Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest Post: Veggie Quesadilla with Baja Sauce

Here's another guest post, this time from the wonderful Ben! There is more information about Ben at the end of this post. Thanks so much for sending this recipe in, Ben. I hope you all enjoy!
Quesadillas are my comfort food. I love that there are so many possibilities and you can cater to a wide variety of cravings. Having the quesadilla in my corner is very comforting since I can often use extra ingredients from previous recipes. Using as much of the vegetables in the refrigerator's crisper before it spoils for as many meals as possible is both exciting and frugal. So once a week, I can usually clean out my crisper and have a delicious meal in the process.

For this week, I had several bell peppers, an onion, a handful of mushrooms, and some cheese, all of it leftover from a pizza I made. I also had some leftover corn and rice from a meal the other day so I reheated that for a side. The ingredients below made two large quesadillas. 

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes 
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

for quesadilla 
½ Red Pepper 
½ Green Pepper 
½ Yellow Pepper 
One (1) Onion
One (1) Jalapeno, deseeded
½ Squash
5-7 Mushrooms 
One (1) tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped 
One (1) cup of Cheddar Cheese 
One (1) can of Vegetarian Refried Beans 
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper -- as much as you want 
½ tsp.Oregano 
½ tsp.Coriander 
One (1) tsp. Cumin 
One (1) tsp. Garlic Powder 
One (1) tsp. Chili Powder 
Two (2) large flour tortillas

for Baja Sauce** 
3 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt
3 oz. Sour Cream 
Hefty pinch Cilantro, finely chopped 
½ Lime juice
½ tsp. Cayenne
½ - 1 tsp. Oregano
½ - 1 tsp. Coriander
½ - 1 tsp. Cumin
Slice all of your veggies.
Try to have uniform thickness throughout; it will make the cooking a lot easier. 
Shred your cheese
and start cooking the refried beans. If you do not wish to have a spicy meal, de-seed the jalapeno. The flesh of the pepper
itself is not very spicy and will add great flavor.
Heat a skillet over med-high heat. On my range, it is 7 out of 10. Add a little olive oil. When up to temp, toss all of your veggies in.
At about one minute in, add a tablespoon of water and all of the spices. Stir everything so that it is evenly coated. The veggies only take about 2-4 minutes total to cook. I like my veggies slightly crispy, but if you prefer more tender ones, just reduce the time.
Once done, remove the veggies from the pan.
Now, I clean my skillet and start prepping the quesadillas. Reheat the skillet to around med-low (4 for me).
Add a hefty spoonful or two of the refried beans to one side of a tortilla then smooth out.
Throw the veggie concoction over that and top with shredded cheese.
Sprinkle a little of the cilantro over everything and fold.
Place in the pan and cook on each side for just a minute or two. It does not take long to crisp up the tortilla. For flipping, you might want to use a large spatula or develop your own style. I don't use anything except a clean plate. I slide the whole thing out onto a plate, place my hand over it, and turn upside down. Then I place the quesadilla back in the skillet. The beans and cheese hold everything together rather well.
with either a side of rice or chips and salsa or guacamole instead of the Baja sauce.
To make the baja sauce:
As I said before, I usually just throw this together.
In a bowl, add a hefty spoonful of both the yogurt and the sour cream.
half of a lime and add all of the spices.
Mix well and add a pinch of cilantro. I taste after I add ½ tsp of everything and usually add more oregano, coriander and cumin.
If you are making
a small amount, just sprinkle the yogurt/sour cream mixture with the spices, stir, and repeat until you have something semi-sweet with a bit of flavor.


**I don't really know the exact measurements. I am definitely guilty of the ‘add a little and taste’ method when preparing this. I’ll describe it to the best of my ability.


My biggest tip for making this is to experiment. There are hundreds of combinations. I have made burritos/quesadillas with all of these ingredients. If you want spend a little extra time (about 20 mins), sautéed potatoes are terrific in this recipe.   
Sautéed Potatoes

Bells peppers

Spicy peppers



Soy chicken

French fries


Soy Chorizo



Black beans

Refried beans



For those of you that saw French fries and were curious, the California burrito is very popular here in San Diego and inspired me to try it vegetarian style. It was awesome.
Ben is a photographer and journalist in San Diego, CA. He can often be found hiking in the desert, reading a book, or messing around in the kitchen. Despite a great deal of frustration, he frequently attempts crossword puzzles.  Occasionally, he will update his website