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sharp cheddar quesadilla with apple salsa

by Jackie Newgent  |  November 16, 2014  |  1 Comment

sharp cheddar quesadilla with fresh apple salsa

One of my quick go-to food fixes is a quesadilla. I never seem to make it exactly the same way twice. Here’s my newest version—with a bit of New York flair. It’s made simply with sharp Cheddar and scallion between two whole grain tortillas. The enticing twist is the topping. I usually love a good pico de gallo made with fresh tomatoes. But since tomatoes aren’t in season in my part of the world, I’ve gone with a New York apple-based salsa. Choose whatever apple is seasonal.

Want a true “Empire State” experience? Make the salsa with New York-grown apples, like from Red Jacket Orchards. Their delicious, sustainably-grown apples are available at my local farmers market all-year-yound. But you can enjoy them delivered straight to you. The salsa will work with either a sweet or tart pick. It transforms this quesadilla into something rather special, too!

Calories saved: 250

Why it’s better for you? More whole grains; more fruit; more seasonal; less “bad” fat!

Disclosure Note: One of my clients is Sargento® Foods. I did not receive compensation for this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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sharp cheddar quesadilla with apple salsa

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  • 1 medium seasonal apple of choice, cored, unpeeled, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, with some seeds, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 4 (8-inch) whole grain tortillas
  • 10 (3/4-ounce) slices natural sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced


  1. Stir together the apple, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Spritz two of the tortillas with cooking spray (fill a culinary bottle with grapeseed or extra-virgin olive oil). Flip over and top with the cheese and scallions. Then top with the remaining tortillas. Spritz the top of the tortillas with cooking spray.
  3. Cook each in a medium or large (PFOA-free) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and quesadilla is browned, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with the apple salsa.


Per serving: 370 calories, 20g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 760mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 18g protein

The “Before” Version

3-cheese quesadilla
Makes 2 servings: 4 wedges each

Adapted from Taste of Home

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 tablespoon salted butter
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mixture of two cheeses, such as sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion (green onion)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped or thinly sliced ripe black olives
1/4 cup salsa
3 tablespoons sour cream

Spread the butter over one side of each tortilla. Spread the cream cheese over the unbuttered side on half the tortillas. Sprinkle with the cheeses, onion, cilantro, and olives. Top with remaining tortillas, buttered side up.
Cook on a griddle over medium heat until the cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes per side. Cut into 4 wedges each. Top with the salsa and sour cream, and serve.

Per serving: 620 calories, 36g total fat, 20g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 90mg cholesterol, 1450mg sodium, 55g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 18g protein

Tasteover Tips

  • You don’t need extra extra cheese for great taste; simply choose sharper cheese to get higher flavor without higher calories
  • Top quesadillas with a fresh seasonal topping, like fresh apple salsa; it creates sweet intrigue which provides a perfect counterbalance to sharp cheese
  • Let the apple topping be the star … you’ll be able to skip sour cream and not miss it at all

fresh apple salsa

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