Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meal idea: fresh salsa and black bean quesadillas

Here's a basic salsa recipe that you can easily change up to use what's in your pantry or produce box. I served this recently with black bean and cheese whole wheat quesadillas for dinner. To make the quesadillas, melt a dollop of spread (we use Smart Balance) in a pan, settle the quesadilla in the melted spread to lightly coat, then sprinkle cheddar cheese and black beans (drained and rinsed from the can) on top. Like so:
If you use a sharp cheddar, like Cabbots, with lots of flavor you don't need much to make a difference. Of course, the kids are just as happy with the inexpensive bag of shredded cheese, so whatever. When the cheese is melted and the under side of the wrap is lightly browned, fold it over on itself and serve with the salsa and chips. One of these days I'll remember to get a picture of the finished product before we eat it. Really though, don't we all know what a quesadilla looks like?

If your kids won't touch black beans omit them or try a dollop of fat-free refried beans. I also cut these into wedges and call it pizza, which the baby loves. My oldest is not big on the quesadillas right now, but he'll eat this salsa like a salad with a fork or on chips. I can always hope he warms up to the quesadillas, because this is a quick, nutritious, meat-free dinner that (just about) everyone loves.
Chunky Garden Fresh Salsa
4 medium tomatoes, the meatier the better, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, seeded, partially peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced yellow or red onion
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tb red win vinegar (or fresh lime or lemon juice)
salt and pepper

1.) How easy is this? Once you've chopped your ingredients, all you need to do is toss it together in a bowl. I like to chop everything in fairly large chunks, but you can also pour this in your food processor.
2.) If you have a jalapeno on hand and your kids don't mind the heat, you can add that. I don't bother with them since I get enough heat out of the onions and garlic for our tastes.
3.) Start with 1 Tb of sea or kosher salt, less if you're using table salt. Taste before adding more. I added about 1 1/2 Tb of sea salt to this batch and it was nearly too much.
4.) I also like a splash more acid in my salsa, hence the red wine vinegar. Fresh lime juice is best though if you have it, or lemon.

And now for a funny picture and story. A neighbor dropped in once when I was cooking and I answered the door with this knife in my hand.
He took two steps back and started talking real fast. Sorry! I was in the moment. You gotta love the tomato splatter marks underneath the eviscerated cucumber above though. Sometimes I scare myself.

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