Recipe courtesy of Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith

Topless Crispy Quesadilla with Cilantro Pesto and Mango Mojo on a Bed of Greens

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Cilantro Pesto:

1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lime Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon Cilantro Pesto

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Mango Mojo:

1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch salt


4 small flour tortillas

1 (12-ounce) package queso anejo

1 head Boston lettuce, washed and roughly torn

1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and roughly torn



Roughly chop the cilantro, making sure not to get too much of the stem. Place it in the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic, crushed red pepper, and coriander. With the processor running, add the oil in a slow stream. Let the processor run for about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine. Set aside.


Pour the lime juice into the cleaned bowl of the processor. Add the Cilantro Pesto and, with the processor running, add the oil in a slow stream. Process until the vinaigrette emulsifies. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse. Set aside.


Place all the ingredients into the cleaned bowl of the processor and run until smooth. Set aside.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread a generous amount of pesto on each of the 4 tortillas, making sure that you spread the pesto almost to the edge of each tortilla. Shred a generous amount of the queso onto each tortilla. Spray a small saute pan with cooking spray and set it over moderately high heat for 2 minutes (you want to make sure the pan is very hot). Place 1 tortilla, cheese side up, into the pan and cook, shaking occasionally, for 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other 3 tortillas. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

As the quesadillas are cooking, toss the lettuces together in a large bowl with 1/2 of the vinaigrette (reserve the rest for pork loin dish). Mound the salad onto 4 plates. Remove the quesadillas from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and slice each into 4 pieces. Surround the salad with the 4 slices and drizzle with the Mango Mojo. Serve immediately.

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