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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Quesadillas

I have a secret to tell you...I have a bit of a sick obsession with Mexican food. I could eat quesadillas for dinner every night and guacamole like ice cream for dessert. Unfortunately, the average quesadilla filled with cheese and pan sauteed with oil or butter isn't that healthy. But hark!!! I have found respite for my demon craving!

I recently ran into an old friend of mine from law school, Tracy McGuigan*. I mentioned my hunt for a healthy quesadilla recipe and low and behold she had one for me!!

Tracy revised the standard cheese filled quesadilla recipe and turned it into a powerhouse of protein and fiber by losing the chess and adding black beans and quinoa. Tracy took my unhealthy quesadilla addiction and turned it into a substantially healthy meal!

Quinoa is a whole grain harvested in South America. It's packed with 14g of protein per serving and contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein source. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and phosphorous and is high in both magnesium and iron. Next time you have a craving for Mexican, try Tracy's Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Quesadillas!

Vegan Quinoa Black Bean Quesadillas

1 cup quinoa, washed & drained
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (108-oz pkg), cut in half
5 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Wash & rinse quinoa. In a saucepan, bring quinoa & water to a boil. Reduce & simmer, cover & cook until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Combine quinoa, beans, tomatoes, & onions in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stuff mixture inside a whole grain wrap and sauté until lightly browned on each side. Top with salsa and sour cream (try Tofutti to keep it vegan!) and drizzle dressing over. Garnish with cilantro.

* Tracy is currently pursuing a Masters in Nutrition, is a graduate of JNA Culinary Arts and lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and children. She is currently working for Christina Pirello Health Education Initiative in grant development.

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