Sunday, October 11, 2009

Avocado and Black Bean Quesadilla

Since my daughter went off to college a couple of years ago and started cooking for herself, I'm always delighted to hear about the wonderful and healthy recipes she creates in her little kitchen. A love of cooking is something we have shared all her life. From the time she was age two and could stand on a chair, she's been at my side at the kitchen counter. Now many of our phone conversations are about food talk, exchanging recipes and encouraging each other in living a healthy lifestyle. She's a very talented cook and rarely uses a cookbook. Her main emphasis is using fresh whole foods to whip up unique and delicious vegetarian dishes. During a recent phone call, she told me about a new recipe and, it sounded so wonderful, I had to try it immediately. Wow, is it good! The combination of flavors, along with the crisp, toasted tortilla and smooth, creamy dip is fantastic. Thanks, Maralee, for sharing this one!

When I did some research about avocados, I was pleased to read about the health benefits of this marvelous fruit. Although 75% of the calories in an avocado comes from fat, most of it is monounsaturated and a diet that includes eating a lot of avocados has been clinically proven to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They have 60% more potassium than bananas and are a good source of B vitamins and vitamins E and K. Also, they have the highest fiber content of any other fruit! So, don't be alarmed when you see the total fat grams on the high side because there's a lot of good, solid nutrition in this quick and easy-to-prepare quesadilla.

Avocado and Black Bean Quesadilla
(Makes 1 serving)

One 8" low-carb flour tortilla (I recommend Chi Chi's or Manny's)
¼ ripe avocado, mashed with fork
¾ teaspoon lime juice
¼ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon mild or medium salsa
2 tablespoons chopped tomato
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1½ tablespoons light sour cream
Dash or two of hot sauce, or to taste
Chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

1. Place the ¼ avocado into a small bowl and mash with fork. Add lime juice and stir to combine. Stir in black beans, salsa, chopped tomato, salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese on ½ of the tortilla and top with avocado and bean mixture and spread to within ½" of edge. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and fold tortilla in half.

2. Preheat large skillet or griddle to medium high. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of tortilla with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Place oiled side down and grill until browned. While the first side is grilling, brush the remaining oil on the uncooked side of the tortilla. When first side is browned and toasted, carefully flip tortilla and grill second side until browned and toasted. Remove quesadilla to serving plate and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting into three wedges.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and hot sauce. Serve on the side as a dip. Sprinkle sour cream and quesadilla with chopped parsley or cilantro, if desired.

Nutritional Information per serving: 395 calories, 35.8 g carbohydrate, 21.2 g total fat, 6.7 g saturated fat, 13 g fiber, 18.6 g protein

Original Recipe by Maralee Sheehan, copyright 2009
Posted with permission from author.

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