Makes 4

Za’atar Courgette & Bigilla Quesadilla with Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa

From Ainsley’s Taste of Malta, ITV

These simple-to-make vegetarian quesadilla are packed with flavour and are great for a light lunch or supper. The crisp tortilla makes a delicious change from an ordinary sandwich and the filling is jazzed up with delicious Maltese ingredients and aromatic Levantine flavours. Bigilla is a dip made from dried ‘fava’ beans or tic beans and flavoured with marjoram, mint, garlic and sometimes chilli. It’s a Maltese speciality that’s often served as an appetiser with crackers. It’s difficult to get here so swap for your favourite hummus, bean dip or refried beans. If vegan, just swap the cheeses for dairy free alternatives.


First make the salsa. Put the sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper, chilli, garlic, coriander, sugar and a pinch of salt in a mini food processor and pulse until you have a textured sauce. Stir in a little olive oil and add lemon juice and extra seasoning to taste. Set aside.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Put the courgette slices in a bowl and drizzle the with a little olive oil. Cook for 1 minute on each side or until chargrilled. Remove from the heat and season with a little salt and pepper.

Lay out 4 tortillas on your work surface or board. Spoon and spread 1-2 tbsp of bigilla onto each the tortillas, creating a large circle in the centre but leaving a small gap at the edges. Over one half of the circle spread or dot half a tablespoon of fresh gbejna or goat’s cheese. Sprinkle pine nuts and olives over the goat’s cheese and arrange courgette slices on top. Sprinkle over some za’atar, pul biber and herbs. Finish with a scattering of grated cheese. Fold over the other tortilla half and brush the top lightly with oil.

Put the griddle pan back over a medium heat and then place one or two quesadilla oiled side down in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Brush the top of the tortilla lightly with oil and then carefully flip over to cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes until lightly crisp and golden and the cheese has melted. Keep warm while you cook the remaining quesadilla.

Cut each tortilla into two and serve alongside the salsa.



  • For the Quesadilla
  • 2 courgettes, trimmed, sliced thinly with a peeler
  • light olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 small- medium corn tortillas
  • 4-8 tbsp Maltese bigilla, refried beans or hummus
  • 4 tbsp soft fresh gbejna or soft goat’s cheese
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 8 black olives, pitted, sliced
  • za’atar, for sprinkling
  • pul biber or dried chilli flakes, for sprinkling
  • small handful mint and coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 60g cheddar or similar hard melting cheese, grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa
  • 6-7 sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 50g) in oil, drained, patted dry of excess oil
  • 1 roasted red pepper (approx. 85g), from a jar (or roast your own, skin removed, deseeded), roughly chopped
  • ½ - 1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic, bashed
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • ½ lemon for squeezing