Real California Cheese Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas

 What better way to support strong bones & a healthy body than to get calcium and protein into your diet with...CHEESE! Check out my “Real California Cheese” Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas for a sophisticated spin on quesadillas!  

If you’re a cheese lover like myself, you’d know that the key to the perfect quesadilla is the cheese! Instead of using just one kind of cheese for quesadillas, I like to use a Real California Milk shredded Mexican cheese blend for the filling. This blend typically combines the tart flavor of Monterey Jack, the rich flavor of sharp cheddar, and the mild flavor of Colby Jack. Getting to experience a blend of cheeses really adds flavor and variety, not to mention extra cheesy goodness!

As a Californian, I buy products with the Real California Milk seal because I know our state’s dairy products are produced the right away and are of the highest quality. When you buy cheese with a Real California Milk seal, you’re assured that you’re purchasing cheese made exclusively with Real California Milk by real cheese makers.   
       
Lucky for me (and you), I developed the perfect combination of quesadilla ingredients to knock your socks off AND to highlight Real California Cheese. The icing on the cake? Real California Fromage blanc! I had some extra in the fridge and thought, why not? It totally made this dish special.

Although the Real California cheeses have my heart, the epazote pesto also makes this quesadilla pop.  If you can’t find epazote, you can exclusively use fresh basil instead.

Pro Tip: before using adding the basil to the food processor: remove the stems and make sure it’s completely dry!     

Real California Cheese, Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

Pesto
1 cup fresh epazote leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
3 medium fresh birdseye chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mushroom Quesadillas
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
5 small dried birdseye chilies, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
10 epazote leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups spinach leaves
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
12 oz Real California Milk shredded Mexican cheese blend

To Serve
Lime wedges
Sliced radishes
¼ cup Real California Milk fromage blanc

Directions
In a small food processor, prepare the pesto by combining the epazote, basil, extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, birdseye chilies, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. Set the pesto aside.

Heat 1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add half the mushrooms to the pan with ½ the garlic, ½ the chilies, ½ the green onions, and ½ the epazote leaves. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté mushrooms until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Return all mushrooms to the sauté pan over medium heat with additional olive oil if needed. Add spinach and stir until spinach wilts, remove from heat. 

Lay out tortillas on a large plate or work surface. Spread about 1 tbsp pesto over each tortilla, followed by 1/3 cup shredded cheese and ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture. 

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add open-faced tortillas, one at a time to the skillet and allow cheese to melt slightly. Fold tortilla over with a spatula to form a quesadilla and press down lightly. When the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned, carefully flip the tortilla over on the other side. Press down lightly and continue cooking for about 1 minute, until the tortilla is browned on the opposite side. 

Transfer quesadillas to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding additional olive oil if necessary.

Serve quesadillas on plates and garnish with remaining mushroom mixture, small spoonfuls of fromage blanc, pesto, and radishes. Squeeze over lime wedges if desired. 


If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for Chicken Mole Verde Tacos, Mushroom Tacos with Fried Eggs, and Health(ier) Chicken Enchiladas!

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