If you’d like to expand your repertoire of meatless meals – or just love tasty Mexican food – these spicy black bean quesadillas with roasted red peppers are certain to satisfy.
In my house (and stomach), Mexican and Tex-Mex food is always welcome in any incarnation. Tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas, flautas, quesadillas – you name it, we love it.
Also, I’m always on the hunt for new meatless meals, but (a) unwilling to sacrifice taste or convenience to get there, and (b) maybe just a teeeeny bit unadventurous. There, I said it. Am I lazy? Busy? Boring? All of the above? Is it OK to be a food blogger who admits to needing to push myself sometimes to try new (to me) meals?
In truth, that’s one of the reasons I love running this blog – it’s a huge motivator to try new ingredients and experiment. I was raised on a pretty straightforward meat-and-potatoes type of diet, so expanding into more adventurous foods, especially of the veggie variety, and learning to enjoy them has been a growth area for me. Even some foods that I now recognize as pretty run-of-the-mill – like, oh, I dunno, black beans – were not familiar to me until I started cooking for myself.
Added to this, I’m an un-reformable creature of habit – that person who finds one dish they love at a favorite restaurant and wants to order it all the time. I love the idea of trying something new, and kind of wish I were that person who gleefully samples everything, but at the end of the day, I’m torn. I want to branch out, but crave the comfort of the sure thing all at once.
The thing is, intuitively I know it is good to diversify. Good for our diets, our palates, and, when it comes to incorporating more meatless meals, more economical and sustainable.
When I first tried them a couple of years ago, these spicy black beans were like entry-level diversification for me. I made them once, as written, for tacos. I loved them. I made them again, and realized that swirling a spoonful of the leftovers into scrambled eggs was a really good idea. I made them again as a side dish, and realized they were at least as popular as the main event (which was chicken tinga tostadas, incidentally. I was already branching out).
I made them again, and again, and again, because they’re delicious and fast and flexible and healthy and did I mention so so delicious? So today, these spicy black beans make extremely frequent appearances on my dining table, and I have a soft spot for them as an early, small step toward expanding my diet and cooking repertoire.
Use them as the base for these spicy black bean quesadillas, add some chopped roasted red peppers, because those make everything better, and some cheese, because cheese, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be at least as excited about this Mexican night as any old ground beef or chicken tacos – however adventurous your taste buds are, or aren’t. 🙂
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Spicy Black Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 teaspoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 cup shredded cheese monterey jack, colby jack, or any Mexican blend is terrific
- 8 flour or corn tortillas
- sliced avocado or salsa as desired, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (approximately 200 degrees C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slice the tops and bottoms off the peppers, cut into quarters, and remove seeds along with the inner white membranes. Arrange peppers on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning peppers about halfway through, until the skins are blackened and slightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside; when cool, coarsely chop.
- To make the black beans, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt; saute about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
- Stir in the beans followed right away by the broth. Bring to a brisk simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering gently until beans are tender and most liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and adjust seasonings to taste.
- To assemble quesadillas, warm a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and place a tortilla on the surface. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese evenly over the surface of the tortilla, followed by a thin layer of beans and a sprinkling of chopped red peppers. Finish with an additional thin layer of cheese, then top with another tortilla.
- Using a spatula, gently press down on the top tortilla, and cook until both layers of cheese begin to melt. Gently flip the quesadilla, and cook for 1-2 minutes more on the other side. Remove to a cutting board, slice into wedges, and serve with avocado or salsa as desired.
Black bean preparation adapted from Annie’s Eats.