Saturday, November 1, 2014


Because my girls and I don't eat much dairy, quesadillas have been a bit of a challenge for us. However, the simplicity of the meal has had me forever enchanted.

Buttercup squash seem to hold a wonderful solution. These little guys have a thick flesh when cooked, reminiscent of a sweet potato, which is enough to hold together two finicky tortillas. The nutritional yeast and spices give it a "cheesy" flavor although [here's my disclaimer], cheese is cheese no matter how you cut it and, if we call it what it is, there isn't a substitute for the real stuff.

However, there is a different kind of really, really good and this is it.

So, put your preconceptions of what a quesadilla should be [or has been] on the shelf and give this a whirl. You might be surprised by your lack of disappointment.

Makes 2 - 4 Quesadillas

For the tortillas:

4 sprouted corn tortillas
extra virgin, raw coconut oil
sea salt

Gently rub, using hands, a thin coat of coconut oil over one side of each tortilla. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on each. Set aside.

For the "cheesy" spread:

1 large buttercup squash [or other thick-fleshed squash or sweet potato], roasted*
1/2 medium - large onion [or one small], finely chopped
1 - 2 tsp. raw, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 red, orange, or yellow sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 - 2 medium size carrots, shredded
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. powders of each: turmeric, coriander, and oregano
1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder [freshly ground if possible]
1 T. nutritional yeast
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 - 2 cups shredded greens [kale, spinach, pok choi, arugula, mustard greens, etc.]

Roast squash using instructions below [*].

In a medium cast iron or stainless steel pan, saute onion in a teaspoon or two coconut oil until onions are soft and just beginning to brown. Add pepper, shredded carrots, and garlic and saute for another minute or two until peppers are just beginning to soften.

Scoop roasted squash out of the shell and place in a blender with spices, yeast, and salt. Using a tamper, blend until very smooth. Add water by the tablespoon if mixture is too difficult to blend. The spread should have a thick, paste-like consistency.

Once sauce is blended [taste and make any necessary adjustments], spread onto the non-oiled side of half of the prepared tortillas. Top with the sauteed vegetables and shredded greens, add any additional fillings of choice [see suggestions below], and top with the remaining prepared tortillas. The oiled sides should be facing out. Place on a hot skillet or panini maker and cook until filling is warm [about two minutes]. Remove and gently cut into triangle pieces. Serve immediately with sides of choice [see suggestions below].

Optional Fillings:

additional sauteed vegetables
soaked and cooked beans of choice [black, adzuki, white, etc.]
shredded goat cheese
shredded chicken, beef, or lamb

Optional Sides:

fresh cilantro
avocado or guacamole
Greek Yogurt or non-dairy plain cultured yogurt of choice
coconut milk kefir

*To roast the squash, cut squash in half and scoop out stringy flesh and seeds. Place haves face-down [shell up] on a cookie sheet and cook at 450 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes or until soft. Use a knife or fork and gently prick to check. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 - 20 minutes or until you are able to handle the hot squash. 

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