After two years on the east coast and living in State College, PA, I’m finally back home in beautiful California! These days I’m taking a much needed summer vacation before I start my first real job post grad school. It’s a nice little transition period that I completely intend on enjoying before real life hits. I still remember when I wrote this post when I moved away, and I can’t believe how dramatic I sounded. I do recall feeling hesitant to leave home, but I am so very glad that I did. I grew as a professional, learned more about myself, and met some really awesome people along the way 🙂 Life truly does begin at the edge of your comfort zone! However, I do wish I had more time in the past couple of years to cook and devote more time to this blog. This is something that I truly love doing and I hope now that I’m back home, I can cook regularly and grow more as a cook.
Feeding myself in State College while in school was easy when I first started. But as soon as classes started picking up, I found that I didn’t have the energy to pack lunches or even cook dinner every single night. I started making large batch recipes on Sunday that I could eat throughout the weeknights, and these sweet potato and black bean quesadillas are ones that I’ve perfected! I’ve taste tested these myself, fed them to my friends numerous times, and even made them for my family when they came for my graduation weekend. Each time, they were devoured, so now I’m really excited to share this recipe with you. My meat eating friends didn’t miss the meat ONE BIT, so these are great for meatless Mondays.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can really vary how much of each ingredient you want. For example, if you don’t like corn, leave it out. If you prefer to have more onions in your quesadilla, add more onions! It truly is a no fuss recipe, and it comes together so quickly! I always use low-sodium black beans because the regular ones have so much salt, and I like to eat my quesadilla with non-fat greek yogurt (to emulate sour cream!) and Tapatio, which is truly the best hot sauce there is.
Also, the stuffing can be re-purposed and eaten over rice, or even plain if you’re watching carbs. My mom loves the stuffing by itself because all the flavors work really well together: you get the smokiness from the spices and the sweetness from the potato and corn. I love finishing the stuffing with fresh cilantro (which you can leave out, of course) because I love the taste and how it looks!
If you’re a busy professional or student, I hope you get to try this recipe out!
- For the stuffing:
- 1 sweet potato, peeled, and sliced thin into 1-inch slices
- ½ white or yellow onion diced
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
- ½ green bell pepper diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- ½ cup fresh corn
- 1 can black beans. drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 handful of cilantro chopped
- To assemble quesadillas:
- Whole wheat tortillas
- ¼ cup of shredded Mexican cheese (per quesadilla)
- Avocado slices
- 1-3 teaspoons of olive oil/coconut oil or cooking oil spray
- To serve:
- Greek yogurt
- Hot sauce (I love and recommend Tapatio!)
- In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add cumin, sliced sweet potatoes, and salt, and let cook for about 10 minutes. Don't let them burn, so keep stirring them around.
- Throw in the diced onions and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
- Add bell peppers (both kind) and garlic, and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the peppers are soft.
- Add corn, beans, paprika, coriander powder, oregano leaves, and more salt. Combine together and taste to make sure there is enough salt.
- Cook for a few minutes more, add cilantro, toss together, and then remove from heat.
- To assemble the quesadillas: Spray a nonstick pan with cooking oil spray or heat ½ teaspoon of coconut/olive oil
- Lay down one tortilla, make sure heat is on medium
- Sprinkle about ⅛th of a cup of the shredded cheese (or more if you want more!)
- Scoop about ¼th cup of the sweet potato filling and spread it on top of the cheese, creating a layer.
- Lay down about 4 slices of avocado
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the avocado
- Place a second tortilla on top and press down with your hands or the spatula.
- By now, the bottom tortilla should be golden brown and cooked.
- Flip the quesadilla and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and cut into 4 pieces.
- Serve with yogurt and hot sauce. Eat immediately!
- Note: The stuffing will keep in the fridge for up to a week, so you've got quesadillas all week long.