Whole Wheat Quesadilla


I hate to say this, but I have to admit that I always run out of lunch box ideas. The kids as they are, get bored very quickly with any dish that goes into their lunch box.

Did I say I hate? But I do love to think about food and the various options it has to offer. How about a dish from the Mexican cuisine, transformed into a simple lunch box idea? Nutritious and at the same time versatile and tasty too. The love-hate relationship with food will never end. At least for me!

My latest pick is the Whole Wheat Quesadilla.

This is what Wikipedia says “A quesadilla is a flour tortilla or a corn tortilla filled with a savory mixture containing cheese, other ingredients, and/or vegetables, then folded in half to form a half-moon shape”.

The curiosity starts with its name. It is pronounced as ‘cay-suh-dee-yuh ‘ with both the l’s silent. The tortillas (again pronounced ‘tor-tee-ya’) can be made with any flour (wheat or corn). You can choose to add any number of veggies and/or beans. To top it off, add cheese or paneer. Wow! How creative can it get?

I chose to make mine with regular rotis as tortillas (with whole wheat flour) and vegetables and cheese for the filling.

It’s already more than a week, the quesadillas have been going into their lunch boxes and they have asked me to make it for the next week too. I’m sure it’s a winner with my D&D. But if I follow their orders, they are sure to get bored with it soon. I have decided to make it as rare as possible so that this doesn’t happen.


For the dough

Whole wheat flour – 2 cups

Salt – to taste

Water – as required

Oil – 2 teaspoons

For the filling

Onions – 1 small (finely chopped)

Tomato – 1 medium (finely chopped)

Capsicum – 1 cup (finely chopped)

Carrot – 1 cup (finely chopped)

Cheese – 2 teaspoons (grated)

Salt – to taste

Oil – as required

Mix the flour, oil and salt. Add water gradually and make soft, non-sticky dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Sauté the vegetables with salt on a high flame (cooking veggies on an open pan on a high flame tends to retain their colour and crunch). You can choose to add your favourite spices, or if you want to stay true to the dish’s Mexican roots, add oregano and chilli flakes saved from your previous pizza order.

quesadilla veggies raw

quesadilla veggies saute

Take lemon sized balls from the dough and roll them out into thin rotis. Heat a non-stick pan / iron skillet. Toss the roti onto the hot pan and wait until bubbles appear on top. Turn the roti with hands/spatula and wait till the other side gets light brown spots. Now the roti is half done, if you want to make it puffy (like how I do), quickly toss it onto an open (high) flame and wait till it puffs up. Otherwise you can choose to smear some oil and continue cooking the roti on tawa till it gets golden brown spots. Now your tortilla is ready.

quesadilla roti raw

quesadilla roti

quesadilla roti ready

Keep the skillet with the prepared tortilla on a low flame and spread out the grated cheese on it. Wait for a few seconds until the cheese melts. Spread the prepared filling onto one half of the tortilla and fold it. Keep a heavy mug on top and roast it till crisp ensuring that the flame is low all through. Turn it gently and let the other side get crisp in the same way. Your quesadilla is ready! Cut it to your desired shape and am sure kids will drool over it.

quesadilla grated cheese

quesadilla cheese

quesadilla process

quesadilla 2

Know Your Ingredient

KYI whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour is the powdered form of the whole grain of wheat. The term ‘whole’ means that the complete grain including the germ, bran and endosperm are included so that the nutrients are intact even after the process of grinding it into flour. On the other hand, in refined flours only the endosperm is used and that may also be bleached to attain a lighter shade. This is the flour normally used in breads, cakes and various other dishes. Using whole wheat makes a lot more sense (at least to me!) because of its nutritional advantage. It is a rich source of magnesium and various other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in insoluble fibre making it a healthier choice for people who keep a watch on their diet.

Roti is a staple food in most Indian homes. So it is best to buy the whole grain and grind it in a nearby flour mill. If you don’t have access to any flour mills like here in India, go ahead and buy whole wheat flour off the shelf. Just make sure it says 100% whole wheat (or some other term which means the same). Check the ingredient list to see if it contains whole wheat as the main ingredient. Never go by any other fancy term like stone-ground, enriched etc.

Type Grain
Form Powder
Storage Whole wheat flour can be stored in a clean and dry place for about a couple of months. It gets rancid quickly. If you need to store it for a longer time, keep in airtight packs and refrigerate or freeze up to a year.
Usage Always keep it moisture free.
Tips While making healthy choices for your family, replace or combine refined/all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes. Just ensure that you add more water and knead the dough for a longer time to make the dough nice, soft and light.

Sprouted Horse Gram Salad

horse gram salad1

Sprouted Horse Gram Salad

Our menu always has some kind of salad everyday. To make the preparation easier and to introduce some variety, I’ve made it a practice to sprout different legumes in bulk and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Though the kids don’t like them in their original form, I try to hide them in a salad, or disguise them as kebabs or as stuffings inside dosa or roti.

The horse gram is mostly used as horse fodder, and it is believed to give the consumer ‘horse power’. May be that’s too much to say but the benefits of horse gram are needless to list here; and sprouting it only adds to the nutrition. It is known for its medicinal properties in Indian Ayurveda. It helps weight watchers as it is rich in calcium, iron and protein while being low on calories. It also helps lower cholesterol and is known to treat various medical conditions like renal stones, piles, cold, cough and fever.


Sprouted horse gram : 1 cup

Onions : 1 small (finely chopped)

Tomatoes : ½ (finely chopped)

Green capsicum : ½ (finely chopped)

Almonds : 3 or 4 (sliced)

Salt and freshly ground pepper : to taste

Coriander leaves : to garnish

Steam the sprouts in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes and toss with all the other ingredients, and you have a very nutritious and crunchy salad. The almonds add the nice crunch to the salad, but if you don’t like them with the other ingredients, you can always skip them.

It’s better to steam the sprouted legumes to make them easy on the tummy. Got to keep this in mind when you are giving it to kids. If you would like to use the legume as it is (soaked but unsprouted), you will need to cook it for longer (about 30-40 minutes).

How to make sprouts:

Wash and soak the horse gram in water for about 8 hours. Drain the water, tie it up in a clean muslin cloth, and hang this cloth bag in a cool, well lit place for another 8 hours. The gram would have sprouted by now.

sprouted horse gram

You can store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Sprouted Horse Gram

Type Legume
Form Sprouted
Storage If kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it would stay fresh for a week -10 days.
Usage Best to use a dry spoon
Tip Sprouted legumes have high moisture content. They can be frozen to extend their shelf life.

Horse gram tends to have many impurities. Before washing it, look for and remove any small stones. To be on the safer side, wash it twice or more before using. Even the sprouts are best washed before using.

The rules for buying are the same as for buying any other legumes. Watch closely for bugs and holes, and avoid packets with a powdery residue. Once bought, they can be stored in their own packing inside an airtight container (to avoid moisture) and they will stay fresh for months together.

Aloo Chaat

Aloo Chaat

Aloo Chaat

My daughters (D&D) are very fond of street food. These two little ladies somehow don’t find the food available on the streets any more ‘spicy’ compared to the home made half-a-chilli veg curry (though if I added a little more than half-a-chilli in their curry, they would cry foul and bring the house down!).

So thought would make some street style food with the available (of course healthy) ingredients. (I cannot compromise on the health part. Sometimes, I myself feel I’m overdoing this part but I just can’t help it.)


  • A few roasted papads – broken into small pieces
  • Soaked and boiled channa – 1/2 cup
  • Left over aloo curry – 2 tbsp
  • Green chutney (mint, coriander and half-a-chilli) – 3 tsps
  • Peanuts – a handful
  • Finely chopped onion – 1 medium
  • Finely chopped tomatoes – 1 medium
  • Grated carrot – 1 small

For garnishing:

  • Chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Sev (ompudi) – optional

Assemble everything on a plate, mix in the green chutney and add the garnish, and you are ready to go. Call it anything – papad masala, channa chat, aloo chat, or whatever other name you fancy. My little girls loved it!