Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

Fear not, it is perfectly clear to me that Mexican food isn’t composed entirely of a long string of dips and side dishes, such as guacamole and refried beans. Indeed, how strange it would be to have a nation of perennial nibblers living among us. So, safe in the knowledge that there exists, on this planet, no colony of human sized rodents in possession of an immoral number of carrot sticks, I embarked upon the first “proper” dish of the ‘Frugal Does Mexican’ series.

Traditionally, a Mexican quesadilla is a corn tortilla filled with Oaxaca cheese, since the word for cheese in Spanish is ‘queso’. Of course, other regional ingredients can be added, but cheese is the most important. The American version of the quesadilla changes this tradition a little; they tend to use flour tortillas instead. Indeed, it seems as though my recipe is a fusion of Mexican ideas, American method and British springtime ingredients. There is one interesting tit-bit to be had regarding queso; cheese has only existed in Mexico for as long as Europeans have settled there, a process which began in 1519 with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.

I’m glad you all like my photos; they really are a lot better. My only quibble is that this camera is too good for me and I don’t quite know how to use it properly, though I love how many settings one can change. Really and truly I could do with a macro lens, but such a thing will have to wait until my funds have replenished. At the moment I’m rather destitute… but I do have a delightful camera and an increasing array of bowls. What more could one want?

Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

Serves 4


• 4 small or 2-3 large tortillas

• 1 fairly large potato, around 250g

• A hearty glug of double cream

• 1 tbsp roughly chopped mint

• Just enough garden peas to make them ever-present

• A generous handful of mature cheddar cheese

• Salt and pepper

• Olive oil for frying


1. Peel, chop and boil the potato in salted water. When tender, drain and mash, before adding the cream, mint, peas and cheese. Season to taste.

2. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your frying pan and pop in the tortilla. When it starts to bubble turn it over and spread some of the filling onto one half. Turn the other half over to form a sandwich and cook on both sides until browned. Repeat this process for the rest of the tortillas, be sure not to fill them too much or it could get messy.

Cost: As long as one either makes or gets a good deal on the tortillas, this dish is very cheap indeed. All four of these quesadillas should set one back no more than 80p. That’s a damn fine price considering they make disgustingly perfect lunches.

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89 comments on “Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

  1. glutenfreehappytummy
    May 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    oh my gosh, those look AMAZING! i bet they’re delicious with the mint. thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Thanks! they really are – it’s nice and subtle :)

  2. thesinglegourmetandtraveller
    May 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Very delicious Frugal. Yum :) And you’ll grow into your camera – it’s definitely not too good for you! Great photos.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks, Kay! I can’t wait to get really good with it :)

  3. Heather
    May 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I am loving this take on quesdillas…at first glance (from the first photo) I really thought they were pancakes – I just assumed until I read the whole post, that the British we confusing the quesadilla with a pancake :) Quesadillas are a at least once a week dinner for us, I am giving your version a go!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks, Heather. Haha – I promise to provide less confusing photos in the future :)

  4. Jo Blogs
    May 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Oh YUMMMMMMMY! Mexico was our honeymoon destination and how funny, I’ve been remnisicing and wishing we were back there this week (probably fuelled by this heat wave we’re hang at the mo). I love this Anglo-Mexicano take on the quesadilla and I think Hungry Hubby will love it – so I will make it!

    And tip – either get the hard copy or kindle of Plate To Pixel by Helene Du Jardin. The best food photography book ever and it will walk you through exactly what your camera can do and teach you how to get the best piccies with whatever camera you have. I have to make do with my Panasonic Lumix crap and click until I actually become a doctor and can afford to splurge a week’s salary on a DSLR 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Awesome! Such a cool place to go. I want to go to the South of France or Tuscany. I hope you do make! I’ll definitely look into that book, thanks. I was using a Lumix up until a few days ago, they are good!

    • baconbiscuit212
      May 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      I second Hélène’s book too. It’s really good.

      • frugalfeeding
        May 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm

        I’ve clearly got plenty to read up on :)

        • baconbiscuit212
          May 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

          I didn’t know you were a historian! I knew you were a pretty great musician, an excellent cook, and an all around kick-butt person. Now I have even more respect! Very, very cool.

          • frugalfeeding
            May 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

            Haha, Daisy! Yes, I graduated in history less than a year ago and am going back to start my post-grad this October (funds willing). Thanks for being ever so flattering!

          • baconbiscuit212
            May 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm

            Good for you, Frugal! Less than a year ago? What a tadpole to be such an accomplished cook 😉

            Am finishing up my doctorate now, but I can remember that feeling of waiting for funding. It will happen. I know it.

          • frugalfeeding
            May 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm

            Indeed! Haha, thanks, Daisy. I don’t have the proportion of a tadpole though! I really hope it does happen…

          • baconbiscuit212
            May 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

            It wil!! I have a good feeling about it!

          • frugalfeeding
            May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am

            Thanks! I do too :)

  5. cookinginsens
    May 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    That’s a good looking quesadilla. I’ve never had them with potatoes and mint before but it sounds good in a Welsh kind of way :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Rosemary. Yes, I suppose it is a little Welsh – we do like our spuds.

  6. Jacqueline Raposo (@DustyBakerGal)
    May 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Mmm, it’s raining in NYC and this looks like just the ticket for lunch. And as most of my days in England have been spent in the rain, a fitting combination of flavors.

    I’m on the opposite end with the lens – I ONLY have a macro. And my entire camera is manual with no light meter, so I’m learning the old-school way. Which is awesome and I highly recommend. Happy Thursday FF.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Sea mist here, but no rain. Sounds difficult, but definitely worth it! Happy Thursday to you too, Jacqueline.

  7. Chica Andaluza
    May 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Apart from loving your photos Frugal, I adore your style of writing and your measurements – “a hearty glug”, “just enough” and a “generous handful”…it all makes perfect sense to me! A lovely version of quesadillas, really like the way you have incorporated local ingredients.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks, Tanya! It’s good to be a bit imprecise, it allows for a little personal input, which is what cooking is all about. Thanks! The mint was from about 6 feet away from where I’m sitting – very local.

  8. makingitwithdanielle
    May 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I love the combination of peas and mint, wouldn’t have occurred to me to put them in a quesadilla! Sounds delicious!

  9. Carolyn
    May 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    These look great. Such a creative idea!

  10. Caitlin
    May 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    thank you for stopping by my blog! yours is so awesome, i’m so glad i found you as well 😉 ps- LOVE your photos 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      No problem! I’m glad you took the time! Thanks – my new camera seems to be serving its purpose.

  11. thegrubbyhen
    May 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Wow! those look incredibly yummy. I love the idea of combining the classic pea and mint combo in a quesadilla, they’d make a yummy Sunday brunch! I think I know what i’ll be doing this weekend…

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks! It does work exceptionally well! If you make it I do hope you enjoy it.

  12. baconbiscuit212
    May 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    It’s good to see you explore Mexican food. Are you familiar with Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy?


    Bayless has a pretty well-regarded television series and is the chef-owner of one of the best restaurants in Chicago. Kennedy is just the hands-down authority on Mexican cooking. Good resources to know.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      I shall check it out, though I’m not a big fan of recipes :D. I will need some inspiration eventually though – my Mexican knowledge isn’t very large. Thanks very much, Daisy!

      • baconbiscuit212
        May 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm

        I know, Frugal. I didn’t recommend them for the recipes. Bayless give a good overview of Mexico of the different climates in Mexico by region. And Kennedy writes more like Elizabeth David, so more like a narrative about Mexican food (with some recipes).

        • frugalfeeding
          May 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

          Thanks for putting up with me :). I will, definitely check the writing out and will gather a few ideas – I don’t really know any chefs because I’ve never been into recipes etc, etc – so this will be very helpful! :)

          • baconbiscuit212
            May 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

            Oh, I consider Kennedy more of an authority, or a historian. And part of documenting the history of a cuisine is to include recipes. She’s British too, so I think that her writing style will be appealing in a way Bayless’s might not be (he is a chef).

            Mexico is such a diverse country with tropical regions, and arid regions. The sea and the desert. Everything in-between. I always feel really ignorant when thinking about Mexican cuisine. It gets such a bad reputation because of Tex-Mex food (most restaurants here and abroad). But it really is pretty complex. Kind of like how 10 years ago, everyone thought Chinese food was the same. Now they are recognizing that there is Shanghainese, Catonese, Yunnanese, Sichuan, etc. And they are all different.

            It never hurts to be more informed, in any case.

          • frugalfeeding
            May 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm

            now that’s a reply and a half! Well, I do have an affinity with historians being one myself :). I’ll definitely read up on it all and explore some of the lesser known dishes – just you wait! Thanks for being so helpful, Daisy! 😀

  13. Margarita
    May 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    In my Harlem (NY) neighborhood, corn tortillas are very inexpensive. Potatoes, peas, and cheese are favorites of my vegetarian husband…what a great combination! I’ll certainly be trying this…Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Awesome, very frugal! Thanks – I really hope you do.

  14. mrswebbinthekitchen
    May 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Wow, interesting! Pierogi meets mexican? I feel like this would make for some delicious comfort food after a bad day.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      ahha, had to look pierogi up – I shall have to make them. It was definitely very comforting.

    • danyandy
      May 25, 2012 at 4:20 am

      Yes! this is totally Pierogi meets mexican!

  15. Stephanie
    May 24, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    This looks delicious! Love mint and peas. Is double cream similar to sour cream?

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks! No, we also have that – whatever is worse for you than plain ol’ cream…

  16. Willow
    May 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    These sound great! And what an interesting observation – hard to imagine much Mexican cuisine without the cheese…

    • frugalfeeding
      May 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

      I know, it’s so ingrained in everything they seem to serve! They must be making up for lost time.

  17. danyandy
    May 25, 2012 at 4:18 am

    This post brings me back to a childhood memory. Having grown up in a big mexican family… my mom had to be frugal and make fantastic, made from scratch meals. When my mom would make a big batch of mashed potatoes, the next day we would have mashed potato tacos.. yup fried mashed potato tacos. Just like Americans can eat anything between 2 pieces of bread ( a sandwich), we mexicans can wrap anything in a tortilla and enjoy it like its a gourmet meal. I like your twist on quesadilla and I like how you made it a little fancy with the mint ;).

    • frugalfeeding
      May 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

      That’s brilliant :). Potato goes so well in them, doesn’t it?! I like that you find them mint fancy 😀

  18. unoscoiattoloindispensa
    May 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

    i honestly don’t know the first thing about Mexican cuisine, but these look good! and I like the fusion with American and British traditions.
    And I love how your recipes are… well, frugal! after all, I am a student on tiny budget! :-)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

      I don’t know that much, but I shall be attempting to find out more! I’m glad that aspect of my blog resonates with you!

  19. Anastasia
    May 25, 2012 at 9:32 am

    We’ve been cooking all sorts of Mexican for the last month – they are perfect for vegetarian, will try your recipe.

  20. tanyamhudson
    May 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    How yummy! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quesadilla with these ingredients, but it sounds fantastic. And your ingredient combination reminds me of the samosas that one of my Indian friends likes to make, filled with potatoes and peas and dipped in mint chutney. :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      It’s a really universal combination – so delicious when put together. thanks, Tanya! 😀

  21. Cara
    May 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    You are ruining my love for mexican food with all the history jargon. Although, “Frugal does Mexican” is making up for it and putting a smile on my face. In all seriousness though (have to first be a jerk, then compliment–keeps you coming back for more), these look unbelievable. I am a big fan of that extra crispy brown on my quesadillas so, in my opinion (which is the only opinion that counts), you made these perfectly!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Oi, don’t diss the jargon! Ah, I do like to deal in smiles. Thanks, Cara – that’s very much appreciated 😀

  22. Viridiana
    May 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    The pictures are amazing and the food looks great, although not a mexican dish, I have never seen such dish in Mexico considering that I am originally from there. However, a very neat idea and smart mix of ingredients to create a new dish. Quesadillas are largely made of the everyday dishes we would eat for dinner by the street vendors with some cheese. Also in some parts of the country quesadillas are exclusively corn or wheat tortillas with cheese. Your food looks delicious and it made me want to try and make my own.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks! I realise it’s not necessarily Mexican, but like I say, it’s in Mexican style. I’ll probably do a more authentic version soon since they were so delicious.

  23. Liz Tesar
    May 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    What a fun combination! These look lovely!

  24. accordingtocarey
    May 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    My family owns a Mexican restaurant here in Northern California (USA) so I can speak for my people that putting potatoes in Mexican dishes in not altogether uncommon, especially regionally. The peas & mint is an interesting fusion of worlds but in the most delicious way!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      I thought that it wasn’t! Potatoes are eaten everywhere anyway. It had to be done, it’s such a great combo.

  25. machisan
    May 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

    They look delightful! great combination!

  26. Karen
    May 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    You said you were going to experiment with potatoes and peas in a quesadilla and you did. You photo is great.

  27. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    May 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Oh this would be so great with guac and beans and sour cream and salsa. Kidding! Looks perfect as is.

  28. Karista
    May 28, 2012 at 6:07 am

    A delightful read and delicious recipe! Oh, and a fabulous picture. Your doing great with your new camera… Makes me want to eat the mint, pea and potato quesadilla right out of the picture. :)

  29. sybaritica
    May 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Wow … Peas and Mint always go well together but I never thought of pairing them both with cheese. Interesting!

  30. Lilly Sue
    May 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    What a fun idea! I always love a new style quesadilla! :-)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Thanks! I shall be doing more soon, I’m sure!

  31. petitedecadence
    May 30, 2012 at 5:26 am

    I love the Frugal does Mexican idea! Let me know if you need ideas/inspirations/have questions or want something from here!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Haha – thanks! If you have any suggestions I’ll happily have a think about them!

  32. Korena in the Kitchen
    May 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Wow, I love these! They sound delicious. You’re right, we are definitely on the same page with this one, interesting flavour combinations and all! And I love the new look you’ve got here :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

      I knew you’d agree! Thanks, Korena! I love my new look too.

  33. statelythings
    May 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    These look UH-mazing!!

  34. debbrunson
    June 3, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Love these photos, and will give this flavor combination a try. Thanks for the post.

  35. Mom Photographer
    June 4, 2012 at 7:22 am

    it’s a brilliant idea! looks so good!

  36. soffiagudrun
    June 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

    hmmm…too interesting not to try…will put it on my to do list on pinterest

  37. Cultural Life
    June 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    They look great! Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines…I look forward to other Mexican-themed culinary posts from you. :)

    • frugalfeeding
      June 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Yes! Mine as well – I’ll try and get another up this week!

  38. Sharrow Vale Kate
    June 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

    This looks so very delicious – might have to be for tea tonight…I’ve started growing mint and become obsessed with it. To save me heading to the shop, do you think creme fraiche would be OK instead of cream? Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      June 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks! My mint is doing so well now. Oh yes, of course 😀

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