Thursday, April 21, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Another quesadilla, how exciting! And cheap and easy for me! I intended to make all these last week, but instead had thrilling meals such as SOUP, and the oh so famous english muffin with earth balance.
My cold is still holding on, but Im doing my best to fight it off. Besides the two margarittas I had on Tuesday night, those were delicious to me and my week immune system. Dammit.

With this dish I had a few different ideas I wanted to explore. First was the black bean. As far as black beans go, after soaking and cooking them, personally I don't know if it was worth it. If you are serving for a large group or are super tight on cash, buying your beans in bulk is cheaper and they do taste delicious. But these days the canned organic black beans to me taste very close to making them yourself, and I don't know if it was worth my time. Even when you soak them overnight, they still have to cook for about an hour or more, and I normally don't have that kind of time. Also Im cooking for one or two most of the time, so preparing a ton of beans is almost more of a hassle.
So its up to you, no matter what I reccomend getting organic black beans, because they do not have a ton of preservatives and other crap they add into canned beans. Be sure to check the sodium of the beans too, its easy to get a ton of soduim in canned beans, and I know almost no one who needs MORE sodium.

roasted sweet taters, yum!
The second element of this dish was the sweet potatoes. My desire was to play with sweet and salty, which is where I got the idea to add cinnamon to the sweet potatoes. Recently I learned cinnamon is high in iron and magnesium, and in general a good spice to use. It adds sweetness but not sugar or carbs, which is AWESOME. To read more about this handy healthy little spice click here: Facts on Cinnamon

I found blending the sweet potatoes was unecessary. My idea behind this dish was to make a sweet potatoe puree hoping that it would make the quesadillas less messy. I hate when all my ingredients fall out of my quesadilla so in pureeing it I was hoping to eliminate that problem. They were still a bit messy, those sneaky black beans were all over the place, and the sweet potatoes were more of a paste than a puree. I used a blender, but looking back think it was unnecessary. The potatoes were better in paste form, but you can just mash them with a fork until they form a paste.

As far as the cayenne, healthy boyfriend is sensitive to spicy, so I only added a small amount to the sweet potatoes. If you know you like heat, add more, or omit the cayenne if heat aint your thang. Its good to note that cayenne is excellent for the immune system, so try it if you can!

This makes two whole quesadillas, so I recommend eating half of a quesadilla and a side dish of some sort of delicious green. Broccoli and Zucchini sautéed in a little oil and garlic was my side dish, but anything green and healthy will do.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

The Goods: Serves 3-4
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cup of black beans, warm
1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
A dash of salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
A dash of cayenne(optional)

Note: If using canned black beans, omit step 1, and simply warm your canned beans in a pot over low heat.

The Deal:

1. Place one cup of pre-soaked black beans in a medium pot with three cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to meduim low and simmer beans for an hour or up to and hour and half. Remove any film that builds up on top on beans. Beans are ready when soft and most of the water has cooked down.

2. After the beans have been cooking for about 35 minutes, preheat oven to 375, and place sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Add olive oil to pan and toss with sweet potatoes, making sure to evenly coat all the sweet potatoes in oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
about to be roasted

3. Place sweet potatoes in oven and bake for 12-16 minutes, turning once to ensure even browning. Remove when sweet potatoes are lightly browned and a fork can be easily inserted.

4. Place sweet potatoes, cayenne, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until the sweet potatoes form a paste.
Sweet potato paste
4. Grease your tortillas and place two, greased side down on your baking sheet. Spread the sweet potatoes mash on the quesadilla, making sure it is evenly distrubuted, then add half of your beans, and top with half of your cheese. Repeat with second tortilla. Place your last 2 tortillas on top, greased side up. Lightly press down the tortillas. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping once to ensure even baking.
Spreading on the paste!

5. Remove when cheese is bubbling and the tops of the tortillas are lightly browned. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Grab your favorite salsa and/or hot sauce, and get your eat on!

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