Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion

Story by Holly
Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion
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I’m sure I'm not the only person out there whose children start talking about what they want to be for next year’s Halloween two months after Halloween just happened. It's a big obsession in our house. I can't count the number of dinner conversations over the last year that have revolved around what my children want to dress up as at that given moment, and I can't say I mind it one bit. I've always been a big fan of the festivities that bring family and friends together on October 31st, so it's endearing to me that now my children love this day equally as much as I do and we all get to be excited for it together.

They're fun, they're fall, they're delicious, and unexpected.

Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion

I'd like to pretend that my love for this Halloween is rooted in my appreciation for the creative process of deciding what to dress up as, and then executing the design and completion of a homemade costume. I’ve always enthusiastically embraced that challenge and had a lot of fun with it. But, if I'm being completely honest, I'd have to admit that like so many generations before me, I was always in it for the candy! Still to this day I have a hard time not sifting through my children's candy bucket and organizing it all just like I did so many years ago. I'd return home from a long night of trick or treating, and immediately dump out my pillowcase filled with pounds of candy and just sort like the wild child I was. The struggle was, and is, real. Only now, I've realized that my obsession with Halloween and Halloween candy has segued into an obsession with what I am going to make and eat on Halloween evening, as the trick or treaters come and go and friends and family linger at the house.

Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion

For some years now, my favorite appetizer to serve on or around Halloween has been these butternut squash quesadillas. They're fun, they're fall, they're delicious, and unexpected. I wrote about their origin a while back on the blog, but I've since made a few changes to the recipe and really love the this version even more so I wanted to share it again.

Whether you make these for lunch, dinner, or on Halloween night, they're sure to please your crowd (however big or small), they're quesadillas after all...and who doesn't love a good quesadilla? The addition of butternut squash not only makes these healthier, it makes them seasonally appropriate and is still mild enough to not be off putting to even the pickiest eaters, while remaining interesting to the most refined palates. Packed with flavor, and nutrition, they're the perfect food to balance all those pieces of candy you sneak from your kids. Shhh…...

Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion

Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion

Serves 4

Chipotle Crema

1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp chipotle hot sauce


1 large (or 2 small) onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp brown sugar
3 cups butternut squash, cubed (roughly 2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups black beans (optional)
8 10" flour tortillas
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 avocado thinly sliced for serving
cilantro for serving
tomatillo salsa for serving


  1. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and begin to caramelize. Adjust heat to medium-low if the onions are browning too quickly. Complete caramelization will take about 30 mins, so feel free to do this step ahead of time.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F .
  3. While onions are caramelizing peel and cube butternut squash into ¾ inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat, and roast until soft about 15 minutes.
  4. To assemble quesadillas sprinkle ½ cup cheese on one half of each tortilla. Layer on onions and butternut squash. Sprinkle it with ¼ cup more cheese and fold it over.
  5. Heat ½ tbs of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over med-low heat. Gently lay prepared quesadillas into oil and cook until cheese is melted, flip to the other side and cook until tortilla is golden brown. Replenish the oil and repeat with remaining quesadillas.
  6. To make the crema, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle on top of quesadilla before serving. Serve with avocado and cilantro with tomatillo salsa on the side.