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Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

Chard and pepper jack quesadillas loaded with tender-sautéed leafy chard and spicy pepper Jack cheese surprise with a wild card ingredient, golden raisins! The raisin flavor balances chard’s slight bitterness with a pop of fruity flavor for stellar quesadillas. Complete the picture with an easy creamy avocado and lime sauce.

Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream | Letty's Kitchen

Besides being delicious healthy appetizers, chard and pepper jack quesadillas can become a simple dinner. Quesadillas along with a crisp green salad show up on our dinner table all year long.

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Side view Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream | Letty's Kitchen

A healthful addition to tortillas and melted cheese quesadillas, chard is loaded with vitamins C and A, and iron. The bright red stems add bulk, crunch and color!

A splash of vinegar brightens all cooked greens. I use sherry vinegar with the chard in these quesadillas, the Spanish vinegar is a good choice with the chard and raisins, though any light vinegar will do.

Golden raisins are the “secret” ingredient in these quesadillas. Sweet raisins and chard together show up in quite a few Mediterranean cuisines–sprinkling the concentrated grape into chard-filled quesadillas is classic flavor logic.

Avocado crema, simply avocado and lime juice blended with garlic and salt, is an awesome sauce for these quesadillas. To give the crema a little more kick, add in ½ of a jalapeño pepper, the seeds and veins removed.

This savory spicy sweet filling will carry about any flour tortilla you choose, including gluten-free ones. I favor Mi Rancho organic flour tortillas, but I’m not sure if you can find them beyond the western US states. Try natural food stores and Trader Joe’s for the best choices.

Tortilla sandwiches of melted spiced cheese, wilted red chard, and mouthwatering raisins! Viva Mexico!

ingredients for Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream | Letty's KItchen

Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Mexican food and merry-making. How come we get all excited about a Mexican holiday in May? Do you agree that Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. is a marketing ploy, an excuse for bars and restaurants to sell more margaritas and beer?

Why Cinco de Mayo? Here’s an abbreviated reasoning:

  • In 1862 the U.S. was in Civil War, North versus South, Union versus Confederates. France was aiding Confederate interests with funds and ammunition. Problem was, at the same time, they were at war with Mexico.
  • In Mexico, on Cinco de Mayo 1862, the Mexican army soundly defeated the French. The French retreated to lick wounds and replenish resources, while the U.S. Union amassed the powerful army that a year later won the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. Thus, France helped end our Civil War and gave Mexico its Cinco de Mayo holiday. (Please don’t do battle with me for condensing history.)

Chard and pepper Jack quesadillas with avocado cream are a tasty way to celebrate Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo. Tequila and beer optional. ¡Viva Mexico!

 A wedge of Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream | Letty's KItchen

What to serve with Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas:

What else can I make with leafy chard? Yes, chard is my favorite green leafy vegetable. 


Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook some celebratory Mexican food!

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4.6 from 5 votes
Chard and Pepper Jack Quesadillas with Avocado Cream
Pepper Jack and Chard Quesadillas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
These easy to make quesadillas are filled with a delicious combination of flavors--tender vitamin-rich chard, spicy pepper cheese and a surprise ingredient--golden raisins.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2 quesadillas
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 4 flour tortillas (see note)
  • 1 bunch chard, washed
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins (see note)
  • 12 ounces jalapeño or pepper Jack cheese, grated (about 1¼ cup per quesadilla)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing the tortillas
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
Avocado Crema:
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Strip the chard leaves from the stems, by hand or with a knife. If the stems are wide, cut them lengthwise about ½-inch thick. Chop the stems into pieces about ¼-inch thick. Roughly cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces. (They can still be wet from washing.)
  2. Soften and plump the raisins in a small bowl with some water.
  3. Heat the olive oil a medium skillet on medium flame. Add the chard stems and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Add the chard leaves and sprinkle with salt. Cover the pan and cook until the leaves are very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the extra liquid evaporates and the leaves have seriously shrunk. Splash the pan with the vinegar and season with salt to taste.

Avocado Crema:
  1. Puree everything together in a blender. 

Assemble the quesadillas:
  1. Lightly brush one side of a tortilla with olive oil. Place oil side down in a skillet.  Sprinkle evenly with a quarter of the cheese. Scatter half of the chard over the cheese.

  2. Drain the raisins, distribute half of them evenly over the cheese and chard. Sprinkle with another quarter of the. Top with a tortilla and brush lightly with olive oil. Cook until the bottoms are golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Gently press down the top with a spatula. Gently flip the quesadilla over to brown the other side. Keep warm and repeat to make the second tortilla. (You can use 2 skillets and make both quesadillas at the same time.

  3. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. (If you let the quesadillas cool a few minutes they will be easier to cut. Serve with Avocado Crema or a favorite salsa.

Recipe Notes
  • Make a point to read tortilla labels. Many flour tortillas have a long list of questionable ingredients and there are better choices available in natural food stores. No hydrogenated fats, please. For gluten-free tortillas, sample several different brands to find the best one.
  • Don't sub in dark raisins--they don't have the same subtle fruity flavor, plus their dark color is not pretty in the filling.

13 comments

  • Just reading this evokes watering in my mouth, Letty! Reply · 3 May, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Karen. Happy Eating! Reply · 6 May, 2014

  • KATHRYN DECKERT

    Letty we made your chard and pepperjack quesadillas for breakfast wearing the tie dyed shirts Chelsea made for all of us at the Moab Art Festival. Taking the so tasty leftovers to the river to do short runs on White’s rapid. Happy Memorial Day Kathryn Reply · 26 May, 2014

  • Letty, these look absolutely yummy! We’re going to share this with our Twitter and Facebook fans on Tuesday, and link here so they can see how to make it.

    Keep it green!

    –Your friendly Southern Calif. farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens Reply · 30 May, 2014

    • Letty

      Thanks Cut’N Clean. Can’t wait to try some of your greens. Reply · 31 May, 2014

  • Cinco de Mayo also happens to be a good friend’s birthday and we always celebrate it by purposely avoiding Mexican food (which is VERY hard for me). This year I think I’ll direct her to this post and see if she will make an exception. GREG Reply · 27 April, 2017

    • That’s funny. I like to do what I damn please on my birthday too. I hope she lets you have a shot of tequila. Reply · 30 April, 2017

  • Annette

    Oh my! Loving this will have to try! Reply · 7 May, 2017

  • Dennis Halloran

    Tasty looking. Will add to our box Reply · 8 May, 2017

  • KellyB

    Looks yummy! Reply · 9 May, 2017

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