Vegan Kitchen Sink Quesadillas

by amanda

Now that I’ve been doing most of my shopping at the farmer’s market on the weekends, and especially now that our CSA has started (tonight!) it is my goal to focus more on eating seasonal produce. That means buying less at the grocery store, where not all of the produce is in season, and really cooking with the local ingredients that are available to me right now. That also means that some of  my meals have a sort of kitchen sink quality to them, where, by Wednesday, I’m facing a refrigerator’s worth of waning produce begging to be divined into something delicious.

Today while at work, I was enjoying one of my very favorite pastimes…thinking about what to make for dinner. Matt, who receives perhaps a minimum of 5 emails per day on this topic, is no stranger to this process. But it was just me tonight, so he was spared, and I decided that quesadillas were in order. I had a huge bunch of radishes that were on their way out, so I knew I wanted to incorporate those, and one of my favorite cooking techniques of the moment is smashing things together (there will be more posts on this) so I decided to take all the dying produce in my refrigerator, smash it with some chickpeas and avocado, make a cashew cream sauce…and then kill it dead. By myself. Which I did.

Recipe: Vegan Kitchen Sink Quesadillas with Radishes, Chickpeas, Onion, Spinach and Avocado

Servings: 3-4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cashew cream:

2 cup cashews, soaked in cold water for an hour (soaking nuts allows the body to digest them better. It also begins the sprouting process, which increases their nutritional density quite a bit.)

2 lemons, juiced

water, as needed

salt to taste

1 tbsp cayenne pepper (or your favorite hot sauce)

1 tbsp mexican seasoning (or more to taste – I tend to double the seasoning in most recipes, so go with what tastes best to you)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as needed. This will keep in the fridge for 5 days, and it also freezes really well. It’s delicious in pasta, or as a dressing. Basically, it works beautifully as a vegan option for any sort of dairy-based creamy substance.

Quesadilla:

1.5 cans chickpeas (you can easily use two, that’s just all I had left in my apartment. We’re getting to know each other here, so bear with me on all the notes. Eden Organics is my go-to for canned anything. They have no BPA in the lining of their cans, and their standards for organic food are higher than the USDA’s so they don’t even use the USDA organic label.)

7 radishes, diced

1 onion, diced

big handful of spinach (I would have used the radish greens here, but they were not so great looking, so I didn’t. Don’t throw the greens away, if you can find a way to incorporate them into your meal!)

1.5 avocados

2-3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (cumin, cayenne, garlic, paprika blend)

2 sprouted tortillas per person (These are a staple in my house. Most tortillas, like many wheat and bread products unfortunately, are filled with refined flours and preservatives. Food for Life’s are made from unprocessed, sprouted grains. Because they’re made from live grains, you’ll find them in the freezer section of your local health foods store. Once brought home, they should be kept in the freezer as well.)

a couple hearty dashes of cayenne

salt, or Herbamare, to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil

Dice the onions and radishes until they’re small, but chunky. Add them to a frying pan with the chickpeas and saute in the coconut oil. Add the spices while you’re sauteing and continue to season to taste. Truthfully, seasoning is the hardest thing for me to measure. I generally don’t stop seasoning my meal until it’s all gone, so I am a big proponent of adding healthy dashes of this and that while you cook. Once the veggies and chickpeas are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, add in the big handful of spinach and continue stirring until it wilts and has lost its volume.

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Pre-sauteeing. Look at all that delicious seasoning.

Pre-sauteeing. Look at all that delicious seasoning.

Take a fork, or a potato masher, and smash everything in the pan together. It should be chunky still, there can be whole chickpeas. Dice up the avocado, mix it in with the chickpea mixture and smash that all together, too.* Get a new pan for cooking the quesadilla, or remove the mixture from the pan and set aside. Place one tortilla on the pan, and then spoon about 3/4 cup of the chickpea mixture onto the tortilla, until it covers the entire tortilla.

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Spread a couple spoonfuls of the cashew cream on top, cover with another tortilla and cook at medium-high heat, flipping every 3 minutes until they’re hot. Slice into quarters and eat up!

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*If you’re one person making this, like I was, don’t put all of the avocado into the mixture at once, because the avocado won’t be as fresh the next day. I removed my chickpea mixture into a tupperware container, and then placed the amount I wanted onto the tortilla, smashing half an avocado into the mix while on the stove. The other half I’m saving for tomorrow, where my leftovers are going to become a delightful wrap for lunch.

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