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. #
    Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — August 1, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    wow oh wow….amaze balls right there! and i know!! it’s so annoying to find out the results before you watch them!! grrrr….darn you time zones!!


  2. #
    MikeVFMK — August 1, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    Holy fuck. Can I say that. I am just staring, almost to the point that I’m feeling uncomfortable now. A little stalkerish. Just staring, secretly..(well, not secretly now) This is insane. And how good it must taste doesn’t take much guessing. Ah-maze-balls. I said I would never say that word.


  3. #
    Umar Kothari — August 1, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability and visual appearance. I must say you’ve
    done a great job with this. Additionally,
    the blog loads super quick for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!


  4. #
    idiosyncratic eye — August 2, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    It might be passé but cheese and pineapple is my favourite snack ever so now I’ve got to try it toasted! :)


  5. #
    Stacy — August 2, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    Made ’em for dinner last night. Blew my hubbie’s socks off! We LOVE the caramelized pineapple. Now he wants to make grilled pizza with the pineapple too. Imagine it with chicken, red onions & cheddar cheese…yumm! Thanks so much for keeping me on my diet and enjoying wonderful flavors.


    • Jessica — August 2nd, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

      So glad you liked it!


  6. #
    Angie — August 2, 2012 @ 9:29 am

    Oh god!I really reaaaallly want to take a bite of this !


  7. #
    Sandra — August 2, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    I think I will tackle these after my housework/chores!


  8. #
    lars — August 2, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    question: does your coconut oil taste of coconuts? what kind do you use? i have one kind that i use for baking when i want a coconut flavor, but i’d love to get a recommendation for other, non-coconutty uses.

    p.s. this blog is the highlight of my days. although i have yet to actually *make* any of the food i see here, it’s almost as if i had… i think the same goes for reading fitness articles. as if reading about a new exercise equates to actually doing the new exercise. whatever. it works for me.


    • Jessica — August 2nd, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      I have used multiple brands of coconut oil and personally have never thought they they actually taste like coconuts, especially when I’m using them to fry or saute. What kind do you use for baking that has a coconut flavor? I’m so curious!
      And thank you so much!


      • lars — August 2nd, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

        i use Nutiva. it’s organic, extra virgin, cold pressed. expensive. tastes like coconut.
        i use it in my great-grandmother’s chocolate cake and frosting recipe in place of the shortening and butter and voila! a Mounds cake! not gonna lie. it’s pretty amazing. :)

        • Jessica — August 2nd, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

          Whoa… I need to get some of that. Every time I’ve baked with it I’ve never been able to taste any coconut, unless of course I’m using actual coconut or coconut butter. Thanks a bunch!

  9. #
    Jenny @ BAKE — August 2, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    sweet quesadillas sounds amazing! what a brilliant dessert!


  10. #
    Colette — August 2, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    Ok, WOW. That’s what for dinner tonight. I might add some chicken.


  11. #
    Jean Marie — August 2, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    The Pineapple Quesadillas with Strawberry Salsa–they look and sound delicious!! Who could do housework after cooking and eating those!!! thanks for the recipe :D


  12. #
    Michelle M — August 2, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    This looks awesome! It kinda/sorta reminds me of my favorite pizza from a brewery in Ann Arbor – dried pineapple, bacon, black sesame seeds, scallions, mozzarella, and charred tomato sauce. So basically the pineapple and cheese remind me of pizza. I think you need to add bacon to this recipe!


  13. #
    The Meaning of Me — August 2, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    This definitely made me think of Hawaiian pizza. So different. Putting this one on the “wow that’s different let’s try it for dinner” list. Thanks for posting it! :)


  14. #
    Jenn @ Icing on the Cake — August 2, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

    Wow. This. Looks. Amazing.


  15. #
    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — August 2, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    Yahhh…..is all I can say right now but I’m also nodding my head in a trance like motion hoping somebody will stuff a slice in my mouth!


  16. #
    Andrea — August 2, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    My mouth is watering! I love all the interesting combinations of flavors you share here.


  17. #
    Anita — August 2, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    Jess, what brand of whole wheat tortillas do you use? There are so many out there these days, low carb, high fiber, etc.


  18. #
    Sharyn Dimmick — August 2, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Yum. Beautiful and tasty.


  19. #
    Jane — August 2, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    Jess, Absolutely LOVE your blog! You are so fun and your food is fabulous! I’m wondering if you can explain the whole deal about coconut oil. I had never heard of it until I saw you using it, and I’m still somewhat confused as to whether it is just a substitute for cooking oil, or do you also use it for baking? Can you please give me the scoop??


  20. #
    Javelin Warrior — August 2, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    I try not to look at anything online about the Olympics because I’m DVR’ing the parts I enjoy most like swimming and gymnastics and I don’t want any spoilers! This quesadilla is so creative and I’ve never tried adding pineapple, but love the idea. I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I love the inspiration I get from your food…


  21. #
    Anacristina — August 3, 2012 @ 12:16 am

    mmmm… that looks delicious can’t wait to try it!!
    x’s & o’s


  22. #
    Jessica — August 3, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    Hi these look amazing so of course I’m going to make them! Quick question, before you flipped the totilla with the ingredients inside did you place another tortilla on top of the filling? You never really clarified so I was confused on that part.


  23. #
    Bianca — August 4, 2012 @ 3:42 am

    As soon as I saw this I knew I had it make it. So I did.
    And it was AMAZING.
    I changed the chicken for avocado which worked perfectly. Definitely becoming a regular meal.


  24. #
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes — August 7, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    Now, these quesadillas I really, really, really need to make and eat. Amazing, amazing, amazing!


  25. #
    kathy — August 8, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    have you ever tried something other then coconut oil? This sounds so good but my husband has a reaction to coconut


  26. #
    The Meaning of Me — August 10, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

    This meal was an absolute hit with my family. The quesadillas are fantastic and the strawberry salsa was out of this world! This one is going on our regular list. Thanks again! :)


  27. #
    Christine — August 11, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    My sister and I made these last night…. AMAZING! I loved them so much. Just looking at the post as I scrolled through made me so hungry! You are awesome.


  28. #
    Christine — August 12, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    We just made these for dinner along with the avocado fudge brownies. They were delicious!! Just one little teeny thing – your ingredients are missing tortillas. It should be like “doh! so obvi, it’s fricken quesadillas” but for some reason that didn’t click for me. :P The avocado brownies were yummy with the coconut oil instead of the avocado oil, just fyi. Thanks again for an amazing, quick dinner!!


  29. #
    tara — August 28, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    im vegetarian so i made this recipe with more pineapple and strawberries cooked together …then followed the rest of the directions just without the chicken! it was very good!!


  30. #
    Ryan — March 31, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    This was one of the best meals my girlfriend and I hve made! It was amazing! Everyone should make that immediately…


  31. #
    Edna Vazquez — April 8, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    I made these and I have to say I will definitely be making them again!! Delicious and full of flavor is all I have to say. YUM!


  32. #
    AMy — May 8, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    YOu add flavor and fun to all you do! I really enjoy reading your blog and making your recipes. I made these with pork instead of chicken because I had some leftover and used corn tortillas since I had those in my fridge too. This was a luau in my mouht wtih the strawberry salsa combo. Genius!


  33. #
    Elma — July 14, 2013 @ 6:42 am

    This looks delicious! And I love reading your blog, just read this post aloud to my husband… Who was clearly not as entertained as I was, silly man. I will definitely be making this soon!


  34. #
    Tara Connor — July 14, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    I have to tell someone about these who would care…maybe you? Flat marshmallows for making s’mores..yessss :D



  35. #
    Allison @ thebakingyear — July 14, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

    this looks INSANELY delicious! love the idea of strawberry salsa


  36. #
    Jo — April 2, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

    I just made this! I googled savoury pineapple recipes as I had half of one to use…. SO SO GOOD! I can’t thank you enough. I’ve seen strawberry salsa loads but never tried it, it’s bloody good. But the main revelation is the coconut oil, my god I might cook everything in it from now on. Thank you for sharing!



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