Shrimp and Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla

Cilantro adds its sharp green presence to this quesadilla, which is topped with a sprinkling of brassy ancho chile powder.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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4 large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

3 (6-inch) tortillas or 8-inch tortillas cut to size

1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack

1/4 cup grated white cheddar

3 tablespoons Cilantro Pesto, recipe follows

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 teaspoons sour cream, or to taste

Cilantro Pesto:

2 cups firmly packed cilantro leaves

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Reserve for garnish.
  3. Place 2 tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet, sprinkle half the cheeses and 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto on each, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Stack the 2 layers and cover with the remaining tortilla. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle evenly with ancho chile powder. May be prepared 1 day ahead up to this point and refrigerated. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the tortillas are slightly crisp and the cheese has melted.
  4. Cut into quarters and serve hot, garnished with the shrimp, more pesto, and sour cream.

Cilantro Pesto:

  1. In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, pumpkinseeds, lime juice, salt and pepper. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until sauce is emulsified. May be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.
  2. Yield: 1 cup