Overflowing in apples from an apple picking excursion? Make a veggie quesadilla with slices of crisp apple, smoked vegan mozzarella, caramelized onions, and baby spinach. It’s the quintessential autumn appetizer.
No matter what the calendar says, it’s officially fall when we take our yearly trip to the apple orchard.
My best friend, Michelle, comes up with her husband and daughters. We drive in tandem to the orchard.
Then we get in line for a tractor ride to the part of the field where the apples are ripe. Armed with wooden baskets, we do some taste-testing, as we load them up.
This has been a tradition for eight years.
Some years it’s too early in the season, and there are no apples. Some years it’s too late in the season, and there are no apples.
And sometimes just like Goldilocks, we get everything just right. This year, we really hit that sweet spot.
The Honeycrisp apples were in season. And the trees were loaded with them. The flavor was a little bit tart, a little bit sweet, with a lot of crunch.
Honeycrisp isn’t the variety of apple David and I typically buy in our day-to-day lives. (We’re a Pink Lady family.) But I don’t know what more you could want from an apple.
Since bringing home our bounty, we’ve been knee deep in apple dishes.
Apples are a pretty regular part in David’s work lunches. (Check out this vegan packed lunch post for more ideas!)
Veggie quesadillas with apples & caramelized onions
When I need something simple & savory, I’ve been making veggie quesadillas.
A quesadilla with smoked vegan mozzarella, slices of crisp apple, caramelized onions, and baby spinach is just the snack that fall needs.
It offers a beautiful balance of smoky and sweet.
Vegan smoked cheese
If you don’t have access to Miyoko’s smoked mozzarella, no worries. It seems like more and more vegan cheese-makers are making smoky cheeses.
Herbivorous Butcher and Follow Your Heart both have smoked gouda that would work well in today’s recipe for veggie quesadillas.
Add seitan or baked tofu for extra staying power
To move this into meal category, the veggie quesadilla is also good with the addition of Herbivorous Butcher pastrami, vegan ham, or thinly sliced baked tofu.
(The baked teriyaki tofu from Trader Joe’s or Wildwood savory tofu are good options.)
Any of these options make the dish a little more filling. Plus, the vegan pastrami or ham gives an extra layer of smokiness.
Veggie quesadillas are a tasty packed lunch option
Obviously a veggie quesadilla is at its melty best straight out of the skillet. But I had some left over after shooting these photos. So I put the triangles into the refrigerator.
When hunger strikes, I’ve been pulling out one or two wedges. They work surprisingly well straight from the refrigerator!
So if you’re looking for something a little different to put in your lunchbox or cooler for a road trip, this is a good option.
How to make a veggie quesadilla with apples & caramelized onions
Start by caramelizing onions in a skillet.
Put a little bit of oil in a skillet. Then add onions sliced in thin half moons. Allow them to brown in a skillet under a medium heat.
Once they have some color, add a pinch of salt, and turn the skillet to low. Let them cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add a drizzle of agave syrup, and give a stir. Let them cook for a couple minutes more, and then turn off the heat.
Then it’s time to assemble the veggie quesadillas.
Bring a separate skillet to a medium heat.
Add a tortilla, a couple Tablespoons of shredded smoked non-dairy cheese, thin slices of apple, a few pinches of spinach, and an even layer of caramelized onions.
If you’re feeling extra hungry, add a few slices of seitan pastrami, seitan ham, or baked tofu.
Then add another Tablespoon or so of shredded smoked vegan cheese. Top with another tortilla.
Then toast the quesadilla on both sides, until the tortilla is a nutty shade of brown.
Remove from the skillet, and cut it into triangles. Continue until you’ve made all of the quesadillas.
Keep this recipe in mind for your apple orchard excursions! It’s a great one to quickly whip up after people have worked up an appetite from apple picking.
Here are some more delicious & savory ways to use apples
Fall salad with apples & candied pecans
Roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, apples, and pistachios