How ‘Bout a Quesa-Pesto-Dilla?

Greek Basil
Greek Basil

I always have an abundance of herbs in the summer because we dry them for winter cooking. But they’re overwhelming when they thrive in the garden, so what to do? Pesto is the answer. What does this have to do with Mexican cuisine?  Fusion, baby, fusion.  Since there’s so much fresh basil around, and my two favorite world cuisines are Mexican and Italian, it makes sense for me to combine them into a nice and easy summer brunch or lunch.

Spicy Basil-Chile Quesa-Pesto-Dilla

To make the pesto:

1 cup chopped New Mexican chiles, roasted, peeled, stems removed, seeded, and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup piñon nuts (pine nuts)

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup cilantro leaves

1 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon mustard combined half and half with a favorite hot sauce

1 cup excellent olive oil

In a food processor, puree all the ingredients except the olive oil. Slowly add the oil and pulse until it is thoroughly mixed.

To Make the Quesa-Pesto-Dilla

1 cup green chile pepper pesto, above

4 medium flour tortillas

1 cup grated Mexican cheese of choice

Spread the pesto over half of each tortilla.  Top with the cheese and fold over to make a sort of torta.  Fry the folded tortillas in a hot, dry skillet until browned and the cheese is melted.  Top with sour cream if desired.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

For more food history and recipes on the subjects of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, just click on the image below.

AboutDave Dewitt

Dave is known in the media as "The Pope of Peppers" because of the 36 books he's written on chile peppers and spicy food around the world. He's also co-producer of the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and editor and publisher of the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite at His latest book, with chile breeder Dr. Paul Bosland, is The Complete Chile Pepper Book.

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