I have always been a fan of black beans. My ‘throw it all together and see what happens’ Black Bean Chilli was what got me through a significant portion of my university experience. After a while though, I got bored of sticking them in a chilli and being done with it, and in the summer the last thing you want to eat is a massive, hot bowl of chilli. So to cure my black bean cravings, Black Bean Quesadillas became a thing.
To better balance the macros of this meal, I used vegan mince (sometimes known as textured vegetable protein) to increase the protein content- I also used my own adapted version of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken‘s Vegan Mozzarella, so all credit where it’s due for that brilliant recipe. Mine’s a little more cheesy (extra nooch), and a bit higher in protein due to subbing water for soya milk, just because those are my personal cheese preferences, and it works well for quesadillas.
200ml Unsweetened Wholebean Soya Milk
2tbsp+2tsp Tapioca Starch
20g Nutritional Yeast
1/4tsp Garlic Powder
1/2tsp Lemon Juice
4 Corn Tortillas
60g Tomato Puree
50g Spring Onions
100g Mixed Bell Peppers
50g Black Beans
50g Vegan Mince/TVP (For this recipe, I used Asda’s Meat-Free Mince)
2tsp Mild/Hot Chilli Powder (I use mild, but I’m not renowned for my tolerance of spicy food, so use whichever best suits your palate.)
2 Cloves Garlic
6 Sprays Cooking Oil (for greasing the frying pan- I use ‘2 calories per spray’ bottles.)
1. Starting with the vegan cheese is the best approach- Once the cheese is done, it can sit aside until it is needed later in the process. First, boil your cashews in a pot for 15 minutes. While doing this, pour your soy milk into a blender, and add the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, lemon juice and tapioca starch.
2. Drain the cashews and add to the blender, blending until the entire mixture is smooth. Pour into a pot on the stove, and bring to a medium heat, stirring regularly. The cheese will clump at first, allow this to happen and it will eventually settle down, allowing the cheese to become stringy like mozzarella. After this, set the cheese aside.
3. Chop the peppers, spring onions and garlic, and fry over a medium heat in a frying pan, with 1-2 sprays of oil. While doing this, cook your vegan mince, using half of the paprika. The most efficient way is to microwave the mince with 1-2tbsp of water for 2-4 minutes, depending on the texture you desire for the mince. When this is done, set the mince aside in a mixing bowl.
4. After frying the peppers, garlic and spring onions, add to the mixing bowl with the mince. Dice your avocado and add to this bowl. Rinse your black beans, add these to the mixing bowl too, along with the tomato puree, remaining paprika, and chilli powder. Mix all of these together roughly- you don’t want to have a smooth paste, you simply want to combine the ingredients to make a chunky filling for your quesadillas.
5. Bring the frying pan back up to a medium heat, and spray with oil. Bring your cheese back up to a medium heat too, as it will be easier to spread across your quesadilla when it is warm and stretchy. Place your first tortilla in the pan, and load with half of your filling. Top this with half of your vegan cheese, and place the second tortilla on top.
6. Once your bottom tortilla has gone a golden-brown colour and started to go crispy, flip the quesadilla, allow the second tortilla to reach the same colour and texture, and serve your quesadilla. Use your remaining tortillas, filling and cheese to repeat the process once more.
This recipe makes 2 servings (2 quesadillas), at the very least. If you do single-handedly tackle one of these quesadillas, brace yourself for a major food baby and a great sense of accomplishment. If, like me, you cook largely for just yourself, sticking your second quesadilla in a sandwich bag and into the fridge makes for a super easy work lunch option the next day, and it sure beats supermarket sandwiches.