Caramelized Kimchi Quesadilla

PREP: 15 minutes | YIELD: One quesadilla

Caramelized kimchi adds a touch of sweetness to the funkier, tangy flavors in kimchi. A great way to expose children to fermented foods (and global flavors) is to gradually add them to almost any dish familiar to them, including mac n cheese! Try caramelized kimchi on practically any grilled sandwich, a breakfast burrito or taco, potatoes (including french fries with sriracha mayo), and rice bowls.

Chef Roy Choi of Kogi Korean BBQ, also called the ‘godfather’ of the modern food truck movement, even adds caramelized kimchi to his favorite American foods, like a grilled tuna melt. Choi has also been a long champion of what is now called ‘intuitive’ cooking …. Cooking without measuring out all the ingredients, just tasting as you cook, makes it fun and easy for kids to go with the flow in the kitchen.



  • 2 Corn tortillas* (or Cauliflower tortillas)
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil (grapeseed, avocado, or any neutral oil)
  • 2 slices Cheddar cheese or vegan cheese (about 2 oz. shredded)
  • 1 Egg (or ½ cup egg substitute), fried or scrambled
  • ¼ cup cooked Shredded meat, veggies (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 Tablespoon Furikake seasoning or shredded nori (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Chives or scallions (optional)
  • ¼ cup Caramelized kimchi (see below)
  • ½ avocado
  • Lightly dressed greens (optional)

*Swap out the corn tortillas for a flour tortilla to make a breakfast burrito.

Caramelized Kimchi Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Gochujang red chile paste (optional)
  • 1 cup of favorite Kimchi


Caramelized Kimchi Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the maple syrup, vinegar, (optional) chile paste, and kimchi.
  2. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the kimchi and cook until the liquid reduces to a glaze and the kimchi caramelizes about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Refrigerate leftover kimchi in an airtight container.


Quesadilla Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet, griddle or panini press until it sizzles.
  2. Add a tortilla, a slice of cheese, shredded meat (or veggie mixture), egg, Furikake, chives, and a small amount of caramelized kimchi (caramelized kimchi may also be added while scrambling the egg).
  3. Top with the second slice of cheese and the other tortilla.
  4. Fry on medium-low heat until golden brown and the cheese begins to melt, pressing down slightly on the quesadilla with a pancake turner.
  5. Flip the quesadilla, if using a skillet or griddle, and fry on the other side until the tortilla is golden brown.
  6. Serve with the sliced avocado and the lightly dressed greens.



Leftovers, like leftover pulled pork, roasted veggies, and even leftover fried rice, make great options for this quesadilla.

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