Quesadillas are so versatile. You can sandwich anything you want in there from Mexican to Asian to Italian or even Mediterranean. I’ve eaten some of the most unusual combinations like herb chicken, Gorgonzola cheese and apple slices. I’m sticking with Southwestern tradition in this recipe by roasting nutritious vegetables spiced with chili powder, cumin and salt, then adding black beans and lime juice before layering them with Mexican cheese and toasting them on a grill to create this perfectly crispy layered finger food. These would make great appetizers or serve as an entree along with a tossed green salad.
You can use any root vegetable you have on hand like sweet potatoes or acorn squash in place of the butternut squash. I had some butternut squash cubes leftover from the holidays which I had stored in my freezer. I did the same with the jalapenos because I don’t use them as often, and I always keep chopped bell peppers in the freezer to save time. When you need them they’re there! Roasting brings out such fabulous flavors in vegetables. It’s a process of caramelization of the sugars in the vegetables that alters the flavors.
To get them crispy without frying in a layer of oil, I just brush a small amount of olive oil on one side of a tortilla and lay that side down on my hot grill. I spread the filling over the tortilla, cover it with cheese, then place another tortilla over top, oil-brushed side up. When the bottom tortilla is golden brown and crispy, I flip it and brown the other side. Remove from the grill, slice with a pizza cutter and top with avocado and light sour cream.
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed small (about 2-3 cups. I buy pre-cut cubes at Costco or Albertsons)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 small red onion, diced small (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of one lime
- 6 medium-size tortillas (whole wheat, black bean or other favorite variety)
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (Monterey Jack with Cheddar or Colby mix)
- Diced avocado
- Light sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together the butternut squash, jalapeno, red pepper and red onion with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Arrange the coated vegetables on a large baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes until tender and golden crisp; toss halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Place mixture into a large bowl and add the black beans, cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Heat indoor or outdoor grill to 300 degrees F. Brush one side of each tortilla with remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Place 3 tortillas, oil-side down, on heated grill. Spoon about 2/3 cup of vegetable mixture on top of each tortilla, spreading to the edges. Top with 1/3 cup cheese. Place the remaining 3 tortillas on top of the cheese, oil-side up. Grill for about 1-2 minutes or until bottom tortilla is crispy and golden brown. Then flip quesadilla and grill other side for another 1-2 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from grill and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.
- Serve immediately with diced avocado and light sour cream.
This recipe was adapted from a similar recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Thanks for the inspiration Mel.
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