Worknight Dinner Recipe: Shrimp, Kale and Avocado Quesadillas

by Maris Callahan on March 22, 2010

Shrimp, Kale and Avocado Quesadillas

Stop looking at me like that. I know what you’re thinking. Kale? In a quesadilla? Let me explain. Kale is a leafy, green vegetable rich in Vitamins A, C and K. Though kale somewhat resembles spinach, it’s actually a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, a distant relative to cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

When I think of Kale I think of winter: winter coats, slushy streets, fleece blankets. Yet, when I think of avocado, lime and shrimp I think of summer, warm weather and dining at a sidewalk cafe in a beach town, wearing flip flops and a fresh tan.

The month of March, in a way, conjures a similar anomaly for me. It’s technically winter for the first three weeks but spring is so close you can practically taste it. Mother Nature gives us sunshine, jacket-less weekdays and open-window sleeping weather, but she can snatch it all back in an instant by dumping six inches of snow on us so late in the season that you might think it’s an April fool’s joke.

My food cravings in March are similar – I’m ready for salsa, salads, chilled soups and sangria but the weather is calling for stews, scones and strata. A quesadilla with summer’s shrimp and avocado and kale, reminiscent of colder days, offers the best of both worlds.

Shrimp, Kale and Avocado Quesadillas

Shrimp, Kale & Avocado Quesadillas


1 teaspoon olive oil
6 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 La Tortilla Factory whole-wheat tortillas
1 small bunch of kale, leaves torn from stems (about 1 cup of kale leaves)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced (optional)
1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar (Monterey Jack, manchego or crumbled queso blanco also work)
Salsa, for serving (optional)


1. In a small saucepan, bring one or two inches of water to a boil. Drop in the peeled and deveined shrimp, turn the heat to simmer, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp have just turned pink. Let cool slightly and cut into small dice, slicing in half lengthwise and then chopping into bite-sized pieces (Method borrowed from The Perfect Pantry).

2. Heat olive oil in a nonstick saute pan to low-medium. Add kale and cook until wilted.  When kale is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.  While kale is cooking, lay one tortilla flat on a plate.

3. Top tortilla with half of the grated cheese, shrimp, avocado and torn kale leaves, when finished. Sprinkle it with one-fourth of the grated cheese. Top with half of the shrimp pieces and avocado. Spread the rest of the cheese on top of the shrimp and veggies and top with second tortilla.

4. With a large spatula, move the quesadilla to the heated pan that you used to cook the kale. Cook for 3 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is lightly browned and the cheese on the bottom begins to melt. Flip the quesadilla, and cook 2-3 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is lightly browned. Since you can’t see the bottom, you can estimate based on when the cheese inside has melted.

5. Remove quesadilla from the heat and let it sit until cool enough to handle. With a large, very sharp knife, cut the quesadilla into wedges, and serve with your favorite salsa. Or feel free to slice the rest of your avocado and eat it on the side with a pinch of salt. (Come on, avocado is the good fat!)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan March 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm

This. Looks. Amazing. Think it would work with spinach instead of kale? Because then I would have all I need for a delicious weekday lunch at home! :)


Isabel Kallman @AlphaMom March 22, 2010 at 11:34 pm

love shrimp. love kale. love avocado. and love cheese.
means i will tolerate the carbs. ;)
Looks like a great recipe.


Daryl March 23, 2010 at 8:08 am

How cute is this post! Your description of March is right on the money too. This is making me drool


mandy March 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

I have been a major slacker in the kitchen lately. This however, sounds (and looks) incredibly delicious. The fact that it comes together so quickly is a big bonus too!


kat March 23, 2010 at 9:58 am

I’m totally with you there, we like greens like kale & spinach in our tacos & quesadillas


Kalyn March 23, 2010 at 10:13 am

I love this combination!


bodyhacker March 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

Excellent Recipe and love the idea of using shrimp and kale – thanks for sharing.
Also love La Tortilla Wraps – I use these wraps for all of our meals (Breakfast – egg burritos, Lunch – with turkey, ham, just veggies wraps, dinner – pizzas and can’t forget desserts)!
If you are interested, we list one of my favorite recipes with the wraps (Italian Veggie Pizza) on our site under food reviews.
Hope you can enjoy! Thanks again and can’t wait to read more. :-)


Jessica March 23, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Can the shrimp be replaced with chicken?


Brian March 24, 2010 at 7:32 am

Our dinner tonight! (expect text messages for advice)


Meal Makeover Mom Janice March 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I love kale but have not tried it in a quesadilla- great idea! Perfect for a quick weeknight meal.


Sandie {Inn Cuisine} March 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

A great way to incorporate more kale into our diets. Thanks, Maris!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: