Cuban Quesadillas

Cuban Quesadilla

Writing about the Cuban sandwich at Chez Henri got me thinking about the best Cuban I’ve ever had. Chez Henri’s version came close, but it was the one I had at General Greene in Brooklyn years ago that still sticks out in my mind. Their version isn’t exactly traditional, with prosciutto replacing the ham and pickled jalapenos replacing standard dills.

Now that I’m fortunate enough to be able to cook lunch at home, I thought it would be fun to plan something other than my typical heat-up-dinner-leftovers routine. Keeping the flavors of General Greene’s Cuban sandwich in mind, I set out to create a healthy Cuban quesadilla.

While I wanted my quesadillas to be healthy, I didn’t want to skimp too much. I still used prosciutto and delicious gruyere cheese, but luckily a small amount of these rich ingredients goes a long way. I balanced it out by using whole wheat tortillas and lean pork tenderloin. Plenty of pickled jalapenos and a generous smear of grainy mustard packed in even more flavor, making for quite a luxurious tasting lunch.

Cuban Quesadillas

Pork tenderloin recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Cuban Quesadilla 2


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large pork tenderloin (mine was 1.4 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 8″ whole wheat tortillas
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 4 oz. grated gruyere cheese
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Mustard


Combine the garlic, lime and orange juices, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the pork and marinate, refrigerated, for up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, remove the pork from marinade, and pat dry. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook on all sides until browned. Transfer the pork to the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (this took about 20 minutes, but will depend on the size of the pork tenderloin).

Pork Tenderloin

Let rest for at least 10 minutes and then thinly slice.

For each quesadilla, I used one 8 inch tortilla, one ounce of cheese, one slice of procuitto, a generous amount of pickled jalapenos, and several slices of the pork tenderloin.

Quesadilla Assembly 2

To assemble, first add half of the cheese to one side of the tortilla. Then add the pork tenderloin, followed by the procuitto and jalapenos. Top with the remaining cheese and spread a thin layer of mustard on the other side of the tortilla.

Fold over the quesadilla and carefully transfer it to a non-stick skillet lightly coated in olive oil over medium heat. Cook until the cheese is melted and each side is golden brown.

Cuban Quesadilla 4

Transfer to a cutting board to slice.

Cuban Quesadilla

I ate my quesadilla with some lightly dressed spinach with pickled onions. I can never get enough pickles!

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