Saturday, March 8, 2014

summer dreamin': a grain-free quesadilla with avocado dipping sauce recipe

I'm sure I get like this just about every year at this time.

The best way to describe it is stir-crazy.

The weather keeps taunting us. For two or three days, it will be bright and sunny and warm enough to melt most of the snow. We get to the point where we can almost see the ground through the sheets of snow and ice. People will start putting their winter clothes and boots away.

I like to pretend that I'm boycotting winter, but I also realize that it's pointless. As soon as they all happily finish packing away the winter gear, Japan's clouds will roll in and dump three more feet on us. This is merely a short-lived respite from the six-month winters of Northern Japan.

That was this weekend. Granted, this time it was only inches and not feet. It was enough, though, to send everyone scrambling to their closets for their newly-packed-away winter gear and to keep the less intrepid from venturing outdoors.

For me...well, it just made me antsy. It's difficult for this beach-loving, snow-hating girl to endure the seemingly never-ending winters. This was the kind of storm that got me reminiscing about driving with the windows down, looking at pictures of warmer times, and longing for summer recipes.

So today for lunch, I am boycotting winter and making a summery meal: black bean quesadillas with a cool avocado dipping sauce.

These recipes will make three quesadillas with the perfect amount of dipping sauce to go with them.

Quesadilla Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon onion, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup zucchini, chopped (I use my hand chopper for a perfect consistency)
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained (We use Eden Organics - they come in a BPA free can and don't have all the chemicals most canned beans come with. If you use another  brand, you probably won't need to add the salt that I used.)
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (see note on the black beans)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 6 tortillas (we sometimes use Chebe bread mix and modify it for chalupa-like tortillas, or use this paleo recipe)
  • 1 mini can diced black olives, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • Avocado dipping sauce on the side (see below for instructions)


Heat olive oil in a saucepan or a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to keep from scorching. After 2-3 minutes, add the other spices, lemon juice, zucchini, and beans. Saute until soft, stirring constantly (between 5-7 minutes). Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Make your tortillas (or get out your prepackaged tortillas). Add one tortilla to the pan. Spread 1/3 of the filling and add a small handful of cheese. Place the other tortilla on top and flip as necessary until cooked to your desire.


Don't forget the dipping sauce! This is a light, flavorful guacamole that's perfect with these quesadillas.

  • 1 avocado, ripened
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 cup unflavored Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 small tomato, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon strained tomato)


Cut open the avocado and scoop the insides into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash/whip to your desired consistency with a fork. Place in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving (or serve room temperature if you don't like your sauces cold.)