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pesto quesadilla side view

Parmesan-Crusted Pesto Quesadillas

In the course of building this blog, I’ve realized two things: 1) I love pesto and 2) I am a snack girl. I love making snacks and appetizers. When it comes to flavorful, simple, and satisfying appetizers, few come close to the quesadilla. And this quick, fusion pesto quesadilla recipe will become a favorite for lunch, dinner, snacks, and any parties that you host. To be 100% transparent, I’m not sure if calling this a quesadilla is even culturally responsible since it’s filled with classic Italian ingredients, but that’s what’s going on here. Flour or spinach (this usually my preference) tortillas are filled with delicious cheese and pesto then pressed/grilled until it’s golden brown and crispy. With the right ingredients and a few simple steps, you can be enjoying a cheesy, flavorful pesto quesadilla in no time.

Your grocery list

To make your own delicious pesto quesadilla, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2 large flour or spinach tortillas
  • ½ cup of your favorite pesto (storebought or make your own)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, colby jack – I prefer a combination of 2 or 3)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment/tools you’ll need

  • Large skillet
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board and knife (for slicing and serving)

pesto quesadilla on spinach tortilla with marinara sauce

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Pesto Quesadillas on the Stove

Your stovetop instructions are as follows:

  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt/spread it around the pan.
  2. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan in the center of the pan and spread it into an even layer so everything cooks at the same rate and no cheese burns in the process.
  3. Place the tortilla on Parmesan then sprinkle mozzarella evenly across the tortilla.
  4. If using, spread a few slices of sun-dried tomato onto the cheese.
  5. Spread pesto onto the other tortilla then press it pesto-side down onto the cheese tortilla in the pan.
  6. Cook until parmesan becomes fragrant and toasted (2-3 minutes) then use a spatula to flip it.
  7. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is toasted
  8. Repeat for each quesadilla you want to make.

NOTE: You can skip the parmesan and toast your quesadilla just in butter or oil for an equally delicious pesto quesadilla.

 

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Pesto Quesadillas in the Oven

Making a delicious pesto quesadilla in the oven is just as easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread ½ cup of pesto on one side of each of the tortillas.
  3. Sprinkle one cup of cheese on top of the pesto on one of the tortillas.
  4. Place the other tortilla, pesto side down, on top of the cheese.
  5. Brush the tops of the tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (optional).
  6. Place the quesadilla on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden brown.
  7. Remove the quesadilla from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing it into wedges.

pesto quesadilla side view

Tips and Tricks to Perfecting Your Pesto Quesadilla

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you perfect your pesto quesadilla:

  • For a crispy crust, try pre-cooking the tortillas in a dry skillet for a few minutes before adding the pesto and cheese.
  • If you want extra flavor, try adding chopped herbs such as fresh basil or dried oregano to the quesadilla.

 

Variations and Substitutions

The great thing about this recipe is that it is very versatile and can be easily adapted to your tastes. Here are a few variations and substitutions to consider:

  • Add sliced sundried tomatoes for an extra layer of flavor.
  • For more vegetables, add spinach or diced broccoli (very small pieces – already blanched or sauteed)
  • For a vegan version, you can use vegan cheese, butter, and pesto.
  • If you don’t like pesto, you can substitute it with your favorite marinara sauce.
  • Substitute the flour tortillas for corn tortillas for a gluten-free option.
  • For a spicier quesadilla, try adding some diced jalapeno peppers or hot sauce.
  • For a more traditional quesadilla, substitute mozzarella for Colby jack and pepper jack cheese, add peppers, cooked chicken, salsa, lettuce, etc.

 

Serving Suggestions

Once your pesto quesadilla has been cooked, the possibilities for serving are endless. Here are a few of our favorite serving suggestions:

  • Serve the quesadilla with a side of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa for a Mexican-inspired meal.
  • Serve the quesadilla with a side of your favorite salad for a light and healthy lunch.
  • Serve the quesadilla as an appetizer with a side of ranch or garlic aioli for dipping.
  • Try topping the quesadilla with some diced tomatoes, black beans, and/or avocado for a flavorful, protein-packed meal.

No matter how you serve it, a pesto quesadilla is sure to be a hit with friends and family. With its cheesy, flavorful goodness, it’s no wonder this dish is a favorite among quesadilla lovers everywhere! So the next time you’re in the mood for a flavorful, satisfying snack or meal, try making your own delicious pesto quesadilla. You won’t be disappointed!


pesto quesadilla side view

Pesto Quesadillas

Lena B.
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 extra large flour or spinach tortillas
  • 2 cups mozzarella
  • ¾ cup pesto
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Optional: sun-dried tomatoes thinly sliced and/or crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • Heat skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt/spread it around the pan. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan in the center of the pan and spread it into an even layer.
  • Place the tortilla on Parmesan then sprinkle mozzarella evenly across the tortilla. If using, spread a few slices of sun-dried tomato onto the cheese. Spread pesto onto the other tortilla then press it pesto-side down onto the cheese.
  • Cook until parmesan becomes fragrant and toasted (2-3 minutes) then use a spatula to flip it. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is toasted.
  • Repeat for each quesadilla you want to make.
  • Serve with marinara.

Notes

  • You can skip the parmesan crust and simply toast the quesadilla in a bit of butter or oil instead.

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