Need a great appetizer that will be satisfying to both meat eaters and vegetarians, and something that will make a lasting impression with friends and family?
This is a spin off of one of my favorite items to make. Actually it’s a comfort food for me. It’s the quesadilla.
But of course I had to jazz it up and make it a little sexier, so here’s my Sweet potato and black bean quesadilla with a cilantro pesto, which I recently demonstrated and passed out samples at Chicago’s French Market.
Here are the ingredients for the quesadillas:
- 4-6 large flour tortillas
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 can or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle (or cayenne pepper)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
|Chef Ashley Simone making sweet potato black bean quesadillas.|
Stab the sweet potatoes all the way around the sweet potato with a fork. Wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 10 minutes, until soft. Slice open sweet potato and spoon flesh into a bowl (wait until it is cool enough to handle or hold with a pot holder). Add beans, cumin, ground chipotle, ground cinnamon, ground pepper and salt. Mash to combine, leaving some of the beans whole.
Spoon half of the sweet potato mixture onto a tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Place another tortilla on top. Repeat with remaining sweet potato mixture and tortillas.
Cook each quesadilla in a skillet or griddle over medium heat, flipping to the other side once tortilla is golden brown.
And here’s what you need for the Cilantro Pesto:
- 1 bunch of cilantro (about two packed cups)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt/pepper to taste
To make the pesto, cut the stems off the cilantro. Place the cilantro, garlic, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor. Mix till creamy and smooth. Add more olive oil or a dash of water if the consistency isn’t right. Salt and pepper to taste.
Now To Assemble
Place quesadillas on a cutting board, slice into quarters and serve with the cilantro pesto. I like to put my pesto in a squeeze bottle and drizzle over the quesadilla. Be creative. Make a pretty pattern!
There you have it! Try it at your next little party or when you have friends over for drinks. And let me know how you like it!