Gringa vs Quesadilla: Do You Know These Differences?

The gringa and the quesadilla are two dishes you must try when traveling to Mexico. Read below to learn the properties of these two iconic dishes.

Quick Facts


  • Origin: northern region of Mexico
  • Ingredients: olive oil, cheese, salad, onion, flour tortillas
  • Cooking method: baking 


  • Origin: Spain in the Middle Ages
  • Ingredients: flour tortilla, beans, cheese, avocado, onion 
  • Cooking method: baking 

The 3 Main Differences Between Gringas and Quesadillas

Overall, there are three crucial differences to help you distinguish between these two famous Mexican dishes. 


The gringa is a typical Mexican dish made from flour tortillas and a variety of fillings. Although its origin is still a mystery, this food was first introduced by local residents in Mexico’s northern border region.

The quesadilla was invented in Spain in the Middle Ages. After the Spaniards immigrated to Mexico in the 16th century, they popularized this dish. Now, it is one of the most famous dishes in Mexico.



  • 3 1⁄2 ounces achiote paste 
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles 
  • 4 tablespoons canning sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil 
  • Thinly sliced pork shoulder 
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Sliced pineapple 
  • 20 warm flour tortillas
  • Shredded Oaxaca or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa verde or salsa roja


  • 1 whole-grain flour tortilla 
  • ½ cup freshly cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup black beans or pinto beans 
  • 1 tablespoon red bell pepper 
  • 3 thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion or green onion
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño 
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil 
  • Salsa, pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro, or any other desired topping

Cooking method

To make a traditional gringa: 

  • First, put the paste, chili, sauce, and water in a blender. Then, blend until smooth to make the sauce. 
  • Dip the meat in the sauce.
  • Place the meat on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  • Pour olive oil into the pan, grill the meat over high heat until the meat is cooked evenly. Grill each side for about 1 minute. 
  • After the meat is cooked, cut it into equal pieces or slices. 
  • Place the sliced pineapple in the pan, and bake until golden brown. 
  • Place the sliced meat on a flour tortilla, and spread the shredded cheese on top. Cover with another flour tortilla. 
  • Heat the gringa until the cheese is melted and the outside is golden brown. 
  • Decorate the cake with different toppings like pineapple, chopped cilantro, sour cream, green or red salsa, or avocado.

To make a quesadilla:

  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Place a tortilla in the frying pan for about 30 seconds. Continue frying the other side. 
  • Sprinkle cheese on the tortilla.
  • Prepare the fillings, including bell pepper, onion, paprika, and shredded cheese.
  • Place the fillings on the fried tortilla. Cover with another tortilla to form a complete quesadilla.
  • Brush the top of the tortilla with olive oil, place in the pan, and continue frying until golden on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Place it on a plate and cut it into pieces.
  • Garnish with any topping or any sauces you like. 

3 Healthy Quesadilla Recipes

Fresh vegetable quesadilla

This is one of the healthiest recipes. Fill the inside with fresh vegetables. Then, don’t forget to add toppings like tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini for a healthy quesadilla full of nutritious ingredients. 

Low-carb spinach and feta quesadilla

This recipe uses critical ingredients like spinach, feta cheese, and mushrooms to make a flavorful, low-calorie meal. Paired with Carb Balance Soft Taco Flour Tortillas, this version is sure to become your favorite healthy meal.

Apple and turkey quesadilla

This is the perfect choice for a healthy and delicious lunch. It’s made from white corn tortillas, thinly sliced apples, cheddar, and turkey. This nutritious combination is sure to satisfy even the most demanding diners. 


How many calories are in a cheese quesadilla?

This version is made mainly from olive oil, flour tortillas, cheddar cheese, or queso blanco. Each 8-inch tortilla contains 146 calories and 3.7 grams of fat. Cheddar cheese contains 211 calories and 17 grams of fat. Overall, this means one cheese quesadilla contains 627 calories and 38.4 grams of fat.

What are the health benefits of gringa?

Gringa contains valuable nutrients for human health. For example, Monterey jack cheese is high in calcium, which helps enhance your bones and teeth. 

Furthermore, one gringa supplies thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B-6, and folate, which provide benefits such as reducing stress, promoting digestion, and enhancing blood circulation.

Can you cook quesadillas in the oven?

The oven is the perfect alternative if you want to make a large batch or if you don’t have access to a stovetop. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place all the pieces as directed on a baking sheet. Then, place it in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the tortilla is browned and the cheese is melted. The cooking time can be faster or slower, depending on the number of cakes.

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The post Gringa vs Quesadilla: Do You Know These Differences? first appeared in Mama Say What?!

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