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Quesadillas with Tomato Salsa and Guacamole

Quesadillas are one of the favourite snacks in Mexico. On Sundays in Oaxaca there are little stalls on the streets and squares with women making and selling these delicious stuffed tortillas, they flavoured them with an aromatic leaf called Hoja Santa and shredded chicken and fiery tomato sauce.


Serves 4

8 corn tortillas or 4 wheat flour tortillas

4-8oz (110-225g) mild Cheddar cheese, grated or a mixture of Cheddar and Mozzarella

1onion or 4 scallions

2 green chillies, cut in strips (optional)


Guacamole (see recipe)

Tomato and Coriander Salsa (see recipe)

Heat an iron pan or griddle.

There are two ways of making quesadillas, one resembles a sandwich, the other a turnover.

To make the former, lay a tortilla on the hot pan, put about 1oz (25g) of cheese on top, keeping it a little from the edge, sprinkle a few onion rings and some strips of chilli on top.  Cover with another tortilla. Cook for a minute or two, then carefully turn over.

Serve just as it is or cut into quarters with tomato and coriander salsa and guacamole and perhaps frijoles refritos (refried beans – see recipe).

For the second version, make the quesadillas into turnovers, lay a tortilla on the worktop, put a little filling onto one half, again keeping it in slightly from the edges, fold over and press gently to seal.

Cook for 3 or 4 minutes on a preheated pan or griddle, it should be medium heat, otherwise the outside will burn before the inside is cooked, then stand it up right so that the fold is also cooked. Serve as soon as possible with Tomato Salsa.


Quesadillas with Cheese and Zucchini Blossoms


A favourite filling for quesadillas in Oaxaca is simply grated Oaxacan string cheese (mozzarella is our nearest equivalent) and fresh zucchini blossoms.  Thinly sliced green chilli is sometimes added for extra excitement!

Spicy Chicken or Pork and Slices of Avocado


Add spicy chicken or pork and slices of avocado to the above recipe.

Shredded Chicken or Smoked Chicken, Mango, Brie and Lime


Substitute Brie slices for the cheddar cheese in the above recipe and add some shredded chicken and diced mango and lime.

Cheese Quesadillas with Chorizo


Add some diced Chorizo to the original recipe.

Seafood Quesadillas


Shrimps, prawns or strips of smoked salmon can also be delicious.

Quesadillas with Spicy Chicken, Mozzarella and Coriander


Spread some spicy chicken, mozzarella, chopped scallion and fresh coriander leaves over the tortilla and continue as in original recipe.  Serve and enjoy.

Quesadillas with Chorizo and Spring Onion


Chop some Chorizo, sprinkle over the cheese and scatter some chopped spring onion and perhaps a few slices of chilli.

Experiment and have fun!

Quesadillas with Mozzarella and Tapenade or Pesto

VD (D if tapenade is used)

Makes 8

Serves 16 approximately

16 flour tortillas

8ozs (225g) grated Mozzarella

12-16 tablespoons tapenade or pesto (see recipe)

Heat a heavy wide frying pan.  Lay a tortilla on a chopping board.  Spread with tapenade or pesto.  Sprinkle with grated Mozzarella.  Top with anther tortilla.

Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side on the hot pan.  Transfer to the chopping board and cut into triangles and serve.

We do lots of variations.  Anchoide is also delicious as is Ballymaloe country relish and cheddar cheese.

Tomato and Coriander Salsa


Serves 4-6

In Season: Best in Summer and early Autumn when tomatoes are ripe and juicy.

This sauce is ever present on Mexican tables to serve with all manner of dishes. Salsa's of all kinds both fresh and cooked have now become a favourite accompaniment to everything from pan-grilled meat to a piece of sizzling fish.

4 very ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) red or white onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2-1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped Jalapeno or Serrano

1-2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons) chopped fresh coriander

squeeze of fresh lime juice

Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

Mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.



1 ripe avocado

1-2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) fresh coriander or flat parsley


sprig of flat parsley or watercress

Scoop out the flesh from the avocado.  Mash with a fork, add lime juice, olive oil, chopped coriander, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

This is a recipe by
Darina Allen
View all my recipes

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