Leftover Garlic Mashed Potato Quesadillas

What do you do when you find yourself with leftover mashed potatoes?

Eat it, of course!

Here's one new way you can do that, instead of simply heating it up and eating it plain (not that there's anything wrong with that... mashed potatoes are the best!).

I think I know what some of you are thinking: carbs on carbs.

Some people might cringe at the notion. Others might be salivating.

Others might be thinking, "But you're a dietitian. Don't you think that's too much starch/carbs?" Yes and no.

Yes: if carbs on carbs is something you do for each meal of each day... then that's not so balanced.

No: if you enjoy it occasionally, and especially if the carb sources are complex (vs. simplified) whole-food, unrefined sources. After all, carbohydrates are your brain and muscles' preferred and primary energy source. Why do you think marathon runners "carb up" before races? For that much-needed and sustained energy boost.

Dietitian's Definition: a carbohydrate ("carb") is one of the main nutrients we get from food. They come in two types: complex and simple. Aim to increase intake of complex carbs, found in grains such as rice, pasta,and bread, and in vegetables such as carrots, corn and potatoes. Minimize intake of simple carbs, found in processed granulated and liquid sugars, candy and jams.

This high-carb meal is paired with the whole-food avocado fat source in the guacamole, which will make you feel comfortably full and satisfied for hours. And we shouldn't fail to acknowledge the loaded antioxidant goodness from whatever sautéed vegetables you choose to add.

Although I called this a 'quesadilla', the inspiration came from an Afghan dish my mom makes called "bulani". It's a flour tortilla stuffed with vegetables and often potatoes, fried lightly in oil and served with chutney. So this dish is like the middle-eastern version of the classic quesadilla. Cheers to merging the two ethnic worlds - enjoy!


Leftover Garlic Mashed Potato Quesadillas

Recipe PDF

▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free

Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 20 min

INGREDIENTS: Quesadillas

1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil

3 medium red bell peppers, julienned

2 red onions, julienned

1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil

4 large tortillas (gluten-free, if desired)

2-3 cups (325 g-650 g) garlic mashed potatoes, dairy-free


2 large roma tomatoes, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 lime, juiced (~1 Tbsp or 15 mL)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp chili powder


2 avocados, mashed

1 lime, juiced (~1 Tbsp or 15 mL)

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cumin powder


  1. In a pan, heat 1 tsp vegetable oil on medium-high and add the bell peppers and onions. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water and then the spices, stir to combine. Once water has evaporated, set aside.

  2. Prepare the salsa and guacamole by adding all ingredients to a bowl and mixing. Set aside.

  3. To prepare the quesadillas, spread the mashed potato filling on one half of a tortilla. Add the onion and bell pepper filling on top, and fold the tortilla in half, firmly pressing down. Heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Place two quesadillas in the pan and gently press down with a spatula. Place a lid on the pan to ensure the filling warms up. When the tortillas turns lightly golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes, flip the quesadilla and cook the other side until golden brown.

  4. Repeat this for the other two quesadillas. Remove from the pan, cut, and serve with a side of guacamole, salsa and hot sauce. Enjoy!


  1. ​*Speed-it-up: to speed up this recipe, serve the quesadillas with store-bought salsa and/or guacamole.

  2. Variations: feel free to add your own vegetable fillings including sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, corn, or beans.

  3. Make-ahead: this is a great make-ahead recipe. Prepare the mashed potatoes and filling the day before and place in the fridge. Dinner will be served in under 10 minutes the next day.