Entrees/ Recipes

Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Mushroom Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto sitting on table



How do you feel about cilantro? Because if you’re a cilantro hater, you may want to avert your eyes. (Or maybe run in terror?) These Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas have a generous helping of cilantro pesto on them. So you’ve been warned, okay?

Personally, I love cilantro. I never really got all passionate hatred directed towards this inoffensive little herb. I mean, I’m sure there are people who hate basil or oregano. But they don’t make a thing out of it. And cilantro hating is most definitely a thing. There’s even an I Hate Cilantro website.

Cilantro Pesto & Quesadilla Assembly
Well, apparently it’s a matter of genetics. Cilantro haters taste soap when they eat cilantro. It’s a genetic predisposition, something they’re born with. There are other explanations too, though–some of the molecules that form the aroma of cilantro are also molecules found in both lye (soap!) and insects. Interestingly, crushing cilantro leaves converts these molecules into other substances which makes them inoffensive to cilantro haters. So cilantro pesto? Should be totally cool with both cilantro haters and cilantro lovers alike.

Of course, if you hate cilantro with a passion, it might be too much to ask to even put you in the same room with fresh cilantro, let alone make it into a pesto. But this cilantro pesto is worth taking a chance on. Its bright, fresh (and spicy!) flavor takes an ordinary veggie quesadilla recipe and makes it something worth blogging about. In fact, I’m so in love with this pesto that it might be making some more appearances on Oh My Veggies very soon!

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Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Mushroom and Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro pesto adds a fresh, spicy flavor to these easy veggie quesadillas.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 quesadillas

Ingredients

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 c. cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1/4 c. raw walnuts
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 jalapeรฑo pepper, seeds removed and halved
  • Salt to taste

Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas

  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 batch cilantro pesto
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese
  • Salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges for serving

Instructions

For Cilantro Pesto:

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until mixture is well-combined and reaches a pesto-like consistency.

For Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas:

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet at medium-high heat. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes or until softened but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spread half of each tortilla with pesto. Divide vegetables and cheese onto pesto-side of tortillas and fold in half.
  3. Wipe out skillet. Heat on medium and cook quesadillas, two at a time, about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and slightly crispy. (If you prefer, you can use a grill instead.) Cut each quesadilla in half and serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 quesadilla

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61 Comments

  • Reply
    Allison
    May 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

    People who hate cilantro are crazy. I love cilantro. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus it has wonderful health benefits as well!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

      I love cilantro too! I’m growing it in the garden this year, so I plan on posting LOTS of cilantro recipes this summer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways
    May 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I know some people have that genetic thing that alters the taste, but luckily my husband and I both like cilantro! Unfortunately, I have already killed our cilantro plant ๐Ÿ™

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Were you growing the cilantro in the sun or in the shade? The instructions with the plant say to plant it in full sun, but someone told me to plant it in the shade instead and so far so good! Before this, I’ve never had luck with cilantro either.

      • Reply
        Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways
        May 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        I had it potted and sitting in the shade on our back patio. We bought it at a plant sale from an organic farm, and I tried to follow their instructions. I think the water wasn’t draining adequately.

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits
    May 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I love everything about this. And I am a cilantro luva. for sure.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Have you tried cilantro pesto before? This was my first time making it and zomg, it is so good! I just want to slather it on everything.

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    May 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas with cilantro delivered to my house tonight would be perfect! Wow this sounds so good. Love it!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

      I haven’t figured out the whole blog-to-house delivery service yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    May 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I love cilantro! Just made guac last night and while the kiddos turned up their nose at the “green stuff” I was happy to eat it all. And cilantro pesto is one of my favorites!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

      I have never had guacamole! Or avocado. I have some weird food avoidance issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    myfudo
    May 18, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Cheesy Mexican Quesadillas are my favorite. I am excited to try this new greeny/herby version. Thanks for the post.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Originally my plan was to just make these with the cheese and pesto–I threw the veggies in at the last minute!

  • Reply
    Lisa Marie @ MidwestVeg
    May 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

    First of all, those quesadillas look darn good! Second, I was actually planning on grilling some quesadillas this weekend. I was planning to do grilled corn or something. Your cilantro pesto just might be the perfect addition to grilled quesadilla night. MMM!

    I’d seriously hate it if I was one of those people who couldn’t eat cilantro. One of my absolute favorite taco toppings is cilantro paired with chopped onion. Taco night just wouldn’t be the same.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      I hope you like it if you make it! I loved it so much I actually ate some of it with a spoon. Not one of my finer moments. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Lisa Marie @ MidwestVeg
        May 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm

        I made it tonight and used it in quesadillas filled with grilled chipotle glazed corn and potatoes. It was awesome! I’m hoping to blog it by Monday. Thanks for the great recipe!

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          May 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

          So glad you liked it! Chipotle glazed corn? So hungry right now.

          And I made your scones today! With strawberries because they were on sale & blueberries weren’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They were delicious & I’m going to post about them on Friday!

  • Reply
    Smedette
    May 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

    My Husband is a cilantro-hater! Makes him gag and he totally tastes soap.

    I however, will add it to just about anything.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      I think I could add it to anything too. My latest kick is to put lots and LOTS of it in soup instead of other greens. Even in (not) chicken noodle soup. So good.

  • Reply
    Natalie
    May 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve heard of the soap thing but didn’t know crushing the cilantro might help – interesting! Fortunately, I love cilantro, and love the sounds of this quesadilla!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Yes, I love cilantro crushed, chopped, or whole–any way I can get it. ๐Ÿ˜€ I feel sorry for the people who taste soap when they eat it!

  • Reply
    Shirley
    May 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I think I occupy middle ground — I like cilantro in small doses, but I don’t hate it or love it. I also feel like homemade salsa isn’t complete without it. If anything, it’s mushrooms I have issues with, but I’d gobble the rest of the quesadilla! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Ha! Yes, I think mushrooms are like cilantro in that they are very polarizing–maybe not quite as much as cilantro, but it seems like people either love them or hate them.

  • Reply
    Toni @ Red Carpet Mama
    May 19, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Yep, I’ll definitely be trying this. It’s got a lot of my favorite “tastes” in it.

  • Reply
    gem
    May 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Those sure look yummy! i love how quesadillas are so versatile – you can put just about anything in them!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      One of my favorite quesadilla recipes (which I never make anymore because I’m trying to lose weight–ha!) has sliced bananas, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and sugar in it. So yes, they are definitely versatile–you can even use them for desserts!

  • Reply
    Courtney Rae Jones
    May 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I looooooove cilantro!!! But I know so many people that hate it and won’t go anywhere near it. My boyfriend actually calls it the “black hole of taste”. *HAH* I personally love it in salads, salsa, curries etc. These quesadillas look perfect! Cilantro pesto sounds ah-maz-ing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Yes, and people who hate it just haaaaaate it. I can’t think of any other food that people hate so passionately! I’m with you though, I’d put it on anything.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    i heart cilantro!!! and those shroom and zuke quesadillas loook sooooo goood. i think i am biased coz cilantro probably just runs in my blood being indian:)

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Thank you! You know, I don’t know that I can recall ever having cilantro in Indian food–I’m sure I have and I’m just forgetting about it though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Reply
        [email protected]
        May 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        it is used more liberally back home in india. i think it gets phased out here for taste preferences:)

        Please do drop by the Auction fundraiser to help VSPCA,India on my blog, to bid or share. Shipping is available in US, India, and some international. They arean amazing org working to rescue all animals, provide sanctuary, and also help feed vegan meals to the homeless. Thanks a bunch!
        http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/p/fundraiser-for-vspca.html

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          May 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

          Yeah, that’s what I figured. I’m sure a lot of the Indian food here isn’t exactly authentic. ๐Ÿ™‚ Going to check out your auction right now…

  • Reply
    Katie
    May 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    mushrooms, zucchini, cilantro & pesto are some of my favorite things – I pinned this to use soon!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for pinning this! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am totally on a cilantro pesto kick right now–I want to put it on everything I eat!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    May 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I love love love Cilantro! These look just delish!

  • Reply
    CulinarilyCourtney
    May 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Cilantro pesto sounds awesome! I am definitely a cilantro lover…I made cornbread to have with chili once and added some cilantro to the batter and it tasted amazing, so I believe it would taste good in almost anything ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 21, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Ooh, cornbread with cilantro in it sounds so good!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    May 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I love cilantro too, although when I make a dish for a group of people, I’ll sometimes leave it out in case there’s a cilantro-hater in the group who wouldn’t be able to eat it. I think the jalapeno and lime are the perfect ingredients to go in a cilantro pesto, and it sounds like it would be perfect in those quesadillas too!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

      I think there are even some Mexican restaurants that will leave cilantro out of their salsa and other dishes for the same reason!

  • Reply
    Anne
    May 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I love cilantro! Unfortunately my husbIand is a hater, so I can’t use it in cooking. He literally can’t even eat a dish with cilantro on it.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Well, supposedly if you crush the cilantro leaves, it changes the flavor that cilantro haters are so turned off by. Maybe you could sneak some cilantro into your cooking that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Maureen @ Wisconsin Mommy
    May 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Sounds delicious!!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Bakerita
    May 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Mmm, I love cilantro, so I’m definitely not anti this dish. It looks absolutely amazing! I love zucchini too, so I cannot wait to try this.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Zucchini is so awesome because you can add it to just about anything. Asian, Italian, Mexican–it all works with zucchini!

  • Reply
    BusyWorkingMama
    May 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

    You had me at cilantro pesto. YUM!!! I’ve always just used basil to make pesto.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      May 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Cilantro and parsley both make really good pesto too!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    July 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I was looking for my original comment to add to and can’t find it. So either I didn’t comment when you first posted this (how is that possible?) or it’s disappeared. Either way, I made this tonight and it was amazing! The first thing my husband said when he got home is, “Are you making me eat vegetarian again?” I told him I was and he was going to love it and he did. This was so good and we didn’t have any leftover! We like spicy food and even with deseeding and deveining the jalapeno, ours was still spicy. I’m hoping next time our pepper doesn’t have quite as much spice and we can give some to Cakes to try too!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      It disappeared. ๐Ÿ™ Did I tell you about that? When I switched to my new host, I had this period for almost a week where my blog was going between the old host and the new host. Like, sometimes it was hosted by the old one, sometimes by the new one. So a lot of comments left during that back-and-forth time disappeared when my blog finally settled at InMotion.

      But anyway! I’m so glad you liked it! This is one of Chris’s favorite recipes too. You know what’s strange, normally I never de-vein & de-seed my jalapenos because they’re so mild, but every one I’ve bought over the past few months has been SO spicy. There was one I used a few weeks ago and my fingers burned for days after cutting it. So something is making jalapenos stronger lately, I swear!

      • Reply
        Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
        July 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        I think the peppers are spicier because of the extreme heat/lack of rain this year – they’re angry. Apparently that’s the difference between hot and mild Hatch peppers – the amount of water they receive.

  • Reply
    Erica
    June 3, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I just had this and it’s absolutely delicious!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Mel
    July 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Can you freeze these once they are cooked? 6 is too many for my family but I LOVE the idea of making a batch, then freezing the remaining.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I’ve never tried freezing quesadillas. While it definitely could work, zucchini and mushrooms aren’t the best when it comes to freezing and thawing–they tend to release a lot of water and while in some recipes, it doesn’t matter too much, with these quesadillas, they could get really soggy. You could always make the recipe in half or have them two days in a row, making all the filling on the first day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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