Book cover: ©2003 Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc., Pepper: cc by anolobb
Portobello and Red Pepper Quesadillas: popping with flavor, healthy and super simple to make
BY MAGAZINE COO MARGO MAIER-MOUL
When I think of quesadillas, I recall with some alarm the ones I learned to make in college: stuffed full of meat, dripping with processed cheese, and weighed down even further with a layer of sour cream. The only vegetable in sight was the jar of salsa. Yikes!
The Portobello and Red Pepper Quesadilla recipe below, from the venerable Candle Cafe, satisfies my hunger for a South-of-the-border treat, but without the health hazards. They’re popping with flavor, healthy and super simple to make! Take them on a picnic, have them for a snack, or pair with a soup or salad for a relaxed summer supper.
If you’re in New York City, treat yourself to a meal at the Candle Cafe for vegan, organic, healthy and just plain delicious food. They’re a Certified Green Restaurant committed to sustainability and green business practices such as recycling, using recycled materials whenever possible, composting food waste, using non-toxic cleaning supplies, investing in wind-power, and partnering with other groups and businesses that share their vision.
Excerpted from The Candle Cafe Cookbook by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
Portobello and Red Pepper Quesadillas
These quesadillas are perfect for a party. You can serve them as an appetizer, or cut them into smaller wedges for the perfect portable finger food. They’re also great when you want a light bite along with soup or salad. The bean purée can be prepared well ahead of time and works with almost any kind of bean.
1 cup white, black, or pinto beans
1 1-inch piece of kombu
1 minced garlic clove, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili or chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 12-inch flour tortillas
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2/3 cup grated soy cheese
1. First, prepare the bean purée. Pick over and rinse the beans and put them in a bowl with the piece of kombu, add enough water to cover by about 2 inches, and set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
2. Drain the beans, reserving the kombu, and transfer them both to a soup pot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.
3. Transfer the beans to a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, chili powder, sea salt, lime juice, cilantro, and a bit of the cooking liquid and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. The purée can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. Prepare the quesadilla filling: Toss the mushrooms and pepper in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
6. Assemble the quesadillas: Spread a thin layer of the bean purée onto a tortilla. Top with half the roasted mushroom-pepper mixture and half the onion slices. Sprinkle half the cheese over the vegetables and repeat with the second tortilla. Fold the tortillas in half.
7. Bake the quesadillas until warmed through, about 15 minutes, turning once. Or, for a crisper result, broil or grill the quesadillas for about 5 minutes per side. Cut into quarters and serve at once.
Excerpted from The Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza with Barbara Scott-Goodman. Copyright © 2003 by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza with Barbara Scott-Goodman. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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