Whenever I return to my hometown on the coast of Northern California, I enjoy great food with really fresh ingredients. This recipe was adapted from a lunch special served years ago at a favorite restaurant out there that is unfortunately no longer in business. If you love cilantro like I do, when you make this pesto you’ll probably add it to your favorite recipes. It’s a wonderful vegetarian alternative to the traditional chicken quesadilla. The salsa ingredients are just a guideline. Feel free to add what you enjoy. Sometimes I’ll add jicama or blackberries… whatever looks good and is in season.
Cilantro Pesto Quesadillas with Mango Corn Salsa – Recipe
- 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
- 1 Cup loosely packed parsley
- 3/4 Cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded (optional)
- 1 garlic clove
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Large flour tortillas
In a food processor, pulse cilantro, parsley, pumpkin seeds, jalapeño, lime juice, and garlic clove until blended. With the food processor still running, slowly add the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. These quantities make about 2 cups of pesto, each quesadilla uses about 1/8 cup. Spread 1/8 cup pesto on tortilla, sprinkle with 2 oz. cheese, top with second tortilla and grill both sides.
Mango – Corn Salsa
- 2 parts Mango, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 parts Watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (optional)
- 2 parts Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 parts unsalted corn kernels
- 1/4 part roasted, marinated red peppers, diced
- 1/2 part chopped fresh cilantro
- Fresh lime juice to taste
Combine all salsa ingredients into a bowl and add to top of quesadillas. You may add a diced jalapeño or serrano if you like your salsa spicy too. Serve remainder in a bowl with tortilla chips.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com