Quesadillas were one of those quick, easy meals I used to make as a high schooler, when I was also a newly minted vegetarian. These days I less prefer white-flour tortillas layered with mounds of cheese and instead go for a version more rich in protein and nutrients by adding beans and a mix of vegetables.
While whipping up this early-spring green quesadilla, I started with lentils as a jumping-off point. For flavor, I sautéed leeks (they're tender and young this time of year) with red onion until slightly caramelized. Cheese is optional, but definitely don't skip with a quick mash of avocado, garlic, and herbs or if you prefer salsa verde that would be a great addition too.
1 ripe avocado
Big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 cup goat or havarti cheese, optional
4 whole-wheat tortillas
In a small bowl, roughly mash avocado with the back of a fork. Add cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and cayenne and stir to combine.
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the leeks and red onion with a pinch salt. Cook until soft and just beginning to caramelize, then stir in the lentils until heated through.
To assemble, lay one tortilla in a hot pan. Top with half the leek mixture and cheese, if using. Spread half the avocado mixture onto second tortilla and place on top. Cook about 2 minutes or until the bottom is lightly golden, then carefully flip and cook another 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Slice and serve warm.
Jacquelyn Scoggin became a vegetarian at age 16 and has since been in the kitchen whipping up meals for her family and friends. She writes and photographs her love for vegetarian food on her blog, Good Things Grow. In 2009, she and her husband started Slide Sideways, a graphic design and handmade business. They maintain their love for the environment by using organic fabric, recycled paper, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.