Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas

Sometimes I make something that is so easy it’s hard to even call it a recipe.  Most of the time these happen on the nights I have class until 9 and they involve an egg and you don’t hear about them because it’s more about eating before I pass out than creating something that’s pretty and interesting enough to show you.  But this time it’s different.  You need to know about this recipe.
As you know from my Cinco de Mayo round up, I’m no stranger to Mexican inspired dishes, and I’m always looking for interesting ways to put a new spin on the classics.  This, with the combination of black beans and feta cheese, is definitely one of those new spins and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

It starts with black beans.  Like I said, on this particular night I needed food and I needed it fast, so I opened up a can of fat free refried black beans that I found at Whole Foods and bumped up their flavor with a little salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin.  I thinned them out with a little water and cooked over medium until just heated through.  You could use this quick and easy method, or you could make a big pot of black beans and mash them or puree them in a food processor.  Whatever floats your boat.


While the beans were heating up, chop up half a shallot and some fresh cilantro.
Assembly time!  When the beans are ready, grab a flour tortilla and spread some of the bean mixture on top.  Sprinkle with some of the fresh cilantro and raw shallot.  I used a shallot because it’s flavor is a little milder than a raw onion, and I really wanted that raw crunch in the quesadilla to complement the pureed beans.  It was a good choice.  Anyway!
Next add a layer of crumbled feta cheese.  You can use as much or as little as you’d like, or even a combination of feta and traditional shredded cheddar/jack.  I stuck with the feta, and used a heavy hand because I love salty, crumbly cheese.  


Spray a medium sized skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add the tortilla with all the goods on it, then top with another tortilla and spray it with cooking spray.
Let it cook for a couple of minutes, until it looks golden brown when you peak underneath.  Very carefully flip the quesadilla and cook the other side until it is also golden brown.
Transfer to a large plate and cut into wedges.  Garnish with a little more chopped cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.
This was so good.  So good that I may or may not have eaten two.  That’s what lunch breaks at the gym are for, right?
It was an amazing combination of flavors and textures–the creaminess of the black beans, the crunch of the shallot, and the freshness of the cilantro made this something special, but the addition of crumbled feta rather than a more traditional cheese was really what made this one of my new go-to recipes.
Start to finish, I think this took me 20 minutes, at most, which makes it perfect for a weeknight meal.  On this particular night I was so close to just ordering take out and calling it a day, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
An easy meal that is fast to make but tastes incredible?  That’s worth sharing.  Make this quesadilla soon.  Then let’s talk about feta cheese and how it might actually be good on anything.


Here’s the recipe!

Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas 
(Serves 1 but can easily be adjusted to fit however many people you are serving)


I made this with mostly fat free or low fat ingredients, but the beauty of a recipe like this is you can make it however you’d like.  The below ingredients are what I used, but feel free to adjust as necessary.


Ingredients

  • Two flour tortillas (I like Mission brand Carb Smart tortillas)
  • 1 15-ounce can of fat free refried black beans  (The brand I used was Bearitos and was from Whole Foods.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or a pinch) cayenne pepper (add more or less depending on how hot you want it, but be careful–cayenne packs a punch!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese (or less, or more, whatever!)
  • Cooking spray

Method

  1. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add refried beans, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and a couple of tablespoons of water and mix well to incorporate.  Cook beans until completely heated through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, grab the tortillas and prepare to assemble.  When beans are done, spread a layer of beans on a tortilla and top with shallot, cilantro, and feta cheese.  I didn’t use all of the shallot or cilantro–I used probably about half of what I chopped up.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the tortilla that has been topped with all the ingredients to the skillet and then top with another tortilla.  Spray the top tortilla with cooking spray and let cook for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown.  Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook the other side for about 4 minutes as well, until golden brown.
  4. Transfer to a plate and cut into wedges.  Serve with more chopped cilantro and a little hot sauce if desired.  Revel in the fact that you made an amazing dinner in under 20 minutes.

Enjoy!