Monday, October 7, 2013

Zucchini, Olive, and Cheese Quesadillas

I'm having a bit of a feast tonight. Shredded zucchini and two kinds of vegan cheese go into these stuffed quesadillas, and I've added a few side dishes and a dessert to the menu as well.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato, divided
  • 1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives, divided
  • 1/4 cup crumbled vegan feta, divided (such as Veg Cuisine)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add the zucchini; saute for 2 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from heat and stir in the oregano, salt, and black pepper.

3. Wipe the pan clean with paper towels, and recoat with cooking spray.  Add 1 tortilla to the pan.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella, then top with half of the zucchini mixture, 1/4 cup tomato, 2 tablespoons olives, 2 tablespoons feta, and an additional tortilla.

4. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Carefully turn over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until lightly browned.  Transfer to a cutting board or platter and cut in half (a serrated knife works best).

5. Repeat the procedure with the remaining tortillas, mozzarella, zucchini mixture, tomato, olives, and feta.  The quesadillas will be best served warm.

I recommend two easy side dishes: First, heat up your favorite canned refried beans (Amy's, Eden Foods, and Whole Foods 365 all make vegan versions).

Next make a quick grapefruit and avocado salad: In a bowl, combine 4 cups torn romaine lettuce, 2 cups grapefruit sections, and 1 cup peeled and sliced avocado. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons agave nectar, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 2 teaspoons olive oil.  Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat.

For dessert, bring out bowls of lemon sorbet (such as Ciao Bella) topped with fresh orange sections.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 quesadilla half), Calories 235

Tasting Notes:
Holy moly, these quesadillas are so good they almost defy description. I'll do my best - a perfect blend of the gooey mozzarella and salty feta, just the right amount of olives, fresh zucchini, and perfectly crisp, just-oily-enough tortillas to hold it all together. Add to that hearty refried beans and the suggested salad - with its blend of creamy avocado, sweet dressing, and tart grapefruit - and this was easily the best meal I've eaten in quite a long time.


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