Zucchini Quesadilla with Spicy Salsa Roja

Zucchini quesadillas garnished with sliced peppers
Prep Time: 
45 minutes
Number of Servings: 
Serves 2
Recipe Source: 
Staff Favorites by the editors of Food & Wine ($34.95, Time Inc. Books, 2016)


  • 1 lb tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 14 cup canola oil, divided
  • 6 dried chilies de árbol, stemmed
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 12 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Chopped cilantro and thinly sliced Fresno chilies, for garnish*


  1. Preheat broiler. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 20 minutes, until tomatoes and onion are softened and nicely charred.
  2. In a small skillet, toast árbol chilies over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly charred, 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add broiled tomatoes, onion, and garlic along with the chipotle chili, vinegar, and sugar. Puree until smooth. Transfer salsa roja to a bowl and season with salt.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place 1 tortilla in the skillet and scatter cheese and zucchini evenly on top. Drizzle with some salsa roja and top with second tortilla. Cook over moderately high heat until crisp on bottom, 3 minutes. Flip quesadilla, add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and cook until cheese is melted, 2 minutes.
  4. Slice quesadilla into wedges and transfer to a plate. Garnish with cilantro and Fresno chilies and serve with remaining salsa roja.


  • The thin zucchini slices in this cheesy quesadilla liven it up a bit, and the bold, spicy salsa gives it an excellent punch.
  • *You can also garnish this dish with sliced jalapeño chilis.