A Meatless Meal: Bean and Vegetable Quesadilla
While we are not vegetarians, we value our beans and vegetables and have learned that they come with lots of great nutrients. We have three favorite meatless meals, and we will shortly be sharing the other ones we enjoy regularly.
We make it a goal to eat one meatless meal each week. This was born out of our desire to slowly shave away our red meat consumption. We have succeeded to only eating red meat once a week (except on rare occasions), and our cooking has been elevated to a whole new level as we learned to cook without meat.
Creating flavor without meat was a challenge, but we learned to utilize our spice cabinet to its fullest. And, we have grown to eat (and ENJOY) lots of onions and garlic. If you are looking for flavor, onions and garlic can provide a lot!
- 8 tortilla shells
- 1 (16-ounce) can of kidney beans
- 4 cups of spinach
- 1 cup of cheese
- 1 cup of chopped red onion
- 1 cup of chopped tomato
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Brush the bottoms of four flour tortillas with olive oil. On a pizza pan with holes or another type of baking sheet, lay the four tortillas with the oiled sides facing down.
- Open the can of kidney beans. Drain and rinse the beans with cool water. Mash the kidney beans until they resemble a paste. Spread the mashed kidney beans on the four tortillas. Pile one cup of spinach onto each tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on top of the spinach. Oil four more tortillas and lay the tortillas on top of the cheese with the oiled side facing up.
- Bake the quesadilla for 15 minutes (or until toasted on both sides.)
- While the quesadillas are baking, dice 1 cup of tomato and 1 cup of red onion. Combine the tomato and red onion in a small bowl. Add cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Serve quesadillas while warm. Top with the tomato and onion mixture.
Step 1: Mash the Kidney Beans
Take your can of kidney beans and rinse the beans under cold water. Transfer your beans to a shallow bowl, and using a potato masher or something of the sort, mash your kidney beans until they begin to resemble a thick paste.
Step 2: Prepare the Tortilla Shells
Set your kidney beans aside for a few minutes as your prep your tortilla shells. I recommend BAKING these quesadillas. Many recipes call for frying the quesadillas in a skillet, but for caloric reasons and for the sake of simplicity, I bake these.
I recommend using a pizza pan with holes in the bottom to ensure the quesadillas are toasted on both sides. Since only two tortillas fit on a pizza pan, I baked two at a time.
- Poor a quarter of a cup of olive oil in a cup.
- Using a basting brush, brush the bottom of four tortillas.
- Lay the tortilla shells with the oiled side facing down on the pizza pan.
Step 3: Spread the Mashed Beans Onto the Tortilla Shells
This part is a bit messy. Spread (as best as you can) your mashed kidney beans onto four tortilla shells. My husband can successfully do this with a spatula. Me? I had to use my fingers. Do whatever works best for you.
Step 4: Add the Spinach
Pile one cup of spinach on top of each tortilla shell. The pile may seem a bit heaping, but remember, the spinach will wilt with the heat of the oven.
Step 5: Add the Cheese
You can add as much cheese as you would like or as little. We add about a quarter of a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to each quesadilla. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the spinach.
Step 6: Top With Another Tortilla Shell
Using your olive oil and brush, lightly cover the outside of four other tortilla shells and lay them on top of the cheese with the oiled side facing up.
Step 7: Bake the Quesadillas
Put the quesadillas in a preheated oven at 350°F. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops of the quesadillas are toasted.
Step 8: Make a Simple Homemade Salsa
While the quesadillas are baking, cut up the tomato and onion to make the simplest fresh salsa ever.
- Take two tomatoes and dice up one cup of chopped tomatoes.
- Take a red onion and do the same.
- Mix the diced tomato and onion in a bowl.
- Add a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin, salt, and pepper. (If I have a ripe avocado on hand, I also dice an avocado and add it to the salsa as well.)
- Once the quesadillas cool, top the quesadillas with your simple homemade salsa.
How Did Your Quesadillas Turn Out?
A Warning on Substitutions (Recipe Flop)
A few months ago, my sister asked me for an inexpensive recipe recommendation. I gave her this recipe. She decided to substitute the spinach and kidney beans for broccoli and refried beans. Oh dear. Oh dear is right.
Needless to say, DO NOT try those substitutes. Their meal was much less than desirable. Live and learn, right.