Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

What started as a quiet rumble the day after Halloween is now a full-on cacophony of HOLIDAYS, HOLIDAYS, HOLIDAYS! I heard the first Christmas carol while picking something up at the drugstore on November first and by now it’s everywhere. Our Pinterest feed is non-stop Christmas cookies and there are Youtube is clogged with turkey tutorials. And don’t get me wrong, I love it all. SPC will be right in there with the cookies, the healthy sides and gift guides. But we also know that not every meal can possibly be a celebration. There’s still dinner to be made for a not-so-special Wednesday night. And given all the sugar that’s going to be coming at my kids over the next few weeks, I’d like for those weeknight meals to pack a little extra nutritional punch.

This is one of those dinners. I think I started thinking about it when I spotted pre-cut squash at the grocery store. I don’t mind peeling and cubing a butternut squash – by far the easiest squash to deal with – but I know it’s daunting for some. But don’t give up on squash! It’s such a flavourful, hearty ingredient that lends itself to a lot of different recipes. I’ll be honest, I made these quesadillas because I knew they’d photograph well but once you whipped up a batch of this squash and black bean mixture you could do anything with it. Roll it into a burrito, serve it alongside a fried egg, scoop over some rice for a trendy bowl (don’t forget to instagram that!).

My kids loved it in all its incarnations. And if you’re giving me side-eye right now that your kids will never eat this – remember: new ingredients squished between tortilla and cheese stand the best chance of picky eater acceptance. Let us know how it goes with your crew!

Butternut and Black Bean Quesadillas

photo by Maya Visnyei

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

Yield: 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 5 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 14 oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or Monteray Jack or Mozzarella)
  • big handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 8 tortillas

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss your cubed squash together with the spices and olive oil until its well coated.

Spread it out evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and add the beans to the baking sheet. Give everything a stir and again, spread it out evenly on the sheet. Place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Drizzle a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla down and spread 1/4 of the squash and bean mixture right to the edge of the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated cheese and then a bit of cilantro. Top it with another tortilla. Place a plate on top and press down firmly. Cook for about five minutes until the tortilla is golden and the cheese is beginning to melt. Carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook for another five minutes on the other side.

Repeat with the rest of your tortillas and squash. Cut the cooked quesadilla into quarters like a pizza and serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

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