Recipes/ Seafood

Smoked Salmon Quesadillas with Creamy Chipotle Cilantro Sauce

I love unlikely, but amazing, combinations.

Ketchup on eggs? Amazing.

Fry batter on pickles? Amazing. (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, stop reading right now and go find a fried pickle)

Olive oil on soft serve? Amazing. (<—-must be a California thing!)


Remember when I told you guys all about my crazy trip to Avery Island to visit with the Tabasco folks last month? I ate lots of crawfish, visited a sausage factory and stayed out late searching for gators and bears. Then I ripped my favorite pencil skirt, came home and ate kale for two days. Oh, that!

That was fun.

Well, on top of all that business, I’m working on writing a couple recipes for the brand. Sometimes I do this…this freelance thing. It’s fun and helps pay the bills. Plus, it let’s me get creative in the kitchen by being forced to develop a recipe using a set ingredient. Bet ya didn’t know I was about to get all Iron Chef on you, did ya?

Now if you still think I’m crazy for telling you a smoked salmon quesadilla is mind blowing, I get it.

I do….I thought it was totally weird at first, too, but then after taking one bite you realize it’s a combination worthy of praise.

The smoked salmon just goes so perfectly with the pepperjack cheese and is topped with a creamy chipotle cilantro sauce. But then…things get weirder! The sauce is mayonnaise-based, which goes against everything I know to be true in this world. I’m not a mayonnaise lover, usually. In fact, the only time I can even stomach looking at the stuff is when it’s mixed in egg or tuna salad. HOWEVER….when combined with a few spicy drops of this chipotle hot sauce, tons of minced cilantro, a little lemon juice and sea salt, it becomes magical and the absolute perfect topping to these quesadillas.

You’re probably all Mexican fiesta-d out by now, but I wanted to share this recipe with you just in case. Just in case you happened to be in yoga teacher training for 15 hours over the weekend and the strongest drink you had was an over-steeped cup of chamomile tea. You know….just in case!

Also, if you really truly absolutely cannot fathom the idea of using mayonnaise in the sauce, try substituting it with sour cream for a slightly different take. I urge you to give ol’ mayo a try though. Use extra sauce on turkey sandwiches! You might surprise yourself.

Smoked Salmon Quesadillas with Creamy Chipotle Cilantro Sauce

serves 4

Print this recipe!


for creamy chipotle cilantro sauce—

1/4 cup finely minced cilantro (1 small bunch)

1/2 cup real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tsp Tabasco Chipotle hot sauce

pinch of sea salt

for quesadillas—

8 flour tortillas

1/2 lb smoked salmon, thinly sliced

8 oz pepperjack cheese


In a small bowl (or a food processor if you wish), mix together the finely minced cilantro, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Tabasco Chipotle sauce and sea salt to taste. Set sauce aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Assemble quesadillas by scattering thin slices of smoked salmon on one tortilla then topping with pepperjack cheese. Place other tortilla on top and place quesadilla in skillet. Cook for about four minutes per side, until toasty and cheese melts.

Repeat with other tortillas, salmon and cheese. Let quesadillas cool slightly before slicing each into four pieces and serving with spicy chipotle cilantro cream.


20 minutes

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  • Kristin
    May 7, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Wait, olive oil on soft serve? Really??

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    May 7, 2012 at 3:41 am

    I completely agree about ketchup on eggs and fried pickles … but olive oil on soft serve is new to me! 😉 I think that needs to be your next recipe!

  • Leanne
    May 7, 2012 at 3:53 am

    olive oil on soft serve?????

  • Mo
    May 7, 2012 at 3:54 am

    I’ll have you know I am going to sneak a spoonful of soft serve at my college dining hall in a mere two hours for breakfast, and then pour some olive oil on it. I’ll be sure to report back any strange looks.

    I heart tabasco and eggs. Mmm, mm.

    Have a great day!

  • Erika - The Teenage Taste
    May 7, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Unlikely combinations are the best. I remember, when I was little, my grandma told me about the olive oil on ice cream trick. I usually add a pinch of salt and it’s out-of-this-world!

    Speaking of things that are out-of-this-world, this quesadilla looks fabulous! I love that you added salmon!

  • Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee
    May 7, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Yum! That’s so perfect for Cinco de Mayo, or any day. 🙂 Have a great week!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 am

    There needs to be a compilation of crazy combinations.
    This one doesn’t even sound crazy-just delicious!

  • Hilliary@Brunch and Cupcakes
    May 7, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Yum, this looks delicious! Such great flavor combinations!

  • Trey @ Dudes Cook Too
    May 7, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I’ve made a similar Cilantro Sauce for Shrimp Quesadillas with sour cream and lime! I can’t wait to try this!

  • Meghan @ Run With Meg
    May 7, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Sounds delicious, I’m going to have to try this recipe 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    May 7, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Ahhhhh this combo sounds amazing!!! I used to haaaaate smoked salmon as a kid (I always wondered why on earth restaurants that served smoked salmon “couldn’t be bothered to just cook it properly before serving it”… clearly I didn’t know what sushi was at the time) but now I adore it and can’t get enough. Fab idea Jenna!

  • Carryn
    May 7, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Yum – I am so trying this. And good pep talk on the mayo – I’m convinced.

  • Jen
    May 7, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Does the company ask you to send their recipes for their own websites? Sounds interesting. And ketchup on eggs is totally a normal combo!

  • Elisabeth
    May 7, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Nothing strange about fried pickles or a good fried egg sandwich with ketchup to me 😉

  • Margarita
    May 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Olive oil on soft serve is something I wanna try… Never heard of it, it sounds too weird, but I like weird. Smoked salmon in quesadillas with some pepper jack sounds great! Some Tabasco in mayo sounds pretty awesome too. I’ve been in a Sriracha mayo craze since I read about it in a magazine advertisement for frozen sweet potato wedges.

  • cassie
    May 7, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I love salmon in any form. salmon quesadilla is perfection!

  • Sarah @ Belle on Heels
    May 7, 2012 at 6:39 am

    This looks amazing! We’ve got a bottle of chipotle Tabasco in the fridge right now. May have to whip this up soon!

  • Deborah
    May 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Not only does this sound wonderful, but I’ll belooking for some of that tabascosauce now!

  • katie @KatieDid
    May 7, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I’m digging the olive oil over soft serve idea… my mind is spinning with ideas!.

  • Aislinn
    May 7, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Sounds AMAZING; will definitely be the sour cream for me, though. I can’t even stomach looking at mayo in casseroles or tuna salads. Ick.

  • Urban Wife
    May 7, 2012 at 6:49 am

    The Chipotle sauce is our favorite around the house. This looks excellent! And I’m of the mindset that one can never have too much Mexican food. Bring it.

  • gwen
    May 7, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’ve definitely got a thing for eggs with ketchup and pickles with fry batter, but now I’m yearning to try soft serve with olive oil and these smoked salmon quesadillas. How will I decide which to try first?!

  • Allyn
    May 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Since we’re a dairy free house (the hubs is allergic), quesedillas just don’t happen. Sigh. Fake cheese is just wrong. These look amazing though.
    Fried pickles? The Southern girl in me is heartbroken to think that there are people who’ve never had this delicacy.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    May 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Your trip to Avery Island sounded amazing and Lori’s post about it too was great…and this quesadilla sounds about perfect.

  • Melissa @ squatsandsquash
    May 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Hahaha this post cracks me up; I’ve definitely been on the post-vacation ripped pencil skirt train. Sigh. These quesadillas look amazing though!! No ripped pants with this one 🙂

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}
    May 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Chipotle, chipotle…I’ll have creamy chipotle on anything! And salmon in my quesadilla, that too! This whole thing looks absolutely delicious!

  • Adin
    May 7, 2012 at 8:44 am

    The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in NYC offers olive oil and sea salt on soft serve – it’s one of my favorite sweet/savory combinations! More people should definitely try it!

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl
    May 7, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I’m still stuck on the olive oil on soft serve comment… what?! I’ve never heard of such a thing. How does that work?? I’ve been obsessed with Tabasco’s Chipotle Sauce since Avery Island. It’s making it’s way into just about everything I’m serving lately!

  • Jessica J
    May 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

    This combination of flavors is so crazy, it just might work. Definitely going to give it a try 🙂

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    May 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Looks amazing Jenna! Mouth-watering good.

  • Katryn
    May 7, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Haha, literally JUST made fried pickles…check them out at!

  • DessertForTwo
    May 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    This looks fantastic! Of course we all trust your judgement! If you say it’s delicious, I’m sure it is!

    Hope you’re having a margarita tonight to celebrate a belated Cinco de Mayo!

  • Tara@Sugar Spice and Bacon
    May 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

    The quesadillas look delicious! I pretty much love smoked salmon in anything. I have a mayo phobia though! Even though I totally trust you ;), gonna try the sauce with Greek Yogurt instead!

  • Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen
    May 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

    WHOA! I’ve never thought to put salmon in something like a quesadilla. I dig it!

  • Tash @ Dairy Free Chick
    May 7, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Love how you specify real mayo. Made me chuckle. 🙂

  • Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables
    May 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    oh wow I love smoked salmon, I can’t imagine how this could possibly be bad.

  • Lauren
    May 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Our nearest Whole Foods has an olive oil gelato that is to die for!

  • Joanna
    May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I am from California and I havn’t heard of the olive oil on soft serve before. But it would be something to try. The smoked samon quesadilla sounds so good. But do you have any recs for a sub for mayo? I am not a fan of the white stuff. 🙂 Have a good week.

    • jenna
      May 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Try sour cream!

    • Melissa
      May 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm


  • Vanessa
    May 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Oh my goodness, you just made my day! Just found this on Pinterest! I love all of those things, and now I’ve got to put them all together and try this out! Saying Hi from the Bay Area! Mmmmmmm… Some’s makin’ a run to the Fish Market this week!

  • Margaret S.
    May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    My favorite sundae from a Seattle ice cream store called Molly Moon’s has chocolate ice cream, sea salt, bergamot olive oil and whipped cream. It’s sooo good. To be fair I think I heard it was inspired by the bay area though. 🙂

  • Moni Meals
    May 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    this is incredible. Nice work Jenna!

    Best akward food combo ever…fritos chips in a pb butter sandwich or french fries dipped in a chocolate shake, just sayin!

  • Colleen @ Culinary Colleen
    May 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I love this idea! Seriously, I will eat smoked salmon in anything.

  • Ali @ Gimme Some Oven
    May 8, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I completely share your thoughts on mayo. Eek. But if it’s disguised in a sauce like this, it sounds like the perfect pairing with these quesadillas – yum! 🙂

  • Katy @ the Kitchen Door
    May 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Sounds great to me. Olive oil on soft serve sounds frightful though! Never heard of that one..

  • sophie
    May 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Fried pickles are my favorite food!! The Minnesota State Fair makes the best ones.

  • Elle Beautiful
    May 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Oh yum – definitely trying this!!


  • Kimberly @ Kimberly's Treats
    May 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    When you say you are writing recipes for your Brand (ELR) what does that mean? Are these recipes that you will eventually put on/in your blog/book?

    • jenna
      May 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Nope, I’m sorry if that was miscommunicated—I was referring to writing recipes for the Tabasco brand.

  • Stephen @ FeedingMyFolks
    May 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Looks delicious! If you dont have smoked salmon handy, grilled salmon works great in quesadillas too. Usually I use leftovers from the night before and no one is any wiser! haha. So tasty

  • Sharon Sirvent
    May 16, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Seriously….this looks delicious! I’m so excited I may have to make this tonight!

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