Quesadillas were always a favourite quick lunch of mine when I worked in a Louisiana- themed restaurant and I really thought they were off the menu when I cut out dairy, what with all the gooey cheese that characterised their texture. That was until I discovered Violife cheddar style cheese, which is a fantastic stand-in for dairy cheese and melts really well in this recipe (but can go a little brittle if melting on top of something - you need their mozzarella-style cheese for that!).
Feel free to substitute any vegetables but you need either onions or leeks and mushrooms for that authentic flavour. This is a delicious recipe served cold in your lunchbox the next day! Olé!
Serves 2 or 1 for lunch + leftovers for day 2
1 onion or 1 leek, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 mushrooms, sliced
Any leftover or frozen veg - around 1 cup - sweetcorn, courgette, sliced carrot, peppers, peas...
1/4 cup black beans
2 tsp smoked paprika + 1 tsp cumin OR 2 tsp Old El Paso fajita seasoning
2 tsp mixed herbs
1/3 can chopped tomatoes or 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
A dash of water
2 tortilla wraps (as large as your biggest frying pan)
1/4 block of Violife cheddar-style 'cheese', grated
In a medium saucepan, brown the onion in a little sunflower oil or water and add all your vegetables, beans, spices and herbs, slowly mixing in the pan.
Add the tomatoes and dash of water and let it simmer for 5 minutes so the mixture thickens.
Grab a large frying pan and put the heat on low, adding one of the wraps to very slightly brown it, which toughens it up and makes the quesadilla a little sturdier. (Be careful not to make it too crispy because you still have to heat the wraps once the filling in inside!)
Do the same with the other tortilla and then add 1/2 the cheese to it, covering with the saucy veg mixture then the other half of the cheese.
Top with the other wrap and press down the edges so that the two wraps meet. I then place a slightly smaller lid on top and press it down so that it bonds together.
After 3 minutes, pull the quesadilla away from the pan using a spatula and, with a dinner plate in the other hand, shuffle it out of the pan onto the plate. Turn the quesadilla over onto the frying pan using the plate (this may get messy!) and cook the other side for another few mins.
Slide onto a chopping board, slice into 6 with a pizza wheel, top with fresh coriander and serve with either salad, rice or just on its own. It is even better with a drizzle of sriracha sauce!