What’s not to love about quesadillas? Their ooey-gooey cheesiness is adored by most everyone, including my family, and this meatless version of quesadillas is one of our favorites. When my kids get a vote for dinner, this is one of the first dishes they mention. How’s that for an endorsement?
The pear salsa totally makes this dish. It’s not the mouth-on-fire type of hot salsa that my husband loves to dip with his chips. No, we’re talking sweet, juicy pears that are well-matched to the amount of heat and spice in the jalapeño and black pepper. More like a sweet heat that’s very family-friendly. And the addition of mint is killer. Unexpected, yes, but it gives the salsa a bright, fresh flavor. When paired with the smooth, creamy melted monterey jack (sprinkled with a few savory green onions), you have a match made in heaven. I know, I know, it sounds dramatic, but come to my house and see how much my kids love these quesadillas. They shovel them in like there is no tomorrow. (Full disclosure: I’ve been guilty of shoveling them in, too.)
P.S. Yes, we usually eat these as a quick and easy dinner, but they work equally well as a crowd-pleasing appetizer for guests. Feel free to use any pear you like in the salsa, but I’ve found that d’anjou pears are a little firmer (even when ripe) and hold up better to the acidity of the lime juice.
3 cups chopped, peeled pears (ripe but still firm)
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ – ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
8 medium-sized tortillas
2-3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (depending on how much you like cheese)
½ cup chopped green onions
Cooking spray or olive oil
Combine pears through jalapeno pepper in a small bowl. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to a few hours.
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Lightly oil or spray skillet. Add one tortilla, ¼ of cheese, ¼ of green onions and top with another tortilla. Gently press down on tortillas until the cheese starts to melt. Cook until lightly browned and flip over to brown other side. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese and green onions.
Cut tortillas into eighths and serve with pear salsa.