Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Kale Quesadillas

While we were on vacation in Seabrook, NH this summer, Mark and I took my mom to Poco's Bow Street Cantina in Portsmouth, NH.  This is one of our favorite Mexican places that we just happened on a couple years ago, and we knew she would love it too (for the record: so would you.  You can even sit outside and look over the water when it's nice!).  We went on a day when it was swelteringly hot, so we were feeling a bit blah, and Mom was doubting our choice of restaurant when she saw how quiet and empty the place was (granted it was about 2:00 on a weekday!).  However, she immediately became a huge fan of Poco's after she ordered the fish tacos (Mark got them too and they were both thrilled with them); she has since brought my sisters there to show off her new place.  But the real story of the day was the sweet potato quesadillas that I ordered (so say I).  They were delicious: sweet but savory, creamy but healthy... all sorts of delicious mix-ups going on in those little guys.  I started immediately announcing that I would be making these at home ASAP.  Well, ASAP turned into 2 months later, but hey, at least it happened!  To be honest, the reason it took so long to make them was that Delilah kept eating the tortillas as soon as I bought them.  No joke.  We went through 2 packages that I found in my bed.  But then Nick brought me home some fresh kale from a friend at work, so I ran out and bought new tortillas and guarded them like a treasure, and so thus I bring you the sweet potato, black bean, and kale quesadilla.

Mashed sweet potato spiced with cumin, chili powder and oregano gets spread onto a tortilla and topped with kale that has been sauteed in olive oil with scallions and black beans.... cheddar cheese melts over all of it to keep the quesadilla together, and a quick stint in a hot pan lightly browns the outside of the tortilla.  Is your mouth watering yet?  If not, you may be some sort of (carnivorous) nutjob, because there is nothing not to like in these quesadillas.  Unfortunately I doubled the recipe but then ended up eating with just Kenzie and my mom (this seems to happen all the time!).  They loved them.  I had a huge stack left over, so my mom brought some over to Jeff and Heidi's (but Kenzie begged her not to bring too many because she wanted lots of leftovers!).  They were a bit tricky to heat up at work because they really crisped up the best in a toaster oven, but even microwaved, these healthy, delicious quesadillas were still amazing.  Maybe you want to try them for Meatless Monday next week??  Maybe you don't even want to wait for Monday?


sweet potato, black bean and kale quesadillas
from Cookie Monster Cooking

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (optional!)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chopped kale
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8-10 large flour tortillas
2 to 2 1/2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
hot sauce, Greek yogurt, sour cream or salsa for serving (don't miss out on the yogurt!)


1) Add the sliced potatoes to a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the potatoes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot.  With the heat on high, bring the water to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer to about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Drain the potatoes and then add to a large bowl.  Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes.  Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and chipotle peppers.  Mix until well combined.

2) In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add in the kale and green onions.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright green and tender.  Add the mixture to the bowl with the mashed sweet potatoes.  Next add in the black beans and mix well until combined.

3) Place the tortillas on a work surface.  Use a spatula to spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the filling on half of the tortilla.  Top with about 1/4 cup of the cheese.  Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the filling to form a semicircle.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

4) Wipe out the skillet you used for the kale and set over medium high heat.  When hot, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Place an assembled quesdadilla in the pan and cook, flipping once halfway through, until both sides are browned and the cheese is melted.  Cut into triangles and serve with hot sauce, Greek yogurt, and/or salsa.

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