Quick and Healthy Vegan Quesadillas
I know, vegan. It sounds worse than it is really, and whether you’re a vegan for life, a vegetarian or just a carnivore that’s trying to balance your weekly meals, these quesadillas have everything for everyone—and what they don’t have, you won’t miss.
I’ve been on a six-week cleanse that revolves pretty much around a vegan diet, with emphasis on raw greens and vegetables. Being a steadfast carnivore throughout the year and having a pretty heavy number of weeks and weekends devoted to BBQs, picnics and island trips, it’s taken its toll.
The best thing about this diet is the massive amount of salads, huge amounts of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Oh the fiber. Besides being famished right prior to lunch, especially on the days I bike to work, I’m surprisingly not starving to death. Which is also good.
But keeping dinners creative, tasty and healthy, without the aid of animal products and minimal oils is a little hard, even for a seasoned kitchen explorer such as myself. So in times of indecision I turn to the classics, and this is one classic that is worth turning on its head.
Generally, in its simplest form, the quesadilla is a cheese filled tortilla, queso being cheese in Spanish, but it can also include a variety of things from pepper and beans to chicken, salsa, or steak. Often seen on the kids menu for its ease of hands-on eating the quesadilla is generally not the healthiest of meals.
Enter the Full Circle box. A magical box of transformative power I simply pulled out a few lovely and various ingredients from its interior and set to work. Give it a whirl next time your kids are clamoring for dinner with little time or make them a day ahead and pop them in the toaster oven to heat them up.
Healthy AND delicious, now we’re talking.
Bean and Mixed Pepper Quesadillas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup alliums, diced (leeks, scallions, onion)
2 cups assorted peppers, padrons, anaheims, cubanelle or bell
1 1/2 cup corn kernels
1 tbsp cumin, ground
1/2 tbsp chile powder
2 tsp paprika
2 cups beans (black or pinto), cooked
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1 cup short grain (brown rice, farro, barley), cooked
Salt and pepper
4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
Salsa for serving
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When shimmering, saute alliums, pepper, corn and spices. Saute until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Add in cooked beans and rice, reduce heat to low and cover for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, salt and pepper to taste and place in large bowl. Remove half and puree in food processor until creamy (this step gives them the creamy and cheesy texture, without the added fat), adding more stock if necessary, mix into the remainder of filling.
Wipe out pan and over low-medium heat warm tortillas until soft. Assemble quesadillas by placing enough filling to cover half, fold and brush pan lightly with oil. Over medium heat cook quesadillas until crisp. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa.
*For a non-vegan recipe, sprinkle top of filling with cheese before frying. To add chicken or steak, saute meat first until 3/4 cooked, then add onions and peppers. Look for a summer squash version in next week’s delivery!