Meatless Mondays are relatively new in our house. I grew up with a dad who was the director of Engineering at Schneider’s, so meat was just the regular, and one of my fondest childhood memories were getting together with the extended family every winter and making sausages in one of my aunt’s basement kitchens. My one attempt at being a vegetarian in grade six or seven was quickly squashed because, steak and ribs and bacon and salami (and by my dad telling me I was ridiculous)! So along comes the idea of Meatless Monday and when Darren first suggested it, I got downright defensive, but I LOVE black beans, so once I calmed down, I started Googling recipe ideas.
With some experimentation, I came up with these quesadillas. They are delicious. You may not even notice that there is no meat. I like to pair them with a salad, usually with salsa ranch dressing for some added Tex-Mex flair.
Start by chopping up about 1/2 of a sweet onion, a jalapeno pepper, and 1/2 a red bell pepper. I saute these lightly in a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Once the peppers and onions are soft, I transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in a can of black beans that has been drained and rinsed.
I then mix in a generous amount of medium or hot salsa (enough to moisten the black bean mixture), and a shake or two of chili powder. I then mix in a handful (maybe a 1/2 cup) of frozen corn for colour and flavour. This mixture is what you will fill your tortilla shells with.
Next, I start heating up a frying pan, and give it a good spray of Pam (or any generic cooking spray). When the pan is hot, I place one tortilla shell (you can use white or whole wheat, whatever your preference) into the pan to start browning it up.
Next, toss a sprinkling of shredded cheese (if the pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese is on sale, I use this, otherwise use marble, or cheddar, or whatever cheese you like best) onto half of the tortilla shell.
Then, top with more cheese.
Then, brown this tortilla pocket of deliciousness on both sides (the cheese should start to melt). Put the browned quesadilla onto a cookie sheet. Repeat as many times as you need to to make the number of quesadillas you need.
The beauty is, you can do all of this ahead of time. If you aren’t ready to eat, you can put the cookie sheets in the fridge until you are ready. Or better yet, make some extras, wrap each individual quesadilla in a few layers of plastic wrap, and freeze (makes some quick and easy single serve quesadillas).
If you are ready to eat, put the quesadillas (on a cookie sheet) into an over pre-heated to 350 degrees and bake for about 10-12 minutes, If cooking from frozen, bake for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the quesadillas halfway through.
Once you pull them from the oven, let sit for a few minutes and then cut into quarters (I like to use a pizza cutter for this). Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or any combination of the three.
These actually get me excited for Monday! Try them and let me know what you think!