There used to be a time in Allison’s life where quesadillas basically equaled life.
We grew up on our momma making us cheese crisps quite regularly, maybe daily. And for those that don’t know, a cheese crisp has many different household nicknames, but it’s basically a big tortilla topped with shredded cheese, popped in the microwave for just one minute and BAM! The best snack/meal for the little Abbey’s. Al would have hers cut with the pizza cutter and would eat ’em plain, slice by slice. I’d have mine uncut with a spoonful of Pace chunky salsa plopped in the middle, tearing off piece after piece for dipping.
And I believe that this easily-crafted, sentimental meal stuck with Allison real strong. I have countless memories of us snug inside a booth in a colorful Mexican restaurant, me dying to eat up a bean burrito that was bigger than both my hands and Allison quickly and confidently announcing she’s getting the cheese crisp — oh, and can we get more of those free chips? Sweet, thanks.
Years go by, and Allison’s hair is longer, her braces are coming off, and her favorite food has shifted, but not drastically. That cheese crisp love transferred into a love for quesadillas. Today that’s what gets Allison stoked. Sometimes when we are at a new place, she’ll be like, “Uhmmmm…no quesadillas are listed under the Appetizers…so, what am I going to order…” or she’ll be like “OOOHHH! Chicken and cheese quesadilla! Done.” Menu slapped shut. She’s satisfied.
Have you heard of purslane? It’s an ancient succulent that is sometimes classified as a weed, and it is 100% edible! The taste is slightly sour and salty and can be used fresh in salads, in a stir-fry, or cooked down into soups or stews. Purslane is PACKED with Omega-3 fatty acids which helps protect our cell membranes. This little green is also loaded with vitamins such as A, C, and E.
Now, we’re certain you’ve heard of butternut squash, right? It has a similar make-up to that of a pumpkin in that it contains minerals such as calcium and potassium and is loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin C. And even though it may take a while to peel, chop, roast, etc. to finally get inside your tummy, it really is worth all that kitchen labor.
Thus, our quesadilla concoction combines these two ingredients grown at Steadfast Farm along with other pantry staples to create a nutritious and healthy meal, and one that Allison is sure to daydream and drool about all week.
Butternut Squash + Black Bean Quesadilla
1 butternut squash
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup purslane, washed well (may substitute purslane for spinach/cilantro/or your favorite green!)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Peel the butternut squash skin and then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds.
3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and cut the butternut squash into small 1/2 inch pieces (this size will fit snug into the quesadilla and will make the baking time shorter!).
4. Place the butternut squash pieces on baking sheet. Sprinkle them with cinnamon and pop in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until they are soft and tender.
5. Once the squash is done, remove from pan and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
6. On the same baking sheet, place two whole wheat tortillas.
7. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese onto each. Then top with butternut squash pieces (don’t expect to use all that was baked, place the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge), black beans (1/4 cup for each), and purslane.
8. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and lime juice onto each quesadilla.
9. Now the tricky part! With a spatula, fold each in half — it’s okay if a few of the ingredients fall out. Use the spatula to press down on each folded quesadilla so that it evens out and all the ingredients are in there snug.
10. Insert into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Take out and gently with a spatula, flip it over and bake for another 5-7 minutes. If you want your tortillas to be a bit more crispy, you may place under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, watching it carefully.
11. Enjoy! Top with your favorite salsa and a few slices of avocado!
1. Steadfast Farm // steadfast-farm.com
2. Purslane Nutrition Facts. Nutrition and You. Umesh Rudrappa. 2015. Web.
3. Squash, winter. Whole Foods.org. The George Mateljan Foundation. 2015. Web.