Dying for something bright and fresh, healthy and full of vitamins on this sunny winter day, I settled on a quick lunch idea of vegetarian quesadillas (gluten-free, of course) with a colorful winter salad. Avocado, black beans, queso fresco, plus greens, chilies, kumquats, red onions, and radishes with lots of lime juice in a dish that took barely any time to throw together and cook was a perfect quesadillas recipe for this afternoon, though it’s also one of the easiest healthy dinner recipes you can make!
It’s pretty amazing to live here in Napa, where avocados are beautiful and readily available, radishes are growing in my garden and I still have chilies available from summer, and a quick trip over to my parent’s house yields bags of citrus, including loads of bright little kumquats.
Kumquats are quickly becoming one of my favorite flavors to add to a growing number of dishes. Sweet and tangy, they add amazing bursts of flavor to salads, soups, yogurt, and they are surprisingly good with black beans! It’s an unexpected flavor, but it’s one that’s exciting to eat. Perfect with the wilted red onions, they worked incredibly well next to the black beans and avocado in the vegetarian quesadillas recipe.
For a dish like this, if you can find a mandolin that you’re comfortable using you’ll take your prep time down to nothing. A few quick passes and you’ll have the cabbage, radishes, kumquats, onions, chilies, and jalapeños ready to go. I used wilted onions for my salad, but pickled onions would be great as well. If you want more instruction about either, please go ahead and click those links and you’ll go right to a couple of recipes where I featured each of those. I also went ahead and drizzled the tacos with a lime cumin sour cream, but spicy yogurt would also be amazing here. If you want to make this dish vegan and/or dairy-free, all you need to do is leave out the queso fresco and the sour cream and you’re good to go! Having trouble finding queso fresco? Feta is a great substitution here. If you’re looking for my black bean recipe, it’s here, but you can, of course, use canned black beans if that’s what you’re in the mood for! As always, I just have to say that the best bean I’ve ever found come from Rancho Gordo. Nope, they aren’t paying me to say that! It’s just simply true.
Healthy Vegetarian Quesadillas Recipe with a Seriously Yummy Winter Salad!
- 6 ea corn tortillas
- 1 ea avocado
- 1 cup prepared black beans (recipe here, or feel free to use canned)
- 2 dashes tapatillo (plus more if you like it spicy! I used about 25 dashes...)
- 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (or feta)
- salt, pepper
- 1 Tbs neutral oil
- squeeze of lime juice
- 1/2 cup cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1/2 cup greens or spinach/arugula/whatever makes you happy
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 kumquats, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 chili, thinly sliced (I used thai bird, but serrano would be great)(omit this if you don't like spicy)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt, pepper
- Mix the cabbage with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 of the lime juice and massage thoroughly.
- Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Mix the red onion with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 of the lime juice and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Just before serving, mix the cabbage and onion with the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Taste and season.
- Warm the black beans with the
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan until nearly smoking.
- Slice the avocado and squeeze a little lime juice over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place 1 Tbs black beans in a tortilla. Add the avocado and 1-2 tsp queso fresco.
- Fold gently in half and carefully place in hot pan. Immediately reduce the heat to medium.
- Allow to cook, undisturbed, until one side becomes golden.
- Flip and cook the other side until golden.
- Remove from heat. Plate with salad and enjoy!
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