Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

We’ve got lots of new recipes coming at you soon (like, later this week!) To tide you over I’m bringing back an oldie but goodie. Laura and I are both cultivating an obsession with avoiding the flu. The flu bug that is going around this year is a nasty one and as well as booking an appointment to get us all the flu shot, making everyone wash their hands like they’re Howard Hughes, I’m trying to add as many immunity boosters to our diet as possible. This recipe is a winner because it’s vitamin-packed. I wrote about it below but also wanted to highlight the importance of bioflavenoids. Come again? They’re phytonutrients that are particularly good at fighting environmental pollutants. Getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help you and your crew get the benefits of bioflavenoids. Plus, anything in a quesadilla is just easier to get in a kid, don’t you find? – C.M.

Esme has become outdoors averse. Being allowed to lounge around in her p.j.s all day is her three-year old’s idea of heaven. But there’s something slightly creepy about this lounge lizard leaning she’s developed.

Getting her out to do something as boring as grocery shopping is a hard sell most weekends. But Toronto was hit with a snow-globe pretty snow storm this Saturday morning and even our own little Brian Wilson wanted to get out into it. The promise of a few runs down the steep banks of Christie Pitts on the way to pick up the weekly supplies did the trick. The park was jammed with families racing down the fresh snow, screaming and whooping as they flew.

For dinner that night I made these quesadillas. Healthy as hell, they do present their own kind of compromise. They’re packed with vitamin-rich ingredients: black beans, spinach and tomatoes (let’s call them the grocery store) sandwiched by cheese and tortillas (think of them as the sled ride). A serving of these quesadillas delivers a solid dose of vitamins A, C and B plus good shot of fibre. And they’re delish. Big hit, people. Bit hit.

Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas


  • 1 onion, chopped on the fine side
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 15 ounce tin of black beans
  • 1 small glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 bunch of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 flax tortillas


Rinse your black beans

Heat a small glug of olive oil in a sauté pan.

Toss in onion and garlic and sauté until they are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the spices and stir, then add the beans

Use the back of a fork or a potato masher to mash up the beans.

You're not making a paste here, just mashing at least half the beans.

Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently so that they don't stick to the pan. T

ake off the heat and put aside

Wash spinach well and trim the stalks. Chop the spinach very coarsely. Just a few chops to help it break down more quickly.

In a new pan (or the one you just used for the beans, wiped out) drizzle the tiniest bit of oil and bring to a medium heat.

Add spinach and stir. It will start to wilt immediately. Allow it to get quite soft, 3 to 5 minutes at the most. Remove from heat.

As you take the spinach out of the pan, press it against the edge to release the water to avoid having soggy quesadillas

Assemble all your ingredients: beans, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, tortillas.

In a clean pan, drizzle another tiny bit of oil and bring to medium-high heat. You're really just toasting the tortilla and melting the cheese so this goes quickly.

Place down one tortilla and spread half the beans, then half the spinach, half the tomatoes and half the cheese.

Place another tortilla on top

Press something down on top to flatten the quesadilla. I use a small cast iron skillet but I've also used a small plate with a can of chick peas on top of that.

When the bottom of the tortilla is brown - maybe 3 or 4 minutes - carefully flip the tortilla over and press the other side.

Repeat with the rest of your ingredients to make two quesadillas.

Place the cooked quesadillas on a cutting board and cut them - pizza style - into 6 or 8 pieces. You could serve these with sour cream, yogurt and salsa.


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  1. Heidi Pyper
    January 10, 11:08 Reply
    Yum! These look great. Might I suggest adding a little avocado to this recipe - read my bit on Wednesday to find out how a little avocado will make this meal go a long long way!
  2. Mary Nersessian
    January 19, 07:45 Reply
    I do believe my son might actually eat this! *Adding to weekly meal plan*
  3. Ceri Marsh
    January 19, 08:39 Reply
    I would add avocado to just about anything. I even love it mashed lightly on my morning toast! And Mary, please let us know what the verdict is in your house. Hope it works! Of course with quesadillas you can really add anything your family likes (plus sneak in a few vegetables while you're at it).
  4. Caroline
    January 26, 19:15 Reply
    Made these for dinner tonight—delish! I swapped in roasted red peppers instead of tomato, and used spinach tortillas instead of flax, which browned up nicely. My two year old loved them... it helped that we called them "dinner pancakes".
  5. yvonne
    April 07, 14:25 Reply
    i love your recipes but it would be really awesome if you can provide a printable option of the recipes
    • Ceri Marsh
      April 12, 20:50 Reply
      Yvonne, you're not the first person to ask for that function. It's something we're looking into! But I'm so glad you're liking the recipes here!
  6. Bob
    April 08, 00:06 Reply
    @yvonne Protip: copy and paste is your friend
  7. [...] always popular with kids, so don’t bother telling them they’re nutrient dense, too. You can’t go wrong with a hearty helping of spinach and black beans are a great source of iron, fibre and protein (without the fat found in meat). [...]
  8. Mary Eva
    April 24, 02:35 Reply
    I made them vegan- no cheese- but added avocado and salsa after they were done. Delicious!
  9. Ceri Marsh
    April 24, 07:40 Reply
    I'm glad they worked out, Mary! I always feel like you need the cheese to make them stick together but I'm glad to hear that's not the case. This really is one of those kitchen sink meals that can work with whatever you've got handy. Thanks for reading SPC!!
  10. gaba
    August 31, 10:04 Reply
    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this website. Keep it up!
  11. gogo
    August 31, 10:17 Reply
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  12. [...] ABC Quesadilla: This is more of an assembly job than anything else, which makes it perfect for getting kids involved in. No need to mention this meal is packed with superfoods, right? [...]
  13. Colene Ruggiero
    February 02, 17:17 Reply
    these quesadillas look great. You can add extra veg, leftover meat whatever. I quick meal.

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