Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spinach-Portobello Quesadillas with Corn Salsa

As promised, my Sedona-inspired Southwestern recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

Eating Mexican food out can be tricky. Even if you skip the sour cream and cheese in attempt to create a healthier dish, vegetables can be loaded with oil and black beans even served in pig fat.  One burrito can easily contain a full day's worth of calories.  This Spinach-Portobello Quesadillas with Corn Salsa recipe loads up on fresh veggies and classic fajita spices while skipping excessive oil.  In addition, reduced-fat cheddar cheese and whole wheat tortillas prove that light Mexican isn't an oxymoron.

These quesadillas are totally versatile too: cook a batch of the filling and have dinner done for the whole week, or cut small triangles of quesadilla for an easy cocktail party appetizer.  Can't get enough corn salsa?  Mix with avocado chunks and spring greens for an easy salad. Both of these dishes are a hit every time. Buen Provecho!

Spinach-Portobello Quesadillas
Yield: 2 Quesadillas
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
6 cups uncooked spinach leaves
1/2 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cooked covered for 8 minutes, or until onions become translucent and begin to take on a caramelized look.  Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add spices, mushroom, and spinach, and cook covered for 5 minutes. (Both mushrooms and spinach retain a lot of water, so if the pan becomes too liquidy, continue to cook uncovered until the liquid evaporates.) Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Remove quesadilla filling from pan and transfer to a medium sized bowl.  Spray the same pan with a light coating of cooking spray or olive oil from a spritzer, and add one tortilla.  Cook covered on medium heat for 1 minute, flip, and cook for another minute. Remove, and do the same for the other tortilla.
Place original tortilla back in the pan and sprinkle with 1/8 cup of cheese. Cook covered for another minute, or until cheese begins to melt. Add half of the vegetable filling from the bowl, sprinkle with another 1/8 cup of cheese, and add the second tortilla on top. Press down lightly on the quesadilla with a spatula, flip, and cook for a few more minutes. Repeat the same for the other two tortillas, 1/4 cup cheese, and rest of vegetable filling.
Cut quesadillas into 8 slices, like a pizza pie. Top with Corn Salsa, and enjoy!

Corn Salsa: (serves 4)

1 15.5 oz canned corn (no salt added)
1 10.5 oz canned black beans (no salt added)
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp red cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime (and 1/8 tsp of zest)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. (This is one of those recipes where the flavors taste even better after they've mixed for a day, so feel free to prepare in advance!)

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