Wednesday, April 4, 2018

vegan quesadillas

What do you call a quesadilla without cheese? If the literal translation is "little cheesy thing" then how do we call its vegan version? Verdurdilla? I don't think that's a word, but neither is "zoodles" or "chick'n", so making words up is totally legit in the world of vegan food. For now, before I coin verdurdilla, I'll just stick with vegan quesadillas. It's easily translatable to an edible equivalent and won't sound like gibberish in more than one language.

Life without cheese seems impossible to a lot of people. It is the number one reaction I get when I talk to people about eating vegan, "I could never give up cheese!" And I was the exact same way! Trust me, it isn't easy at first. No one is asking you to give up the things you love most, but when you start to eat more plant based, your mindset shifts. Sure, I saw changes in my body, my skin was clearer and my digestion more consistent, but I also started to pay a lot more attention to what my food is made of, where it comes from, and how it makes me feel. So do I still miss my cheese? Not a chance.

The same thing happened to my husband. He was convinced that a sandwich wasn't a sandwich unless it had cheese. Then, slowly but surely, he started cutting out the cheese and is now completely cheese free! His sandwiches are full of any fresh veggies, roasted veggies, roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, veggie burgers, tofu, tempeh, hummus, pesto, and sometimes some smoked salmon or hard boiled eggs, but no cheese. There's no room for cheese anymore.

My brother and sister-in-law have a similar story. Cheesaholics turned vegan who have now been 100% plant based for almost two years! I know, you want me to get to the recipe, I'm getting there! I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and that if others have overcome their cheese addiction, so can you.

Ok, moving on.

sweet potato quesadillas
  • roasted sweet potato
  • olive oil
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • spinach
  • 2 tortillas (at least)

Start by roasting a sweet potato in the oven, about 30-40 min at 400 degrees F. Check if it's done by piercing with a fork. Slice onion and mushrooms and saute in olive oil. 

Season veggies with salt and pepper and set aside. I scraped them onto a plate so I could use the same pan to grill my quesadilla. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with salt and lay down the bottom tortilla. Spread it with mashed sweet potato, some greens (spinach, kale, chard, arugula, etc.), and mushroom and onion mixture. 

Top with another tortilla and turn on the heat! There is obviously no cheese here to melt so pay attention to how crisp the tortilla gets, this is your call when to flip and crisp up the other side. 

Remove from heat and slice up to serve. I didn't even need toppings for this bad boy but fresh salsa or guacamole would compliment it nicely. Enjoy! 

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