Monday, June 28, 2010

A Very Vegan Dinner…

Alrightie, so last Thursday we had the much anticipated vegan dinner. Yep, vegan... that means no meat, & no dairy! So, on the menu we had Black Bean Quesadillas with Corn Salsa, Spanish Style Quinoa (for more on quinoa see previous post) & a Simple Green Salad. Um, how do you
make quesadillas without the cheese/dairy product?? Well, I found these cheddar flavored “Veggie Shreds” (basically soy cheese) in the produce department over by the tofu and decided to give it a whirl. And what do you know, it wasn’t too bad. (Don’t worry cheese, you will always be my number one!) All in all this dinner turned out great! We were all exposed to new things. The quinoa very well may be my new BFF, the quesadillas were awesome & the corn salsa was too simple to be that good! And the best thing about this dinner is it doesn’t have to be vegan. We had a vegan dinner guest, but you can change it up to suit your tastes. You can for the real thing and toss on the Mexican blend real deal cheese! You could even add some grilled or shredded rotisserie chicken to the quesadillas. Also, if you aren’t ready for quinoa, stick to your favorite Spanish rice. Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore, how ever you like it, you can’t go wrong with this one! Enjoy!

Black Bean Quesadillas w/ Corn Salsa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (I used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas (I used whole wheat, low carb tortillas)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) preshredded Mexican blend cheese (I used the Veggie Shreds)

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used the roasted red bell pepper in the jar)
To prepare the quesadillas, preheat the broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup cilantro, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Place tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup bean mixture and 3 tablespoons cheese; fold in half. (My tortillas were small, so I kept them round & just topped with another tortilla.) Lightly coat tops with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and tortillas begin to brown. Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges.

To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with quesadillas.
Calories: 420, Fat: 14.4g

As for the Spanish Style Quinoa, I turned to my favorite Sassy Little Chef and asked her for tips on how she makes her Spanish Rice.  Since this is how I used to make Spanish Rice.  But honestly, now that I know how easy it is to make it your self, I'll probably ditch the bag of ingredients I can't pronounce & stick with the real stuff.  Since it was also the night for the big Quinoa Experiment, I just substituted quinoa for the rice. It totally turned out & it was Fantastic!  So far, after experiment #1, it seems true that anything rice can do Quinoa can do better for you!  But if you want her recipe, you’ll have to ask her for yourself. ;)

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