Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Quesaillas with Cuban Black Beans


Remember when my friends Jo and Isa visited last summer and we made quesadillas? What a fun day it was!

Those quesadillas were pretty traditional, based on my memory of my experience living in Veracruz, Mexico for two months in 1990. But the recipe we followed is not Bill-friendly (although the guacamole is).

As an alternative, I thought I’d follow up with one that Bill can eat. Even though his wheat allergy is not as severe as his cow-dairy allergy, I wanted to try quesadillas with brown rice tortillas to see how they would turn out.

We found these brown rice tortillas at our local health food store, Nature’s Market.

Another option could be spelt tortillas, although the recipe below uses brown rice tortillas.

Either way, here’s the recipe for the quesadillas:

Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Quesadillas

2 brown rice tortillas, thawed
½ T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
Optional: pinch of salt
Splash of safflower oil for greasing griddle
3 oz. Bulgarian sheep’s cheese, cut in long 1/8-inch slices

In skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in olive oil until nearly tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add peppers to onions and continue sautéing until peppers are crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Add salt, if desired.

Meanwhile, with a paper towel, rub safflower oil on a griddle or other flat, heavy pan. Heat on medium-high heat. When pan is hot, place a tortilla on griddle until warm and pliable, about 30 seconds per side.

Remove to plate and immediately put cheese on one side.

Add half the onion-pepper mixture and fold other half of tortilla over so you have a crescent shape. Repeat process for second tortilla.

Reduce griddle heat to medium. Put both quesadillas back on griddle, flipping them occasionally so they don’t burn. Press down on each one with a spatula so the cheese melts more easily.

When the cheese oozes from the inside and the tortillas are lightly browned, the quesadillas are done. Cut in half and serve with Cuban Black Beans.

The result? These quesadillas are equally as delicious as the ones I made with Jo and Isa, although rice tortillas are a bit more chewy. As for the cheese, it’s all about personal preference (and accommodating allergies, of course). Bill and I love the Bulgarian sheep’s cheese. 

But if you don’t have a cow dairy allergy, you could certainly use the Queso Campesino that Jo and Isa and I tried last summer.

If you don’t have time to make the traditional Cuban Black Beans I linked to above, which means soaking black beans overnight, you can do the shortcut version, using canned beans. Just make sure you buy a brand such as Eden Organic Black Beans, which puts the beans in a BPA-free can. (You can read more about BPA, a synthetic estrogen, on my blog.)

Cuban Black Beans
1 15-oz. can Eden organic black beans, unsalted
1-2 T. yellow onion, chopped fine
½ T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Optional: 1 T. canned green chilies, chopped
Fresh lime juice to taste
Olive oil and apple cider vinegar for drizzling

In small saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for one minute.

Add spices and salt. Stir.

(If using green chilies, add them at this point.)

Add beans, stir to blend, and simmer about 10 minutes.

With the back of a spoon, smash about half the beans to thicken the mixture.

Squeeze fresh lime juice into the beans, as desired.

When ready, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and serve with quesadillas.

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