Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mexican Night: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Black Bean & Kale Quesadillas

I'm going to Mexico for the first time ever in November. This makes me more excited than I can possibly express to you because I. LOVE. MEXICAN. CUISINE. Chances are good I may not even see the beaches while I'm there for all the eating I plan to do, and it's also very possible I'll gain at least 10 lbs. while South of the Border. 

That's what you're supposed to do on vacation, right?

In the aftermath of booking flights, I decided to start my culinary adventure early by whipping up some Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Black Bean & Kale Quesadillas! I stumbled across this gem on one of my favorite sites YumUniverse, and I have to tell you... from one Mexican fanatic to another, don't be stupid. Go home right now and get to cookin'. It's muy excelente!

Now you might be thinking, "How can I enjoy a good quesadilla in the absence of cheese? It's what makes a quesadilla a quesadilla, right? Well, my friends, the vegans have figured this one out and they are right on the money - Cashew Cheese Spread! It's so simple to make and really does give you all that creamy, "cheesy" goodness that a quesadilla requires. It has the same effect that raw cookie dough has on a person when left lying around (ie. it's DANGEROUS!).

Here's how you make it... 

You'll need 1 1/2 cups of organic whole, raw cashews, 1 lemon, 1/4 cup of water, 2 cloves of garlic and a tsp. of sea salt.
Now get out your food processor or high-powered blender and pour everything in.
Blend the ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency. It's that simple, you're done!
Now refrigerate until ready to use!
Now for the main course. I used the basic recipe as a guide, but altered some of the ingredients using whatever I had in the house. Let's give it a go...

Dice 1 small red onion.
Dice one small pepper. I had a Hungarian Wax Pepper on hand from our CSA, but you could always skip this step or add a jalapeno for some kick.
Dice half a bell pepper - any color will do. 
Wash and remove the stems from about 7-8 leaves of kale. I love Lacinato kale...
...then slice into thin ribbons and finely chop.
Now add 2-3 Tbs. of coconut oil (or oil of your choice) to a saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the diced onion, pepper and bell pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until cooked through.
Now add 1 tsp of ground cumin and 1 tsp of ground coriander.
Add 1 can of black beans - make sure to rinse them thoroughly before adding.
Once the beans have cooked for a few minutes, add in the kale and saute until wilted.
Turn off the heat, set the pan aside and grab your brown rice tortillas (you can find these at Whole Foods).
Spread your homemade cashew cheese spread on one half of the tortilla, then place 1 tortilla at a time in a clean skillet over medium-high heat. Let the tortilla and spread warm up for about 2 minutes.
Now add your black bean/kale mixture to the other half...
...and use a spatula to flip the cashew cheese side onto the black bean/kale side. Press down on it lightly with your spatula so it gets nice and warm (and both sides get to know each other better!). 
Remove your delicious quesadilla from the pan when it's a nice golden brown. Cut into 3 pieces and serve!
I like mine drizzled with hot sauce...
...or served with a side of salsa and limes!
Give this meal a try. I guarantee it will make you come dangerously close to booking yourself a one-way to Mexico!

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