Black Bean Soup & Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

Ugh, I feel like ten dollars this morning.  This is not a good way to start the week.

I ate too much this weekend.  And if you want the truth, I went overboard on the  cocktails, too – we went to a really fun (LATE) dinner party on Friday, then out to the lake on Saturday, and had company on Sunday.  The weather was gorgeous, and I just felt like livin’ it up and indulged just a teensy bit too much.

It’s time to get back on track, and I’m going to be really, really good today.  I just ate an apple (a Jazz apple, I’m totally hooked – you must try them!);  I’m munching a bunch of grapes and pounding ice water by the quart to re-hydrate and flush all the junk out of my system.  I might even go a little crazy and EXERCISE later.  I know, right?  Look out.

I like to go ‘veggie’ for a few days when I’ve abused my body like this, and a perfect way to get back on track is with this delicious black bean soup.  If you didn’t know this already, black beans are virtually fat free, they’re a great source of fiber and antioxidants, and … they’re on SALE through today, yippee!  This soup feels filling, and if you go easy on the shredded cheese and sour cream, it’s very healthy too.   My kids totally dig it and have absolutely no earthly idea that it’s good for them — cheap, healthy, and a total nutritional fake out,  I love it!

Alongside I like to serve these crispy roasted vegetable quesadillas; again, these can be made quite healthy if you go light on the cheese and don’t oil your griddle with too heavy a hand.  I’m making mine with the sale LaBanderita tortillas (which I have leftover from the burritos last week), the sale red onions, and the Colby Jack that’s on sale in the cheese department (you’ll have to shred this yourself).  Choose from one of the three brands of salsas that are on sale (Frontera, Manny’s, or Newmans!) to dunk the quesadillas.

I’m off to the gym.  Hope I remember how to get there.

If you have the luxury of time, make the soup earlier in the day.  It gets better the longer it sits!

BLACK BEAN SOUP

Serves:  6-8 for dinner

Source:  Adapted from epicurious.com

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 very large yellow onion (on sale!), diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ t. dried thyme
  • 5 – 15 oz. cans black beans, drained (LaPreferida brand, on sale)
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 – 28 oz. can and 1 – 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes with their juice
  • 3 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground chipotle powder (or regular chili powder)
  • Generous pinch of chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut in to wedges
  • 2 – 3 scallions, chopped
  • Shredded cheese and sour cream for serving, if desired

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and thyme; sauté until onion is tender, about 8 minutes.  Add beans, broth, tomatoes with juices, cumin, and chili powder.  Bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until flavors blend and soup thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree half of the soup in blender until smooth (see note).  Mix puree back in to soup in pot. Stir in cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lime juice to taste, and season with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup in to bowls and top with sliced scallions, shredded cheese and sour cream if desired.

NOTE * BLENDING  HOT LIQUIDS 101: If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard it before.  Unless you enjoy cleaning soup off of yourself, your cabinets, and your ceiling, please, please, please do not 1). Fill your blender to the top with hot soup, and then 2). Put the lid on tightly, and then 3).  Turn it on full blast.  (I’m telling you these things because 1). I like you, and 2). I don’t want your scalded self and your messed up kitchen on my conscience!)

To call this a ‘recipe’ is kind of silly – it’s really more of a guideline, because if you can make a grilled cheese sandwich, you can make a quesadilla.  Swap in most any vegetable that you like; sometimes I throw baby bella mushrooms or zucchini in the mix too!  Have fun!

ROASTED VEGETABLE QUESADILLAS

Serves:  4-6 for dinner

Source:  Adapted from epicurious.com

  • ½ – 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut in to 1” pieces
  • 1 large red onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 – 2 T. olive oil
  • 6 large flour tortillas (I’m using the LaBanderita 10” sale tortillas from the 4/9/9 ad)
  • ½ – ¾ lb shredded cheese (I’m using the sale Colby-Jack, but feel free to swap in shredded Pepper Jack, which is also terrific in these)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • Salsa or Pico de Gallo for serving
  • Sour cream for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 500.

Line a large cookie sheet with foil for easier cleanup.  Place the vegetables on the pan and toss with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until tender and lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally, about 10-12 minutes.  Cool vegetables.

Preheat the broiler.

Place three tortillas on a work surface.  Sprinkle each lightly with some of the cheese, then divide vegetables evenly among the tortillas.  Top with more shredded cheese and chopped cilantro.  Cover with the remaining three tortillas.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the quesadillas on the baking sheet, spray the top tortilla with cooking spray.  Broil the quesadillas until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Carefully turn the quesadillas and broil the second side until golden brown, an additional 2 minutes.

Alternately, make the quesadillas on your cooktop, like a grilled cheese.  This is what I always do, because I don’t trust my broiler!

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | September 8th, 2009