Thai Vegetable Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto
Meet our new favorite quesadilla. Packed with red peppers, zucchini, napa cabbage and even fresh pineapple, these thai vegetable quesadillas make an awesome weeknight meal. Especially when served with cilantro pesto! Yes yes.
So let me tell you the story of the first time I made these quesadillas.
The husband was out of town for work and he called while I was happily sitting on the couch shoveling these into my face, thinking damn, I’m good. I was a little excited about how they turned out and proceeded to talk for over 10 minutes about how awesome they were. My ability to talk about food is slightly ridiculous.
Anyway, I finally shut up and asked what he had for dinner that night (again with the food talk).
To which he responded that he had gotten a horrible horrible burger from a fast food chain because there were no other options. And then thanked me for talking all about my delicious dinner that he couldn’t partake in. Whoops.
I made up for this by making them at least three times since.
So let’s get down to what’s actually in these babies.
The filling itself is fairly simple. We’ll saute up a ton of veggies – like red onion, red pepper, zucchini and napa cabbage, along with garlic, fresh ginger and a pinch of red pepper. Some fresh diced pineapple is added to the mix, for that pop of sweetness. Because sweet and salty is my jam.
A touch of mozzarella is used just to sort of bind it all together, resulting in crispy and also sort of juicy quesadilla goodness. Is juicy a weird way to describe quesadillas?
We’ll serve them up with a quick and easy cilantro pesto, because I really really like to dip my quesadillas in something. Makes me happy. You can definitely play with the ratio of spinach to cilantro in the pesto. As written it’s just a nice hint of the cilantro since I didn’t want it to be super overpowering.
You may get more quesadillas if you stuff yours less than I do. But I like mine full. I don’t do whimpy quesadillas. No sir.
- 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro (mostly leaves)
- ⅓ cup raw walnut halves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 3 cups sliced napa cabbage
- ½ cup diced fresh pineapple
- 6 large whole wheat flour tortillas
- about 1 ½ cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- Add the spinach, cilantro, walnuts, garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside.
- Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the red onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the pepper, zucchini, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Add in the sliced cabbage and cook until the cabbage just starts to wilt down, about 1 minute or less. Turn off the heat and stir in the pineapple.
- Place a tortilla on a work surface. Spoon some of the veggie mixture on half of the tortilla, leaving a small border around the edge. Top with some of the mozzarella. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling to form a semicircle. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Set a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, place an assembled quesadilla in the pan and cook, flipping once halfway through, until both sides are browned and crispy and the cheese is melted. Repeat this process with the remaining quesadillas.
- Cut into triangles and serve with the pesto on the side for dipping (or even drizzled over the top!).
Cookie Monster Cooking