoked or boiled; thinly sliced and chopped)
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 cups Swiss cheese - shredded
- Preheat oven to 170º (or the lowest setting your oven has). Spread 1/2 tbsp butter on one side of a flour tortilla. Turn the tortilla buttered-side-down and set into a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Working quickly, spread 1 tbsp mayonnaise on one half of the tortilla. Then, load the other half (leaving ~1/2" around the edge) with 1/4 cup of cheese, 1 tbsp mustard (or to taste), and 1/4 pickles. Add a layer of 1/2 cup of pulled pork and then a layer of 1/4 cup of ham. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup more cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and lid the skillet.
- Let cook 2–3 minutes, checking occasionally to be sure that the tortilla doesn't burn, until the cheese is beginning to melt and the bottom half of the tortilla is golden-brown.
- Flip the quesadilla with a silicone spatula. Use a saucepan to press down on the quesadilla to flatten, being careful not to squeeze out the filling. Hold for 30 seconds. Let the quesadilla continue cooking until the second side is golden brown, about 2 additional minutes (check at 1 minute to make sure that it doesn't go too far). Set the finished quesadilla on a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.
- Repeat for the remaining quesadilla. Set finished quesadillas onto a cutting board and cut each into 3 approximately equal wedges. Serve.
- To make the two Cubano quesadillas at the same time, assemble the quesadillas on a cutting board (through folding the other half of the tortilla over the filling). Carefully transfer the quesadillas to a large, non-stick skillet and proceed with the cooking instructions. Use a Dutch oven for the flattening step.