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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Vegetarian Quesadillas

Quesadillas. They can be simple, tortilla and cheese, or complex, starring as many ingredients as can be stuffed inside one tortilla. One thing is certain, however:

Quesadillas are delicious.

They are the perfect food to cook when you don't feel like cooking. It's quick. It's tasty. And if you need to make 12 at one time, you can have them out of the oven in 10 minutes or less. They are the lazy woman's best food friend.

I have probably made over 1000 quesadillas by now. I can't even remember how old I was when I first started cooking them. I do know, that I could have survived off of them in high school. They were one of the three meals I cycled through on my after school binge eating session. Quesadillas. Instantly cooked pasta/rice meals. Or ramen. Back then my quesadillas were unquestionably the least healthy food I could create. Full of grease, overstuffed with processed American cheese. Adding processed meats like pepperoni or if I got crazy beef jerky. Let me tell you, high school Emma did not know who she was yet. You can tell just by the food.

Don't get me wrong. I still love disgusting junk food and can annihilate a bag of chips in a mere 5 minutes. But long gone are the days I would eat a large meal of overly buttered and salted popcorn, pickles, beef jerky, and canned cheese, just because it was available. Now I'm into other perks. Occasional unhealthy, homemade, grease filled, hashbrown breakfasts, stuffed crust pizza every blue moon, and never will I pass on an offer to get Chinese takeout. But these are all in moderation. I've learned over time, that if you can learn to cook and cook well, even healthy food can taste as good as an unhealthy treat.

Most days if I'm making quesadillas, they will be vegetarian. I want them quick, so I don't want to wait around for the meat to cook. Typically they consist of cheese, tomato, onions, garlic, and every once in awhile avocado and cilantro, and I always season them with cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Am I extra? Yes. Does it take less than 20 minutes from start to finish? Yes.

This week is still vegetarian, however, it is more of a loaded vegetable quesadilla. Emma's got to eat! It's got everything I could think of that mixes well together, including seasoned quinoa. Protein had to come from somewhere and avocados were too expensive this week. I'm not paying over $1 for an avocado again. That was a bad deal last time and I'm still salty.


Look how good these things look!!!!!

Like ahh!! So healthy! So tasty! So filling!

As always. Start off by getting all your ingredients in one place and chopping the heck out of the vegetables while warming your oil on the stove in a large pan.

Saute the vegetables until they are cooked through. The zucchini should be soft, but not mushy. Feel free to caramelize your onions and mushrooms for extra flavoring if you have the patience. Season to taste. Make the quinoa in a pot, add the water, the tomato paste, and some seasonings, bring to a boil, put the lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes. If there's extra liquid leftover don't worry about it. Just throw the quinoa in the pan with the vegetables, when it's done, and cook the water off for a minute or so. It'll just add flavor to the vegetables.

Next preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. While it's warming up, assemble the quesadillas. Start with a layer of cheese.

Add the vegetable mixture from the pan.

And top with more cheese to make sure the top of the tortilla sticks.

Now for the tricky part. Putting another sheet pan on top of all the tortillas when they really don't want to stay folded. I have to admit. Most of mine split in half. I didn't mind that much because I'm here to eat it not to judge it's aesthetic, but if that would bother you, then use larger tortillas or flour tortillas.

***NOTE***

Use a sheet pan of a similar size!! If you use one as small as this one, that does not fully cover the quesadillas, your tortillas will curl upwards while cooking and refuse to look perfect.

But let's not forget the beautiful product that you can eat a short 10 minutes after they are put in the oven.



 

Vegetarian Quesadillas

Ingredients:

Corn tortillas (or flour), 30 pack OR Mission Tortillas Carb Balanced Soft Tortillas**

Spinach, 2 cups

Mushroom, 1 box sliced

Red pepper, 1 sliced

Zucchini, 1 quartered and sliced thick

Onion, 1 sliced

Garlic, 4-6 cloves minced

Quinoa, 1 cup

Tomato paste, 1 spoonful

Water 2 cups

Mexican cheese, 1 pack

Oil (olive, avocado, coconut, bacon grease, butter...)

Onion powder

Garlic powder

Chili powder

Cayenne

Salt

Pepper

Cilantro

Directions:

Put a large pan with a tablespoon of oil on the burner on medium-high heat. Slice the onion, zucchini, red pepper, and mushrooms. Mince the garlic, have the spinach at hand.

Put the quinoa in a pot, add the water, tomato paste, and season. Bring up to a boil, then simmer with a cap on for 20 minutes.

Saute the onions and mushrooms until the mushrooms are golden and the onion is translucent. Add the red pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Cook until zucchini has softened but is not mushy. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Turn off the burner.

When quinoa has finished cooking add it to the vegetables and mix it up.

Place a large sheet pan on a flat surface. Layout 10-12 tortillas, they can hang over the edges. Put cheese on half of the tortilla. Repeat on all of them. Place a spoonful or two of the vegetable mixture on each tortilla, on top of the cheese. Finish, by putting down another layer of cheese.

With another similarly sized sheet pan at the ready, fold the untouched half of the tortilla onto the food-filled half, so that it is now in the shape of a half-circle. Because they will not want to stay down, use the bottom of the second sheet pan, to weigh them down so they can stay in their proper shape. This may be the most difficult part.

Put into the oven for about 10 minutes. Repeat the tortilla assembly-oven process until you have made all the quesadillas you need.

Eat immediately or save for later.



**Mission Tortillas makes an amazing low carb tortilla! When I was dieting I used to eat these all the time, heck, I still eat them. They taste the same as regular tortillas. Yes, they still have carbs, but if you need to have a "cheat" meal this is a great option as it is less than 20g of carbohydrates/tortilla.


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