I have something to show you!

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

And no, it’s not a messy kitchen with a 15-pound cast iron skillet on the counter, next to an onion, scissors, two empty ice cube trays (haven’t filled them in two days… ugh) and the most random combination of lime sea salt dish soap and peanut butter. But you get to see that too. Lucky lucky.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

It’s not this strawberry salsa either, which I single handedly consumed with a spoon mere minutes after taking this photo, absolutely burning the CRAP out of the my mouth. Someone was a little too lazy to remove all of the jalapeno seeds. They need to be punched in the face.

Someone also needs to relax on the fruit salsa front. Is it really fair of me to chop up whatever fruit I feel like and add an onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice and salt to the bowl then deem it the “best salsa in the world!”? It seems too easy.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

Wait. Sidebar. You know what else? Someone, and this time it’s really not me, needs to stop spoiling the freaking Olympics every 30 seconds. And by someone, I mean everyone. I may be the type of person that reads the last page of a book before I begin the first chapter, but this does not mean I want you to spoil a good bit of suspense on the uneven bars and vault. I mean, I need SOME sort of excuse for all of the emotional eating I’m doing at 11PM, in bed, while watching these people flip head over feet. I think my heart jumped out of my mouth a few times.

But um, now what I really want to show you: Sunday’s lunch. Caramelized pineapple inside a quesadilla. Caramelized pineapple right in your face. Eh. Exciting right? Built up too much? So delicious you can’t stand it? Wishing it was something more outstanding? Well, whatever. While on vacation, we spied it on a menu but were too tempted by the truffle fries and all-you-can-eat fried fish to order something so gourmet while sitting in our swimsuits unshowered. What did I do? Brought out my phone and typed it in my notes, claiming “OMG I need to make it as soon as I get home,” specifically placing it sandwiched between funfetti marshmallow s’mores and bacon-wrapped roasted chicken, figuring I’d make it in the next few weeks. All about priorities.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

But then… I mean, you know how I get. Freakishly obsessed with meals, right? On the 8-hour drive home, it was all I could think about. Instead of being responsible and unpacking and cleaning, I went out until two in the morning, leaving all responsibility aside until Sunday. The next day, mid-chores and cleaning (worst nightmare ever), I dropped everything to eat, which is status quo, especially on housework days. Luckily my husband had gone to the grocery store in a fit of hungry rage, which meant he bought everything in sight, including pineapple! It was meant to be. So it was.

I feel like I used way too many commas up there. True story.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

Lots of flavor here, super simple meal, and something uniquely different enough to keep your taste buds happy? Yes. I stuffed these whole wheat tortillas with the caramelized pineapple, some grilled chicken, and tons of cheese and some fresh herbs. Then the whole shebang was crisped in coconut oil which was, uh… the best idea ever. Cover the thing in strawberry salsa and you’ve got it good.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com


Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas. [with Spicy Strawberry Salsa!]

Yield: serves 2

Total Time: 30 minutes


2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, cut into squares
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, shredded
6 ounces monterey jack cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro

1 medium tomato, chopped
3/4 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/3 cup freshly torn cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add pineapple and toss with salt and cinnamon, cooking until caramelized and golden, flipping occasionally – about 6-8 minutes. Remove pineapple and place in a bowl, then add another 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil, tossing in onions and peppers with a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes, then remove from the skillet and place in the bowl with the pineapple.

Reduce the heat in the skillet to low, add another 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Place a tortilla down, then cover in a sprinkling of cheese (make sure you leave enough for the second quesadilla), chicken, the pineapple, onions and peppers, and cilantro, then add another sprinkle of cheese. Cook until tortilla is golden, then gently flip, keeping the ingredients inside, and cook until other side is golden. Repeat with remaining quesadilla, and serve with strawberry salsa.

For salsa, combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. The longer it sits, the more flavor that develops. Keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas with Spicy Strawberry Salsa I howsweeteats.com

PS: did I really say “housework?” I seriously am 70 years old.

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125 Responses to “Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas. [with Spicy Strawberry Salsa!]”

  1. #
    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) — August 1, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    Oh my gosh – YUM! I haven’t had a quesadilla in ages… need to rectify that.


  2. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — August 1, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    I agree with Joelle, Oh my Gosh! This looks so delicious! I would love to have this for breakfast, this morning!! Yum!!!!


  3. #
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — August 1, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    Ugh – this looks so good and now I want to run to the grocery store and not have to drive into work! Carmelized pineapple? It’s like you’re my long lost sister. As for the Olympics – I’ve given up trying for any suspense and read all the headlines mid afternoon. That way I can see if it’s worth staying up until 11 to watch. The amount of political ads are driving me up the wall but I’m really getting into the Olympics this year – more than I think I have in a long time. Kinda wish it went on for a whole month… except for the lack of sleep thing.


  4. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — August 1, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    That quesadilla looks seriously amazing!


  5. #
    Madeleine @ Teenie Baker — August 1, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    I totally agree about the Olympics – by the time I see the events, I pretty much know what’s happened already. Anyways, these look delicious! They remind me a bit of Hawaiian pizza.


  6. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — August 1, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    Pinned! These look insanely good. How creative!


  7. #
    Blog is the New Black — August 1, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    Ohhhhh yes.


  8. #
    Kim in MD — August 1, 2012 @ 7:50 am

    I was hoping you would come home and re-create some of the amazing food you ate (or in this case didn’t but wished you did) while on vacation! This looks and sounds to die for, Jessica!


  9. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — August 1, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    OK, caramelized onions rank high on my list of favourite foods, but caramelized pineapple?! Now THAT is genius! Totally going to try it! And those jalapeno seeds… yep, same thing happened to me. I made a salsa with mango nectarines (an odd hybrid fruit that I blogged about today) with peppers, tomatoes, and jalapenos and due to my laziness and thinking the seeds wouldn’t be THAT spicy, it turned into a salsa that must be served with a beverage of some sort on the side to chase it. On fi-yah!


  10. #
    Brittany from CountingMyCupcakes — August 1, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    LOVE!!! I just polished off the pineapple we had here but I’m about to go buy another one for this purpose.


  11. #
    Katelyn — August 1, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    Hi, um, hello, what. (too many commas over here. guilty)


  12. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — August 1, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    I love the sweet/savory/salty combo of this dish – great idea!


  13. #
    Kelly — August 1, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    This looks amazing. Simply amazing.


  14. #
    Simply life — August 1, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    yuuum! Oh I am loving this idea- and served with fruit salsa- where can I order this?!?!


  15. #
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets — August 1, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I just made strawberry salsa with my fish LAST NIGHT. Amazing! The combination of the strawberries with the jalapenos was out of this world. New territory for me….but pineapple quesas? Totally trying this…


  16. #
    jenna — August 1, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    yum. this looks amazing! i love pineapple!


  17. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — August 1, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    You always come up with the best fruit salsa recipes – and caramelized pineapple. Yum!


  18. #
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — August 1, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    this looks and sounds heavenly!


  19. #
    Tina {My Life as a Mrs} — August 1, 2012 @ 9:14 am

    These = UH.MAZING. And I am SOOOOO over people spoiling the Olympics!!!! UGH. I’m a “read the back of a book first girl” too, but the Olympics?! COME ON NOW!!!!!!


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 10:01 am

      I KNOW.


  20. #
    Cait's Plate — August 1, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    Ugh. Can I just face plant my face into that last shot? Amazing.


  21. #
    ashley — August 1, 2012 @ 9:31 am

    How aboooouuut an all fruit quesa-diLLa with cinnamon toasted tortillas and gooey melted cheese and more fruit salsa?? I’ll be over at 7.


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      Um yes.


  22. #
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty — August 1, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    Yum! Love cooked pineapple, and combining it with strawberry salsa (super spicy or not) is genius. Quesadillas are one of our favorite weeknight meals. So easy to customize (my guy eats meat, I do not). We make them in our panini press. Easy peasy and no oil needed. Helps me feel a little less guilty about all that cheese. ;)


  23. #
    Stacy — August 1, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Lord, girlfriend, I can’t keep up with you. Seriously yummy. Dinner tonight? I think so.


  24. #
    Maria — August 1, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Love that salsa!


  25. #
    Destinie — August 1, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    oh my oh my oh my. That looks freaking amazing!!!


  26. #
    Jordana — August 1, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    OMG OMG OMGGG I am drooling!! I love pineapple like so much you don’t even know. And quesadillas? LOVE! I love everything here.
    Definitely making today, but there’s one more thing I am going to add to mine: bbq sauce ;)


  27. #
    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions — August 1, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    Oh my. I have so many things to say.

    Thing #1: AMEN SISTA on the spoilers. It’s absolutely driving me crazy. I don’t care if social media has given us all the impression that we need to share are exact thoughts on events as they happen in real time — some of us are working during the day! It’d be one thing if it were just disrespectful people posting spoilers, but frickin Chobani tweeted swimming spoilers on Monday and NBC Chicago posts spoilers ON THEIR HOME PAGE. Come on, people! Have some courtesy and AT LEAST give us a spoiler alert! Yahoo has been really good about doing that, but it seriously just disgusts me how everyone else insists on spoiling things. After finding out the results of the women’s gymnastics finals at like 1 p.m. yesterday, I’ve decided that for the rest of the Olympics, if there’s an event that I really care about airing that night on TV, I simply can’t do anything social media: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest (there were spoilers on Pinterest yesterday, for crying out loud!), nothing. /endrant

    Thing #2: I saw the title of this recipe first and was like what yes must happen right now. And then I saw it required coconut oil, which I’ve never used/don’t have, so I was like oh noes, especially because I’ve spent the past month in a vicious cycle of buying food and throwing it away because it gets moldy/rotten before I can use it all. But Wikipedia told me coconut oil has a shelf life of two years?! Game on, pineapple quesadillas.

    Thing #3: My favorite part of this recipe is where you say to keep all the ingredients inside the quesadilla when you flip it. Out of all my limited culinary adventures, I think that has proven to be the most challenging thing I’ve attempted. I tend to eat quesadilla salads because of my lack of flipping skillz.


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 11:53 am

      Best comment ever.


  28. #
    Daphne — August 1, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    So I don’t remember how I linked over to your website about a month ago but I am so thrilled that I did! I rarely find recipes interesting enough in blog world to save them but just about every day I am starring your blog in my reader to make everything. These look awesome and I look forward to making them. Thank you for the beautiful recipes and pictures!


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 11:53 am

      Thank you so much!


  29. #
    Meg @ Peaches and Cake — August 1, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    tropical deliciousness!


  30. #
    Erin @ The Food Doctors — August 1, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Wow. This sounds like lunch AND dessert! Bring it on.


  31. #
    Carissa — August 1, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    You might have just rocked my world with this idea. Carmelized pineapple?! In a quesadilla?! Oooo I can’t wait to try it!


  32. #
    Ali — August 1, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    I know exactly how you feel about the Olympics. I spent the hour at the gym not looking up so I wouldn’t see the news and spoiler alerts. Of course though I missed the score of Aly Raisman’s beam and google it only to be told that they win the gold. It was so annoying, but I stayed up anyway to see the finals but it just wasn’t as exciting……oh well, at least there was Michael Phelps to pick me up!


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Ha, for real.


  33. #
    Kelsey @ K&K Test Kitchen — August 1, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    I seriously am making these quesadillas for dinner tonight. Because I know that now that I know about them, I won’t be able to stop thinking about them either.

    Also, you just need to move to Canada! We have actual live coverage of the Olympics, which is terrible for my productivity at work. I may sneak away from work to the building next door for coffee strategically at 2:40 pm everyday to watch swimming finals, because that building has big screens playing the Olympics in the lobby. Don’t tell my boss…


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Someone mentioned this on the How Sweet Facebook page yesterday. So jealous!


  34. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — August 1, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    yummmmmmmmmmmmm….it’s like hawaiian pizza but wayyyyyyy better!


  35. #
    Christine — August 1, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    I just have to tell you how much you crack me up when I’m reading your blog. I’ve just recently found it and you remind me of how one of my besties and I talk to each other. It also helps that you have food porn to indulge in :) Thank you!


    • Jessica — August 1st, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

      Thanks so much for reading Christine!


  36. #
    Sarah — August 1, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    My family is going to go totally bonkers for these. I might give you credit, I might not. ;)


  37. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love — August 1, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    This recipe with all the cheese and caramelized pineapple left me hungry right after I had lunch! Very nice done!


  38. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — August 1, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    Can we play a quick game of Bev Opens Her Mouth And Jess Throws 55 Quesadillas Into It real quick?

    Coo, coo.


  39. #
    Katie — August 1, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    Um, I haven’t watched any Olympics yet. Can we still be friends? Maybe I can just head on over, help you eat these quesadillas, and we can watch together. I won’t ruin any sorts of surprises…I’ll just eat my caramelized pineapple cheesy snack and keep my mouth shuuuut.


  40. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — August 1, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    This is just the most gorgeous looking food I’ve seen all week. I agree – olympic spoilers are really getting to me lately!


  41. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — August 1, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    These cheesy triangles of delicious wonder have me hating my turkey sandwich lunch right now. :( I want some. With overloads of the strawberry salsa. You had me at caramelized!!


  42. #
    Ashley M — August 1, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    Please please puhleeeease tell me you will someday write a cookbook?! You go beyond boring casseroles and garlic bread. I would pre-order any book of yours.


  43. #
    Cupcake and Talk — August 1, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    I have to try the salsa. I just need the strawberries. I read your interview and love your answers. Thank you for sharing.


  44. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — August 1, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Pretty much….I wrote about fruit salsa (I used cherries) and Olympic spoilers today on my blog. I feel that we are as one.


  45. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — August 1, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

    Wow these look good. I want to consider it to be a dessert with all that delicious fruit. And I want to make it ASAP but unfortunately I am staying with my parents for a month and they cannot handle ANY spice. Alas I will have to wait.


  46. #
    Rocky Mountain Woman — August 1, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    These look like the perfect breakfast to me….


  47. #
    Lynna — August 1, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    what a great idea! Plus, it sounds totally yummy! I love strawberry salsa!


  48. #
    Ashley — August 1, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    I’m totally stealing this and making it vegan…. because I love pineapple and fruity salsas.


  49. #

    Wow! This looks amazing! I’ve never thought of doing a sweeter quesadilla, but now that I’ve seen your amazing dish, I’m thinking that this is probably something I should have thought of a while go! Great idea!! And I’m especially digging the strawberry salsa – such a a creative way to give yourself a little extra fiber boost!


  50. #
    Cindy — August 1, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    These look amazing, I might have to cook this summer!! I just love pineapple and strawberries. Now if I could only master the flip I would be a beast in the kitchen. Can’t wait to try them.



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