Mexican food is always a winner in our house, with quesadillas (‘Kes-a-dillas’ as some of my favourite Scottish people say), being on high rotation. Everyone helps with their part of the assembly line, from chopping board, to pan, to face, eating as we cook as we eat as we cook etc… Great for those times you’re not sure how many will be showing up for dinner and also for lunchboxes the next day.

Faff Factor: 2.5/5 • Flavour: 4/5 • Fridge-to-face: 20 mins

Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

(Serves 4 +)

8 tortillas (any variety)
1 cup grated cheese (any variety – I’ve used crumbled goat feta)
3-4 cups chopped spinach

Black Bean Paste
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (canned work fine)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bunch cilantro (Approx. 1 1/2 cups)
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt

1/2 small red onion, diced
6 med. sized tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sucanat (or any soft brown sugar)
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
1 ripe avocado, cut into small chunks

To Serve
small tub sour cream or cashew sour cream
small tin of pickled jalapeño peppers
Hot sauce

1. Place all the black bean paste ingredients into a food processor, tear in the bunch of cilantro. Pulse until a rough paste has formed.
2. Mix all salsa ingredients together in a bowl, using only 1/2 the lime juice. Check the flavour and add more salt or lime juice to taste.
*Alternative to chopping salsa ingredients: pulse all ingredients (except avocado) in food processor until it reaches desired consistency, pour into bowl, and add chunks of avocado. Add extra salt and lime to taste.
3. Heat a large frying pan while you assemble your quesadillas: Take one tortilla and spread with approx 1/4 cup of bean paste, leaving about 2 cm clear around the edge. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and a handful of chopped spinach. If using, add some pickled jalapeños. Place another tortilla on top.
4. Gently place your quesadilla into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on either side, being careful not to loose all your filling when you turn it over. The filling should be warm, cheese melted, spinach fully wilted, tortilla nicely charred.
5. Transfer to a chopping board and cut into wedges. Serve with salsa, sour cream, pickled jalapeños & hot sauce.

– My wee one loves mature cheddar in these, but doesn’t love spinach. I tend to leave out the greens for her and serve veggie sticks on the side. She’s also not a fan of spice just yet, so I remove a little bowl of salsa for her before I add the jalapeño. On even pickier days, she simply has avocado slices and cherry tomatoes on the side.
– Sub out spinach for a handful of baby arugula, or shredded kale or chard.
– Chopped red / yellow peppers are a great addition to the quesadillas, charred in a hot pan first if you can be arsed.
– Add a teaspoon of blended chipotles in adobo, a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt to some sour cream for an awesome smoky, spicy dipping sauce.

Faff notes:
– There are pros and cons with quesadillas…
Pros: Bean paste and salsa can both be prepped in the food processor, big win.
Cons: When we eat Mexican food we can’t help but go a little crazy on the sides (dipping sauces, pickled onions, hot sauces, etc etc) and before you know it there’s a dishwasher full of tiny bowls to tidy up. However, it doesn’t have to be this way… Also, the assembly line can be a bit of a faff, but again, get everyone involved, chat as you go, embrace the bedlam!

Flavour Notes:
– Mexican food always wins in our house. Fresh herbs, lime, salt, avocado, YES!
– Infinitely tweak-able for the even the pickiest eaters.


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