Made with a homemade pico de gallo, plenty of fresh veggies, tuna, and (of course) plenty of cheese, these Tex-Mex Tuna Melt Quesadillas are a great option for a summertime lunch or dinner, or even a nice appetizer when paired with some fresh fruits or other finger foods. Just serve with some fresh salsa or guacamole and you’re in for a treat!
Last week was really busy and when dinnertime came around I was left a bit unprepared. I hadn’t taken meat out to defrost and it was getting close to time to grocery shop. I live for moments like these, because I challenge myself to create something new. So often we say that there’s nothing to eat, when in fact there is plenty, it’s just not our normal favorites. I grabbed some veggies, some tuna, and a handful of other ingredients and decided to make some tuna quesadillas. At first I wasn’t sure where I was going with his, I started by making a variation of pico de gallo, then added some spinach, tuna, garlic and black beans. Three cheeses, and even whipped up some quick guacamole.
This was good. Like, really good. So good I had to make them again two days later, even after we went grocery shopping. And… the 10 year old loved it! Just a warning, he does like spicy foods, so it may have a little too much of a kick for your little ones. However, this isn’t “burn your mouth spicy” or even super noticeably hot. Just a nice little kick.
The “kick” comes from the bit of jalapeño that’s diced up in the pico de gallo. If it’s too spicy for you, replace with diced green chilies, or just forgo that part completely. Feel free to make this recipe your own, if you don’t like cilantro, replace with parsley. I’d love to see your own creations and interpretations. Feel free to tag me on social media or comment here with your own changes or thoughts.
I just love the freshness of the pico de gallo paired with the tuna and spinach, and the fact that it’s IN the quesadilla rather than dipping the quesadilla into the pico de gallo. It’s fun way to flip a meal!
The addition of beans and spinach was simply to add some protein and make this meal a bit more filling since I was serving it for dinner instead of, say, spaghetti. I have some growing boys, so any way I can add some protein or healthy fats, I try to do just that.
This quesadilla has three types of cheeses, simply because I love how they melt and how they taste together. Replace with whatever cheeses you favor or what you have on hand. That’s the beauty of recipes, don’t be afraid to make changes based on what you have on hand or your own likes and dislikes.
This recipes makes four quesadillas, so when filling the tortillas with cheese and filling, be sure to split everything into four. When I make quesadillas I prefer to fold the tortilla in half rather than place two tortillas on top of each other. I like the hard edge of the fold, it holds everything in and I usually cut my quesadilla with a pizza cutter.
For quesadillas and grilled cheese I always use my favorite grill pan, and I always add a bit of salted butter to it to grill the quesadilla or sandwich in. It gives a beautiful golden color to the outside and adds a bit of oomph to the flavor.
HELPFUL TOOLS FOR Tex-Mex Tuna Melt Quesadillas / ITEMS PICTURED:
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- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup nacho sliced jalapeños, drained and chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- one can tuna in water, drained
- ¼ cup chopped baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed, lightly smashed
- 4 eight inch flour tortillas
- ⅓ cup Monterey Jack Cheese
- ⅓ Cup Mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup Pepper Jack Cheese
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- serve with sour cream and salsa or guacamole
- In a small/medium bowl add the diced tomato, diced yellow onion, chopped jalapeños, cilantro, lime zest + lime juice. Stir until well combined.
- Add the minced garlic, the drained tuna, the chopped spinach and the drained and smashed black beans. Mix it all up.
- In each tortilla. add some of the cheese to half of the tortilla, then ¼ of the tuna filling, then top with remaining cheese.
- Close the tortilla, folding in half.
- Melt about ¾ tablespoon of butter on a grill pan over medium. Once butter has melted and spread, add the quesadilla. Cook on one side until lightly golden (about 2 minutes), then flip over to other side and continue to cook until lightly golden (about 2 minutes).
- Remove from heat (quesadillas will be hot!) and allow to cool for a minute or two.
- Place on cutting board, and cut into 3 or 4 slices with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
- Serve with salsa + sour cream or guacamole. Enjoy!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE “Clean out the fridge” meal?
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