Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Quesadilla Experiment

While quesadillas are more often served as appetizers, especially in restaurants, I've found them to be a quick, inexpensive, and often healthy option for dinner. (The expense and the healthy quality depends, of course, on what's in the quesadilla.) One of the simpliest versions, which has become a stand-by recipe for our family, is Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas. But as much as I love these, I was feeling creative last week and had a bit of a "foodie vision," if you will. So I changed things up a little bit and came up with brand-spankin' new recipe: Pinto Bean, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quesadillas. It would be an honor if you'd be brave enough to try them for yourselves and let me know your verdict!

Not familiar with goat cheese? Well let me tell ya, if you like feta cheese, you'll LOVE goat cheese! Goat cheese is similar to feta, except it's much creamier, which also means that it will melt better than feta does. And guess who sells several different brands and flavors of goat cheese super-cheap? Why Trader Joe's, of course! For more inspiration of different ways to use goat cheese, keep readin' past the recipe.

Pinto Bean, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or more, if needed)
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 oz. goat cheese, either in a log or crumbled
  • 1 (14 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 5 - 9 inch tortillas

In a food processor, combine beans, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder; process until very smooth. (If you don't have a food processor, simply mash the beans with a fork until fairly smooth, then stir in the remaining ingredients.) Using paper towels, pat the red peppers to remove any excess moisture, then slice the peppers into thin strips. If goat cheese is in a log, cut it up into small slices or chunks.

On one half of each the tortillas, spread the bean mixture. Then top with strips of red pepper. And finally, top with slices or crumbles of goat cheese. Fold over each tortilla. Grill the queasadillas, in batches, on a griddle over medium heat; turn them over when they are golden brown and cheese is melting.

To serve, cut each quesadilla in half with a sharp knife. Or, if serving as an appetizer, cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces. Serve immediatly.


  • Instead of flour tortillas, try using other flavors of tortillas, such as sun-dried tomato or whole wheat

  • Want to cut down on time even more? Substitute purchased hummus for the homemade bean spread (Trader Joe's sells many types of hummus, too)

**Suggestions about Goat Cheese

  • For this recipe, I used "Silver Goat Chevre with garlic and herbs" and it came in an 8 oz. log. Found in the cheese section at Trader Joe's for $3.69. But like I said in the recipe, I only used a little over half of the 8 ounces for the quesadillas. It worked awesome in this recipe, but it would be just as good using plain goat cheese, too.

  • For another simple appetizer, place a log of herbed goat cheese on a small platter, surround it with assorted crackers and you've got an awesome cracker spread.

  • Goat cheese crumbles (4 oz. package, Trader Joe's, $1.99) are a versatile and tasty way to top soups and salads. Now, come on....isn't this the tastiest looking salad you've ever seen?

(Note to Self: In the future, make sure we have plenty of Gas-X on hand before consuming this salad.)
Happy Eating!

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