So I’m moving this weekend.
In what I thought was a moment of genius, I made triple the amount of two of my freezable dinner recipes last weekend and popped them in the freezer to keep me going once I packed up the kitchen.
Yeah…on day 3 of eating the same thing AGAIN, I realized this was a horrible idea. So I’m posting these quesadillas I made last week (as in, when I still had cookware to use) so that I can at least eat vicariously through the pictures. They are delicious, but honestly, any food OTHER THAN WHAT I’M EATING EVERY NIGHT is going to look delicious at this point. True fact.
Anyhoo, this Mexicano (I just made up that word) dish is one of my go-to faves. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga asked earlier this week what people’s favourite bean recipes are and this, my friends, is mine.
When I first became vegetarian more than four years ago, ethnic food was my saviour. The Western diet hadn’t quite caught up to the animal-friendly craze yet (we’re getting there now though, with quinoa, tofu and other veggie options). I turned to ethnic food to provide me with vegetarian options and it was there that I discovered a love for these new flavours that I hadn’t appreciated – and sometimes hadn’t even tasted – before. I realized my palate was so boring when I ate meat; I just ate meat, veg and potatoes.
A large reason for other countries being more ‘up’ on their vegetarian options is that vegetarianism has been a part of other countries’ culture for years. Take Indian food for example – when you head to an Indian restaurant, chances are there will be a separate section in the menu dedicated to vegetarian options, because for many Indians not eating meat is part of their religion.
There are also many cultures where meat is a big part of the traditional diet, such as the cultures of Greece or Mexico, but they have also creatively devised recipes that don’t involve meat, and those are very much a part of the diet as well. Unless it’s pasta and tomato sauce, I feel as though sometimes over here in North America we find it strange to cook a dinner without meat (we’re getting better though!).
I have started cooking more and more ethnic food, from Indian food, to French food, to Greek food to Italian food (according to our good friend Wikipedia, the Italians boast the fastest-growing vegetarian population in Europe).
Whether you’re vegetarian, flexitarian or just someone avoiding labels altogether but who enjoys eating well, I’m sure you appreciate the simplicity and deliciousness of a quesadilla (maybe not if you’re vegan, seeing as the “quesa” in quesadilla pretty much gives away that there’s cheese in this recipe – just replace with rice or almond cheese, vegans!). The ways that the Latin American and Caribbean regions cook with beans is so flavourful and something I was raised on in the Cayman Islands, where rice and beans are served with pretty much everything!
I love to make quesadillas and this recipe is so easy – it only has eight ingredients! Also, below the quesadilla recipe is a recipe for the most delicious cilantro salsa you have ever had in your life. If you like cilantro, you will LOVE this. I was out of cilantro when I made the quesadillas so served mine with store-bought mango salsa and sour cream. Therefore I have no photos as of yet for the cilantro salsa but didn’t want to make you wait for the recipe. It might not look the prettiest when you make it (the canned tomatoes and cilantro kind of turn a browny-red together) but its taste more than makes up for its appearance. Enjoy!
BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS
*Not everyone likes heat so I made these without any spice. If you like things hot, cut up a jalapeno or two and fry with the filling!
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6):
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn (I didn’t have so omitted when I made, which is why they aren’t in the shot above)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded or grated (use almond or rice cheese if you’re vegan, or leave the cheese out!)
1 package of 8-10 wholewheat or whole-grain tortillas, small or medium (use gluten-free tortillas if needed)
Sour cream and cilantro salsa (recipe below) to serve
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
2. Add tomato and sweetcorn, stir for a minute or two. Add beans and stir until heated through and corn is defrosted and cooked.
*If you have picky kids who don’t like ‘bits’ in food, this filling can also be pureed in a food processor when cooked and it will resemble refried beans. Then just continue with the recipe below!
3. Spray a smaller frying pan with cooking oil and heat on low-medium. Place one tortilla in the bottom of the pan, spoon a heaped scoop of filling on top, sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top of the filling and top with another tortilla.
4. Cook a few minutes on one side and then, when cheese is starting to melt, flip quickly and cook on the other side.
5. Keep assembling quesadillas until all of the filling is used up. Slice each quesadilla into quarters and serve.
Nutritional information per serving if recipe serves 6.
1 big bunch cilantro, stemmed (don’t need to chop)
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of 3 limes
1 can roasted red tomatoes (whole or diced but not crushed; it will be too liquidy)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Blend everything in a food processor or blender and serve. If you still want it chunky use whole canned tomatoes and don’t blend too much. Sometimes I even use two bunches of cilantro in this salsa so don’t be shy!