I don’t know why I don’t eat quesadillas more often – they are like healthy pizzas! And I love pizza. True, some quesadillas are more cheese and grease than anything else, but they can actually be surprisingly substantial and protein-filled, particularly if you make them yourself. And fast, and crunchy – two of my favourite qualities in food. This combination of sweet caramelised onions, butternut, salty feta and kidney beans is mind-blowing, and doesn’t use all that much cheese. I have also raised my game and added strips of steak (it was in the fridge, calling to me), and it was like I died and went to heaven. But it works just as beautifully without. As a starter, I’d probably leave out the steak, but add it for a main. And don’t forget a chilli sauce or relish – Mexican just isn’t the same without some spice!
Butternut, Kidney Bean & Caramelised Onion Quesadillas
1 x can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
200g cubed butternut
Caramelised onions (either homemade or from a jar)
2 rounds feta cheese
Cheddar cheese, grated
4 flour tortillas
Chilli sauce (for a kick)
If you’re making the meaty version, place the steak between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or baking paper and pound it with a meat mallet or wine bottle until quite thin. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan and cook the steak for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the steak onto a chopping board, season with salt & pepper and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips. Cook the butternut in the bag, by piercing the bag and microwaving on high for about 5 minutes until soft. Open the bag carefully (you don’t want a steam burn) and cut the butternut cubes into thinner slices.
Arrange each tortilla on a flat surface and cover with grated cheddar cheese. It doesn’t need to be piled on – it should be a thin layer over the surface of the tortilla. Divide the feta, crumbling, among the tortillas. Dollop caramelised onion (or caramelised onion marmalade) across the tortillas, being generous if the onions aren’t very sweet, and more sparse with your dolloping if they are. Then add steak, butternut and red kidney beans to half of each tortilla. Heat a large frying pan and carefully place one tortilla in the hot pan. When the cheese starts to melt, lift up the side without topping (using a spatula), and ‘glue’ it down onto the other side, essentially folding it in half. Now you’ll have two sides of melted cheese sticking nicely to the toppings in the centre. Remove the quesadilla to a plate or board, and cut it into 3 wedges using a large, sharp knife. Repeat with the others. Serve with a chilli sauce to give them a proper kick! And maybe rocket and sliced avocado on the side.