This creation was borne out of my love for Mexican food. I’m a fan of the punchy flavors and spices which are similar to Indian cuisine, but I don’t like the oil and cheese laden dishes many Mexican restaurants serve. Was it possible to capture the same delicious taste without all the fat? Our staple Mexican restaurant is a wonderful place called El Parador Cafe– which also happens to the oldest Mexican eatery in NYC-, and while the fajitas, tacos and quesadillas on the menu are crave worthy, they’re not exactly light. Mahir, as usual, was the skeptic between us that I could duplicate something similar at home, but these quesadillas hit the spot- so much so that he couldn’t believe they fit into the Tablespoon of Oil philosophy. Depending on how many tortillas you use, you’ll most likely have extra filling. For a different flavor and texture, eat the leftovers with brown rice for lunch or dinner the next day. ~Shivani
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 cups of diced zucchini
1 cup of finely chopped red onion
2 to 3 cups of diced crimini or white mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
up to 1 teaspoon of red chili powder (optional)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
4 to 6 whole wheat tortillas
salt and pepper, to taste
your favorite salsa
Heat a large non-stick pan on low to medium heat and spray with cooking spray
In a Ziploc bag or bowl, toss veggies with part of the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, coat black beans with the same spices.
Cook vegetables covered on low to medium heat until tender (anywhere between 7 to 10 minutes).
Add black beans, and cook another 3 to 5 minutes .
Turn off heat and stir in cilantro.
Warm another nonstick pan on medium.
Put on one tortilla and place a few spoonfuls of mixture on one half (make sure to pour out any excess liquid from the spoon so the quesadillas don’t get too soggy.
Top the half with a tablespoon of cheese.
When cheese melts, fold the empty half of tortilla over the half with the mixture and press together with your spatula.
Remove from heat, let cool for one minute and cut into half.
Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas.
Serve with salsa and enjoy!
You’re in good shape with this meal because you get in your protein, carbs and vegetables, but I always like to bump up my veggie intake and usually eat my quesadilla with a large mixed vegetable salad or spinach sauteed in garlic and a little olive oil.
If you want a heartier main course, use diced chicken breast instead of the beans. If you do, you will have to cook the chicken for a few minutes first until it is a few minutes from being done and then add the vegetables. Or, omit the beans and just use the veggies for a nice appetizer that’s not overly heavy.