Smoky Shrimp Quesadillas

Here is another great do-ahead recipe. The filling is a cinch to prepare and you can finish the quesadillas when ready to serve. I often cut them into smaller pieces to plate as hors d’oeuvres, though for a nice light dinner, you can keep them whole and serve next to a salad. The smoky cheese is a key flavor component, which matches so nicely with the briny shrimp and tart tomato- you’ll find these flavors to be balanced and zippy at the same time.


Shrimp cooking

The shrimp cook up quickly in the sauce.

Shrimp in sauce

The filling can be made ahead of time.

Shrimp on tortilla

Lay the filling over half of the tortilla in the pan.

Adding cheese

Top with the cheese and fold in half.






Cook the tortillas until warm and crispy. 

Make Ahead  Mid-Week

Smoky Shrimp Quesadillas

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Servings: 4 as entree, more as an appetizer


  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 cup tomatoes diced, or used canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 ounces smoked cheese such as cheddar, shredded
  • 10-12 small flour tortillas


  • In a medium saucepan warm the olive oil. Cook the onions until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chili, cilantro, and cumin. Cook until the tomatoes are thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, salt, and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are done, about 5 minutes.
  • Warm a skillet or cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Add a little oil on the bottom, then place a tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle some cheese over half, then about ¼ cup of the shrimp mixture and top with another sprinkle of cheese. Fold over and cook a minute or two, then flip over and cook on the other side another 2 minutes until the cheese is melty.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling until they are all used. You can keep the cooked quesadillas in a warm oven, covered so they don’t dry out, until you finish cooking all of them. Serve one or two per person, or cut in half and serve as appetizers.

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