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feel good food that's good for you

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za’atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extraΒ flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily increased for a healthy family meal.

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.Is Mexican food even healthy? Mention grabbing some Mexican food to anyone and you will probably get one of two reactions: “oh my God, I LOVE IT! Let’s order everything!” and “I love it but it doesn’t love me. Too heavy”.

The image outside of Mexico can, unfortunately, be of a cheese-heavy, oily cuisine. But really, if we steer clear of the chimichangas (origin: Tuscon Arizona) and deep-fried taco shell salads, the cuisine is very healthy. Meat and cheese are actually a very late addition to Mexican cooking, by way of conquering Spain.

I am not an expert on Mexican food and I don’t claim to be. However, I grew up in south-westΒ Florida, where proximity to Mexico makes homestyle Mexican restaurants even more common than identikit Taco Bells – and even McDonalds. They range from high-end gourmet to walk-up buses to plastic fork takeaways, with the latter the most common. The same can be said of southern California, where Mexico shares a border and Mexican food is even more of an obsession.Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.That such small and usually unglamorous places survive is testament to our increasing desire for honest, wholesome food. And proper Mexican food is definitely honest food. I’m sure that much of what gets served in the US, and everywhere else outside of Mexico, is a watered down version of the nopalitos-strewn and epazote-scented dishes served up in Mexico. Most of what is on offer is Tex-Mex, which is fine, but it isn’t Mexican. Authentic Mexican cuisine emphasises fresh herbs, spices, seasonal vegetables, fish, as well as beans and minimally processed corn. Using these, even dishes knocked up outside of the Yucatan can be on a par with the much-vaunted Mediterranean diet.

My last Mexican meal Whenever I visit family I rely on my sister and niece to steer me to the latest must-visit Mexican restaurant. My most recent trip saw us on the “wrong side of town” hunting down an elusive diner housed amongst bail bond shops and heavily-fortified liquor stores. Let’s just say I was glad it was midday and not midnight. We found the restaurant housed in a former cheap motel, the kind of place where the rooms all open onto the parking lot. Disconcertingly for nervous Nellies like myself, there was no all-important window to peek in and suss the place out first. It was literally a flimsy door with an out-facing peephole viewer. You just opened this unmarked hotel room door and hoped you weren’t interrupting anything.

refried beans overheadLuckily the only thing we interrupted was – very briefly – fork to mouth choreography. We were quickly given a short, wipe-clean, no-frills menu and a never-ending basket of freshly-made tortilla chips with smoky, fresh tomatillo salsa – laced with something we couldn’t quite put our finger on.

On a better day, I could have just eaten that and been happy. I wasn’t feeling that great so ordered a small soft, masa harina taco, with freshly cooked garlic and herb shrimp – fat as you like – and nibbled at it. But I did reach over to my niece’s plate and sneak a few tortilla scoops of truly outstanding refried beans – silky, creamy and wholesome. I don’t think she noticed. πŸ˜‰

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.The Best Mexican in Edinburgh In Edinburgh, we used to have just a few Mexican places, only one of which was passable, in my opinion. But now we have the outstanding El Cartel, whose recipes are heavily influenced by the staffs’ experiences in Mexico. No chimichangas in sight. (Check out the menu.) As well as 80 types of tequila, mezcals and agaves, their margarita machines churn out the best damn frozen margs I have had the pleasure of sipping (okay, slurping). I’m pretty sure that’s not authentic, but I don’t really care as they are that good. Sharp, small, moreish.

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.My recipe This is how I like quesadillas, but the recipe is not authentic. I haven’t imported anything, just used what is easy to get and tastes good. Right now bought courgettes/zucchinis are small and sweet, and my herbs are newly lush so it seems right to use them. Once my own courgette plants are smothered in tight yellow buds I will add these too – this is definitely authentic. If your courgettes – whether yellow or green – are flowering, add these as seasoning. They are deliciously peppery. Also, I’ve used soft wheat piadinas – Italian!! – because if making these for just me I will only use one of the flatbreads and corn ones are not as biddable as their softer wheaten cousins. I love, love Crosta & Mollica breads, including their piadinas. But if you are making for more than one, or are especially ravenous, best corn tortillas from a Mexican deli are a must. If you are in Edinburgh or Glasgow I can recommend the superlative Lupe Pintos.GH food awards 2017 vote now

Before giving the recipe, I have a bit of an announcement. My blog has been nominated for a prestigious Good Housekeeping Food Award. I know! How did that happen?

I would be exceedingly grateful if you took the time to vote (for me, I hope!). By doing so you could win a share of Β£1000 of food and drink vouchers. One thing to know is that you need to vote in every category, so if you are not from the UK just select what looks good in each category (favourite coffee brand, fave celebrity chef, cookbook – that kind of thing). And also, as of right now votes only go through on tablets and laptops, not phones. Voting doesn’t take long though.

Here’s the voting link: Good Housekeeping Food Awards 2017

Thank you so much for supporting me. I would bake you all a cake if I could!

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.

Easy Chipotle Refried Bean and Herb Quesadillas

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za’atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extraΒ flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily increased for a healthy family meal.

Healthy ‘Refried’ Beans

1 x 400g (14 oz) pinto beans or rosado beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp or so chipotle paste (more to taste)

Za’atar Yogurt

2 heaped tbsp full-fat organic yogurt of choice (dairy or plant)

2Β heaped tbsp chopped fresh mint, divided use

2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh oregano, divided use

1 tsp za’atar, bought or homemade (my recipe is at the very bottom of this post)

1/2Β tsp best extra virgin olive oil, more to taste

Pinch each of salt and pepper

The Rest

1/2 tsp oil of choice

1/2-1 medium courgette/zucchini or whole small one, sliced

1 mini red or orange pepper, sliced

1-2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

1 small clove garlic, minced

Juice from 1/2 small lemon or lime

1-2 flatbreads of choice – wholemeal wheat tortilla, piadina, corn tortilla (slightly softened in a little water for a few minutes) – whatever you like

Note: The beans make enough for about 2-3 servings so you will have leftovers. These will last about 5 days.

Method

1.Β Put the beans in a medium bowl and mash until the desired texture, then mix in the spices and chipotle paste.

2. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, half of the herbs, the za’atar and 1 tsp oil. Taste and season.

3. Pour the oil in a saute pan and when hot add the courgette, peppers, spring onion and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are cooked but still crisp. Add a splash of the lemon or lime and stir in the remaining herbs.

4. Scrape the vegetables out of the pan and into a small bowl. Spread about one third of the refried beans over half of the flatbread then top with the vegetables. Fold over the plain side and pinch lightly to seal.If you are using two tortillas spread the beans over one bread, top with the vegetables and then the second bread, pinching the edges to lightly seal. Add to the medium-hot pan and cook on both sides until golden and the bread is flaky and golden.

5. Cut and serve with the za’atar yogurt.

Ripe for Pinning!Crispy, delicious and vegan, this chipotle refried bean and herb quesadilla with za'atar yogurt sauce is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Sauteed and lemony seasonal vegetables add extra flavour and nutrition. Serve with green salad and your favorite hot sauce. The recipe is easily doubled for a healthy family meal.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Easy Chipotle Refried Bean and Herb Quesadillas

  1. These quesadillas look amazing I love mexican food and Im yet to check out el cartel but it has been on my list for a while now. Congrats on the nomination I will hop over and vote now xx

  2. This looks amazingly fresh and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Congrats on the nomination, and well deserved I would say! These quesadillas look perfect, just the kind of quick and easy meal for one I love. I’ve been sharing quesadillas with my boy now and then with smashed beans and cheese, but will have to give these a try (hold the chipotle paste for his tender taste buds). Off to vote now!

  4. Megala says:

    Wow! Great recipe & lovely clicks! Thanks for sharing.
    I just love your Za’atar Yogurt.
    We have similar (somewhat) dish in India also, it is very interesting to see such similarity in Indian & Mexican food.

  5. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    A divine sounding (and looking!) recipe, Kellie. So good. Congratulations on the nomination, x

  6. Nice recipe!!! I love Mexican and I think it can be made as healthily as you choose πŸ™‚
    And now I’m off to vote for you xx

  7. These look so yummy-perfect for lunch today! And, no cheese, so they’re MIND Diet friendly too!!! As you might imagine, living in So. Cal, I eat Mexican food at least once a week-in fact, I’m not sure I would trust someone who doesn’t like Mexican food πŸ™‚ I know it’s far away from you, but if you ever get a chance to go to Oaxaca, do it! You will love the food!!

  8. This looks delicious πŸ˜‹

  9. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

    Congrats on the nomination Kellie! Well deserved. And thanks for dispelling the belief that Mexican food is unhealthy. Especially love the za’atar yogurt and chipotle beans here.

  10. riadlinda says:

    voted for you, fingers crossed!!

  11. I’ve only ever eaten Chimichangas once and that was in Florida in Jungle Jim’s restaurant! However, the best Mexican food I ever ate was in California way back in 1980, I’ve no idea where we went but I’d never tasted anything like it and I loved it straight away. I haven’t been to many Mexican restaurants but do like to make my own and chipotle chillies are my favourite kind, love that smoky flavour. I’ll be adding this recipe to my list of things to make, it looks fabulous. Congrats on your nomination for the award, it’s well deserved.

  12. Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    I love quesadillas and these fillings sound fab. You always seem to choose what I want to eat. Congrats of the nomination xx

  13. Congratulations on your nomination. I shall head on over and cast my vote.
    These quesadillas sound lush but I’m afraid I would have to add cheese!

  14. karen278 says:

    What a FAB recipe and well done on the nomination too, I am sure you will be a winner! Love the flavours in this recipe! Karen

  15. Sandra Lea says:

    Just stumbled across your blog via The Muffin Myth and I am so glad I did. I have been making quesadillas like this for a very long time but the za’atar yogurt will be a new addition I am looking forward to trying.

  16. So delicious sounding & great photos as usual. Great news about the shortlist and good luck, you so deserve to win the title – voted x

  17. Great pix. Great recipe! Glad I found your blog.

  18. Charlie says:

    These look delicious, especially the yogurt, thanks for sharing!
    If I don’t have any paste, I like to use chipotle chili powder mixed with yogurt.

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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