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An ideal choice for a special lunch or cocktail party appetizer, this dish comes together quickly and looks lovely on the table.

Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa Verde

  • Serving Size: Serves 4
  • Prep Time: Less than 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: Less than 30 Minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Course: Appetizer
Ingredient Description:
For the salsa verde:
vegetable oil for the grill
2 - 3 jalapeño or serrano chilies, stemmed
1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked, washed and cut into chunks
1 c. cilantro leaves
2 scallions, cut into 2-in. pieces
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the quesadillas:
4 8-in. soft flour tortillas
1/2 c. queso fresco or Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 c. Colby cheese, coarsely grated
2 grilled or roasted chicken breasts, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
6 large sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 recipe Salsa Verde
vegetable oil for the grill

  1. Preheat the panini grill pan over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.  Brush the grill with oil and pan roast the chilies for 2 - 3 minutes or until they are charred.  Remove from the heat.  Seed chilies, if desired, and chop coarsely.
  2. Combine the chilies and the remaining salsa verde ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process the mixture until puréed.
  3. Place 2 tortillas on a work surface.  Divide the queso fresco and colby cheeses evenly between the tortillas.  Layer the chicken on top of the cheese, followed by the tomato slices, cilantro, 3 - 4 Tbsp. salsa verde and the remaining 2 tortillas.
  4. Press the quesadillas firmly together.  Brush one side of one quesadilla with oil.
  5. Preheat a panini grill pan over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.  Place one quesadilla, oiled side down on the hot pan.  Place the panini press on top of the quesadilla and cook for 1- 2 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
  6. Brush the top side of the tortilla with oil and carefully flip it over.  Cover with the panini press and cook the reverse sides for 1 - 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and keep warm while the second quesadilla is cooking.
  8. Repeat the process with the remaining quesadilla.  Use a sharp chef's knife to cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve while hot.  Serve with salsa verde.