Mushroom Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto sitting on table

How do you feel about cilantro? Because if you’re a cilantro hater, you may want to avert your eyes. (Or maybe run in terror?) These Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas have a generous helping of cilantro pesto on them. So you’ve been warned, okay?

Personally, I love cilantro. I never really got all passionate hatred directed towards this inoffensive little herb. I mean, I’m sure there are people who hate basil or oregano. But they don’t make a thing out of it. And cilantro hating is most definitely a thing. There’s even an I Hate Cilantro website.

Cilantro Pesto & Quesadilla Assembly
Well, apparently it’s a matter of genetics. Cilantro haters taste soap when they eat cilantro. It’s a genetic predisposition, something they’re born with. There are other explanations too, though–some of the molecules that form the aroma of cilantro are also molecules found in both lye (soap!) and insects. Interestingly, crushing cilantro leaves converts these molecules into other substances which makes them inoffensive to cilantro haters. So cilantro pesto? Should be totally cool with both cilantro haters and cilantro lovers alike.

Of course, if you hate cilantro with a passion, it might be too much to ask to even put you in the same room with fresh cilantro, let alone make it into a pesto. But this cilantro pesto is worth taking a chance on. Its bright, fresh (and spicy!) flavor takes an ordinary veggie quesadilla recipe and makes it something worth blogging about. In fact, I’m so in love with this pesto that it might be making some more appearances on Oh My Veggies very soon!


Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Mushroom and Zucchini Quesadillas with Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro pesto adds a fresh, spicy flavor to these easy veggie quesadillas.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 quesadillas


Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 c. cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1/4 c. raw walnuts
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and halved
  • Salt to taste

Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas

  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 batch cilantro pesto
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack or Mexican Blend cheese
  • Salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges for serving


For Cilantro Pesto:

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until mixture is well-combined and reaches a pesto-like consistency.

For Mushroom & Zucchini Quesadillas:

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet at medium-high heat. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes or until softened but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spread half of each tortilla with pesto. Divide vegetables and cheese onto pesto-side of tortillas and fold in half.
  3. Wipe out skillet. Heat on medium and cook quesadillas, two at a time, about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and slightly crispy. (If you prefer, you can use a grill instead.) Cut each quesadilla in half and serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.


  • Serving Size: 1 quesadilla

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