Quesadillas De Flor De Calabaza (squash blossom quesadilla) is a Mexican traditional recipe so tasty and easy to make. Learn the basics to prepare the authentic dish with our step-by-step recipe.
About Squash Blossom Quesadillas
Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza (known in English as squash blossom quesadillas) is a traditional Mexican recipe consisting of a corn tortilla stuffed with cheese and summer squash blossoms.
These quesadillas are very popular in central and southern Mexico, where they are made often with blue corn tortillas by street food vendors and in local markets.
The vendor, who is usually a woman, will set up a table and start by cooking the filling by sautéing the delicate flowers (flor de calabaza) with other vegetables.
Then she will set up a huge griddle (comal) to cook the blue or white tortillas on the spot.
So when customers approach, the tortillas are quickly filled and turned a few times until they’re beautifully golden brown.
Quesadillas de flor de calabaza are served nice and hot with salsa, making for a simple but life-changing experience.
If you’ve never had squash blossoms, making flor de calabaza quesadillas is a great introduction. After that, you’ll soon be adding them to your soups, salads, stews, and more; the Mexican way!
What Is Flor de Calabaza?
Flor de calabaza, or squash blossom in English, has been cultivated in Mexico for tens of thousands of years. Mesoamerican people domesticated the plant and it’s perfectly edible.
Its pre-Hispanic name is ayoxochitl, which comes from the nahuatl language ayotli, squash and xochitl, flower.
As you can imagine based on the name, squash blossoms belong to the Cucurbita species, the same species of squash, zucchini, and marrow.
There are different varieties of squash blossom used in Mexican cuisine, such as Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita moschata, and Cucurbita ficifolia.
Squash blossoms are packed with vitamin A, C, and B complex, as well as folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Additionally, they don’t have much sodium and they’re high in fiber. They’re low-calorie as well, so they can be a great addition to your diet.
- SQUASH BLOSSOMS: You can find this ingredient at many supermarkets or local farmer’s markets.
- TORTILLAS: I used homemade corn tortillas, but store-bought corn or flour tortillas work just fine. For an authentic eating experience, try our blue corn tortillas recipe too!
- CHEESE: Use Oaxaca cheese, Asadero, or any melty cheese you can find easily where you live. I often use mozzarella.
- ONION: Diced white or yellow onions.
- CHILIES: Jalapeños and serranos are often used, but you can use any type of fresh chilies available to you.
- CORN: I made the mixture with canned white corn. You can leave out this ingredient or use frozen corn.
- OIL: Use your favorite vegetable oil or butter.
- FLAVORS: Salt, pepper, and a bit of dried epazote are all I use, feel free to add other spices, but in moderation.
How To Make Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza
To clean the blossoms, remove the stem first, then carefully open the flower and remove the stamen or pistil from the inside.
Use a soft brush or paper to remove any dirt or pollen. You can also quickly rinse the flowers and then dry them with a kitchen paper towel.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the corn and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add the onion and chilies and cook for 2-3 minutes or until nicely softened.
Add a pinch of dried epazote and the zucchini blossoms to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and add 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Stir for 2-3 minutes until blossoms are softened and slightly cooked through. Make sure there is no liquid left on the pan, adjust seasonings, then turn off the heat.
Heat a comal or griddle over medium-high heat and lightly oil it with olive oil or butter.
Place a tortilla and add some shredded cheese in the middle. Then top with sautéed flor de calabaza.
When the tortilla softens and the cheese starts to melt, fold it into a half-moon.
Cook until the cheese melts nicely and the outside is golden and slightly crispy.
Keep making quesadillas de flor de calabaza as many as they fit on your griddle. Serve them as they come out of the pan with the cheese nicely melted and gooey.
- Other veggies: You can use mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers, or zucchini to make the stuffing mixture more fulfilling and flavorful.
- Fry them: One of the most popular variations of this recipe is making the quesadillas with corn masa and deep frying them. Check out our recipe for quesadillas fritas and use the squash blossom mixture to make them.
- Other Herbs: Even though epazote is the most used herb to make this type of quesadilla, you can add other fresh or dried herbs to give a little flavor to the mixture. Oregano and cilantro are both good options.
How To Serve
Serve quesadillas de flor de calabaza with salsa and your favorite drink, here are some salsa recipes you might want to try:
- Molcajete salsa. Made with roasted tomatoes and chilies.
- Salsa verde. Made with tomatillos, green chilies, and cilantro.
- Salsa taquera. Mild spicy salsa, perfect for tacos and quesadillas.
- Guacamole salsa. Made with creamy avocados, tomatillos, and green chilies.
Are squash blossoms safe to eat?
Yes, squash blossoms are safe to eat. This is an edible plant and even the stem can be consumed. You can eat them raw or add them to many different recipes. You just have to make sure they’re fresh and clean them well.
What does flor de calabaza taste like?
Flor de calabaza has a mild flavor and they taste vaguely like squash, which is why they’re so versatile. When eaten raw, they taste similar to sweet radish. Additionally, squash blossoms melt in your mouth because they’re super soft and tender.
What is flor de calabaza used for?
Besides for making quesadillas, flor de calabaza is used in Mexican cuisine in soups, stews, or salads. It’s a very versatile ingredient, so there are many ways to enjoy it. Even sautéeing them with a dash of olive oil, onions, and garlic will be delicious.
How do you store flor de calabaza?
You can store flor de calabaza in the freezer for up to 3 months! If you buy them at the supermarket they are usually packed in a small basket and wrapped with cling film, so just pop the basket in the freezer.
If you bought them from the farmer’s market, then clean them a bit with kitchen paper (do not remove the stem and pistils), wrap them loosely with cling film and freeze them.
Can you eat squash blossom stems?
Yes! You can eat the stems of squash blossoms diced and sautéed with onions and chilies, then stuff them in the quesadilla as per the recipe.
Quesadillas de Flor de Calabaza (squash blossom quesadilla)
- 6 medium corn tortillas
- 12 large squash blossoms (or about 16 small ones)
- 2 cups Oaxaca or Asadero cheese (or your favorite melting cheese)
- ½ cup white corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- ½ cup white onion (chopped)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (chopped)
- pinch dried epazote
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (plus more for the griddle)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Remove the stems from the blossoms, carefully open the flower and remove the stamen or pistil from the inside.
- Use a soft brush or paper to remove any dirt or pollen. You can also quickly rinse the flowers and then dry them with a kitchen paper towel.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the corn and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the onion and chilies and cook for 3 minutes or until nicely softened.
- Add a pinch of dried epazote and the zucchini blossoms to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until blossoms are softened and slightly cooked through.
- Once there is no liquid left on the pan, adjust seasonings, then turn off the heat.
- Heat a comal or griddle over medium-high heat and lightly oil it.
- Place a tortilla and add some shredded cheese in the middle.
- Add some of the squash blossom mixture on top.
- When the tortilla softens and the cheese starts to melt, fold it into a half-moon.
- Cook until the cheese melts nicely and the outside is golden and slightly crispy (about 1 minute per side).
- Repeat until all ingredients are used.
- Serve them with your favorite salsa.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.