I’m back home!!! Coming home has never felt so good (including when I used to come home from UCSD during undergrad). I hope the next month or so crawls by and so that I can really savor each day in California. Since I came home, my Mom, of course, has been busy buzzing around the kitchen and making all my favorite things to eat (so far, I’ve had puris, channa, sambar…getting hungry just thinking about it!!). But today, I decided to cook my parents lunch; I made something that has become one of my favorite things to make while I’m at school: sweet potato and black bean quesadillas! It’s fast (because I used some shortcuts, which I’ll mention in the below), super healthy, and delicious. This recipe was born from one of those videos you see nowadays everywhere that show you how to cook something. It’s called a Southwestern stirfry, and it’s made of sweet potatoes, black beans, bell peppers, and eaten with rice. But I turned the stirfry into quesadillas! Much more filling, in my opinion.
The reason why I love these sweet potato and black bean quesadillas so much is because they are super fast to make and you can make a huge batch on Sunday night and continue eating quesadillas till like, mid-week, if you wanted (all you need next is a pitcher of margaritas). Finding time to cook in an MBA program is often unheard of. But I think it’s completely and totally possible, especially when it’s not midterm or finals season. How? Semi-homemade is the answer! That means you take some help from the store and cut down on your cooking time. Here’s what I want to tell people when they are blown away that I still cook when I could just order out and save some time:
- Feeding myself good food means my brain will work better! It also means that I’ll feel better about my body in general.
- Sometimes my brain just needs to chill out and not think about EBITDA or value based pricing or deadweight losses (did I lose ya?). Cooking is the perfect escape.
- When I get to create something, I’m super proud of myself, so it never feels like a waste of time.
The semi-homemade part comes from the canned beans and corn (and you can also get chopped onions and bell peppers if you really want). If you have more time on hand, I recommend using fresh corn (which I did when I made this for my parents), but if you do end up using canned, make sure you wash the corn and beans thoroughly to get rid of all the excess salt.
My parents really liked these but the recommended that I add some thai chili peppers to the mixture next time (that Indian palette!). Also, if you aren’t a quesadilla person (and if you aren’t…really??), you can always eat this sweet potato mixture over rice with some yogurt! That’s how I started eating these before I turned them into quesadillas. And look how beautiful:
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch wide square slices
- ¾th green bell pepper, diced
- ¾th red bell pepper, diced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 can of black beans (beans drained and washed well)
- 2 ears of corn (or one small can of corn)
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano (or about 1 teaspoon of dried)
- 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
- ¼th of an avocado, sliced
- 2 whole wheat tortillas (for 1 quesadilla; this recipe will give you enough filling for about 6 quesadillas!)
- ¼th cup of low fat, Mexican cheese per quesadilla
- salt and pepper to taste
- Greek yogurt and hot sauce to serve on the side (optional, but highly recommended!)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wide saucepan
- Once hot, add the sweet potato, cumin, salt, and pepper, and cook on medium high heat till soft (about 5-7 min)
- Toss in the peppers, onions, garlic, and corn. Mix well and let everything cook for about 7 minutes.
- Now add the beans, oregano, and cilantro. Mix well again and turn off heat.
- In a separate pan, add a slight drizzle of olive oil. When warm, place a tortilla on the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add some cheese (as much or little as you like).
- Scoop about ½ cup of the sweet potato and bean filling and place onto the tortilla.
- Place avocado slices and then add some more cheese on top.
- Place the second tortilla and press down gently.
- Add another drizzle of olive oil, and then flip over with a spatula. The other side should be golden brown. Total time per side should be about 5 minutes.
- Place quesadilla on a flat surface (like a chopping board) and cut into 4 pieces.
- Serve/eat immediately with yogurt and hot sauce!