05 August 2013

Eats: black bean quesadillas

When I wrote my thirty by thirty list, I made the conscious choice to include more vegetarian meals. I’m from the south, the land of meat-and-threes, and I wanted to challenge myself to think outside that box (without just eating spaghetti once a week). Plus, an effort to eat less meat can certainly be better for our health and our budget!

I did a decent job of remembering to cook meatless meals, but rarely did I come across anything worth sharing with you, dear readers. After all, roasting broccoli to stir it into pasta is hardly revolutionary. So even though I’ve hit the big three zero, I thought I’d visit that lifestyle goal again – this time, trying all new things for an ALL-VEGETARIAN AUGUST here on Eats. Considering that about half of my six readers are vegetarians, I think it’s about time, eh?

First up: these black bean quesadillas from Beth at Budget Bytes. I intentionally made these while Mr. P was out of town, as the man doesn’t like beans (WHAT). But I love me some black beans, and Beth raved about how amazing they were. I was admittedly skeptical – they’re really easy – but I figured they were worth a shot. And she was right, wheee!

Okay, team. Let’s gather ingredients!

We need one cup of frozen corn, a packet of taco seasoning (homemade if you got it!), a whole can of black beans (rinse ‘em well first, or use dried if you want), two delicious cups of shredded cheese, minced garlic, dried cilantro, onion, and ten flour tortillas. Exactly ten!

As for the onion... once again, I’m using dried. I rehydrate it in water and it’s good to go. If you keep onions in your house, particularly red onion as the original recipe states, then use fresh! If you don’t, it’s hard to beat this way.

Then everything but the tortillas gets mixed in a bowl: the corn, the beans, the taco seasoning, the cheese. As for the garlic, cilantro, and onion... I didn’t really measure. Just throw some in to your liking. No worries! It’s gonna be great.

Now it’s time to fill the quesadillas. Beth at the source fills each tortilla individually and folds them over, but I decided instead to make flat ones instead. I laid out five on my (freshly-cleaned) (GREEN) countertop and evenly distributed the filling:

And this is why I was emphatic about TEN TORTILLAS earlier. This is going to seem like a LOT of beans and corn on each tortilla. In my head I wanted to fill these more sparsely like tacos, and I had to resist the urge to get out a few more tortillas. Nope. We’re making single serving quesadillas here... load it on!

Then cover each with a second tortilla and toss it on a nonstick skillet. I just used a pancake griddle with a spritz of cooking spray.

Cook each side until they’re both toasty brown, and you’re DONE! I guess you could do these in your microwave instead, but the crispy flour tortilla is just too good. Use a pizza cutter to cut it into quadrants and dive right in.

You guys. You guys. Yes, these are simple. And yet: they are delicious. Add a bit of sour cream and guac, and they might as well be sold in a restaurant. The nearing-ridiculous amount of cheese and the starch in the taco seasoning holds everything together, so they won’t fall apart when you bite into them. They’re deceptively spicy (maybe the TJ’s brand of taco seasoning is spicier than I’m used to?) and also deceptively filling. One of these with a salad is a generous meal!

Even though I was only eating one, I went ahead and cooked all five:

Then I stacked them, with a sheet of parchment paper between each one, and wrapped them in a gallon-size freezer bag (I squeezed the air out before sealing). Ta-da: easy take and go lunches. They aren’t quite as crispy when reheated, but still delicious!

These may very well be one of my go-to meals for serving vegetarians – not just because they’re a delicious vegetarian dish, but because they’ll please any meat eater, too! Well, any meat eater besides Mr. P. I will never get over the fact that he doesn’t like beans.

For the rest of you: go forth, stock your freezer with these easy quesadillas! You’ll thank yourself at tomorrow’s lunchtime.

And with that, here’s a quick roundup of this week’s meal plan, with TWO vegetarian meals (totally did not plan that):

Sunday: dinner date, al fresco!

Monday: vodka cream pasta with peas

Tuesday: chicken quesadillas (I’mma put black beans in mine, mmm!)

Wednesday: buffalo chicken salad

Thursday: meeting family for another al fresco dinner. I LOVE SUMMER

Friday: homemade mac & cheese with broccoli

Saturday: grilled pork chops and broccoli

Have a great week, dear readers! Happy Monday! And psst: happy birthday to my Pa!


Christal said...

you know, the swiss mister is also a non-bean eater, so when he's rocking his chicken spaghetti, I'magonna give these a whirl!

Tina said...

Wondering if you and Christal mashed the beans a little if this dish would be more palatable to these guys? Just thinking the seasoning would overpower the bean taste (what taste, really???) and the bean texture would be gone for them... maybe...??? Anyway, sounds good enough for this semi-non-bean eater myself to try! Ron would like these even better if I made them with pinto beans! Think I will...
Thank you so much for the tribute to Daddy today again for his birthday. He was such a good and quiet man sometimes I do forget he's really gone... Love you, Sari.

Janice said...

I am not a bean eater either :). Having said that though I found a great chili recipe made only of beans. Hesitant I gave it a try. Honest to Pete, it's great and I keep ingredients on hand these days. It was super easy-peasy.

Rachel C said...

Yum! This looks amazing. My super picky eater husband actually loves black beans, so I'm always looking for new options. I make almost this exact mixture but use it to fill enchiladas (just roll the tortilla up, put in a casserole dish and top with store bought enchilada sauce) and it's amazing! Thanks for the new option!