A little while back, I did something pretty impressive — I convinced my husband to go to an all-vegetarian restaurant. I had heard nothing but good things about the Chicago Diner (Meat Free Since ’83!), and I wanted to give it a go. Our trip there was mostly (though not entirely) successful, the highlight for my husband being a vegan peanut-butter-and-cookie-dough milkshake. How you make a vegan peanut-butter-and-cookie-dough milkshake I’ll never know, but I will admit that it was delicious.
For me, however, the highlight of the Chicago Diner trip was my entrée — a sweet potato quesadilla. I no longer remember what caused me to pick this, as I’m not really a huge fan of either sweet potatoes or quesadillas, but it blew my mind. Something about the sweetness of the potatoes mixed with cheese and other Mexican-ness really had this quesadilla firing on all cylinders. Plus, while not really “health food,” it was at least meat-free and full of veggies, so I even considered it a dietary win. I had almost forgotten about this little pocket of yumminess until I ran across a recipe for a sweet potato and black bean burrito. It, my friends, was ON.
As good as the burrito sounded, what I really wanted was an ooey-gooey-cheesy quesadilla. I did a little googling, found some recipes along the lines of what I was craving, and got to work.
BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS (recipe from Meg in the Kitchen)
1 sweet potato
Olive oil or olive oil spray
1/2 a white onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 15-oz can black beans, drained
2 tsp cumin
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
6 medium flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Heat oven to 400. Peel sweet potato and chop into small, 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil (or spray with olive oil spray), salt, and pepper, and arrange in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon halfway through cooking.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat; add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in black beans, cumin, chipotle chile, and adobo sauce. Saute over medium heat until beans are heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Stir together black beans and sweet potatoes. One at a time, lightly brown one side each of two tortillas in another skillet lightly sprayed with olive oil. Remove from heat. Top one tortilla (browned side up) with cheese, then bean and potato mixture, then more cheese, then second tortilla (browned side down). Cook entire quesadilla over medium high heat until browned through and cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and brown other side.
- Repeat for other quesadillas. Serve warm with salsa or sour cream.
Um. Mission accomplished. These had an awesome sweet-and-spicy flavor, and you honestly don’t have to use very much cheese to get these to Maximum Deliciousness (note: this is a substantial departure from my usual policy regarding quesadillas). My husband also liked these, but since he is generally less enthusiastic than I am about meatless entrees, I’m not sure if he would rave as much as I am.
Two notes – you can make the sweet potatoes, the beans, or both ahead of time and refrigerate them until you’re ready to go (I made the sweet potatoes the night before but not the beans). Also, these are surprisingly filling. We had some sour cream rice as a side dish (recipe coming soon!), and I could only eat two “slices” (i.e., half of a quesadilla), while my husband ate three. Give these a try for Meatless Monday!