Weekday Vegetarian: Beets and Greens Quesadillas

weekday vegetarian beet quesadilla photo

If you are one of those people who says "ewww" whenever beets are served, this might be the recipe that changes your mind. I've always loved beets, pickled beets being one of my favourite things as a kid, so it always surprises me when people give that little shiver of distaste when they are mentioned.The complaint I've heard most often is that they taste "dirty", but I like that earthy taste that you get from beets, and some spring vegetables like fiddleheads.

You won't taste anything like that at all in these easy quesadillas. Doing a quick sautee brings out the sweetness of the beets, which mingles beautifully with the spices and then the saltiness of the cheese.

I was really happy to see that the greens are included in this recipe because they are delicious and very good for you and most people just chuck them away. The author suggests Swiss chard as a substitution for the beet greens, and that would be good too. The recipe calls for cooking spray, but really, who needs an aerosol can when you can just wipe a bit of oil on the bottom of the pan with a brush?

When you are buying beets, choose medium to small sized vegetables, because they can get a bit woody if they are too large. I was lucky enough to get these beets out of my mother's garden, and they were the perfect size.

This recipe is from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook by Kim O'Donnel.

Beets and Greens Quesadillas

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium-size onion, sliced thinly
1 unpeeled beet, sliced very thinly
1 bunch 4 to 5 cups beets greens, chopped finely
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
6 (8 inch) or 3 (10 inch) tortillas
1 heaping cup of Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

1. Heat the oil in a 10 or 12 inch skillet. Add the onion and beet, and cook over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes, stirring often.

2. Add the greens, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and water, and stir until the spices and salt are well distributed. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and all the water has evaporated.

3. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl, then wash and dry the skillet. Heat the clean skillet over medium-low heat and great lightly. Lay a tortilla in the pan, then spread about 2 tablespoons of cheese over half of the tortilla. Cover the cheese with 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the cooked vegetables. Spread another tablespoon of cheese over the vegetables, then fold the tortilla in half and flip it with a spatula. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until the tortilla is nicely browned and the cheese is melted through.

4. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and vegetables. Cut each quesadilla into four wedges with a knife or pizza cutter.

More Beet Recipes
Pasta with Baby Beets and Sugar Snap Peas
Celery Root and Beet Pasta
Beet Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

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