Anyone who prepares whole, healthy, plant-based meals for children (or reluctant relatives) will tell you it's tricky business. I'm no different. But I've discovered a recipe that's such a smash hit, I had to share it. My toddler's in love. This summer's garden produce, paired with some other staple ingredients we try to have on hand, have quickly turned into one of his favorite lunchtime meals. Pairing the protein of delicious, hearty tempeh, with whole grain tortillas, avocado, black beans, fresh tomato, and Isa Chandra's unbelievable cashew queso, has made him one happy kid. It's lunch I can whip up in a hurry, providing the always incredible queso is in our refrigerator shelf (where else should it be? It should always be there! It's that great!)
And it's a midday meal I can always feel good about. Let's face it: vegan cheeses are usually not what they're chalked up to be. But I promise you, this one is well worth it, and creates a quesadilla that is out-of-this-world-knock-the-socks-off-your-omnivore-friends, good. If you're in a pinch and don't have cashew queso around, you can always substitute a creamy hummus, or the vegan cheese you keep on hand, and it's sure to please as well. Whatever you do, just don't forget that vegans can, and shall have epic quesadillas. Eat this gooey awesomeness with a fresh, crisp salad, some grilled garden veggies, or dip in a tangy tomato soup for an unbelievable veggie combo that will remind you what home cooked goodness is all about.
(Makes 4 quesadillas)
- Whole wheat tortillas
- One package of your favorite tempeh
- One package of your favorite taco seasoning (or about 1/8 of a cup if you're using a bulk seasoning or one you make yourself), mixed with water to dilute or prepared according to package directions.
- One ripe sliced avocado
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 diced ripe tomato
- 1 cup prepared cashew queso
- 1 tablespoon grape seed or other high heat oil
- Break tempeh up with your fingers so that it is nice and crumbled. Add olive oil to sauce pan and begin sautéing your tempeh.
- After approximately one minute, add your taco seasoning mixture. Continue to cook the tempeh over medium heat until it softens considerably and soaks up the seasoning. It will take on a deep brown color. Approximately 10-12 minutes.
- Remove tempeh from heat.
- Warm up a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Place your whole wheat tortilla on the slightly warmed skillet and add 2-3 tablespoons of cashew queso, followed by 2-3 heaping tablespoons of tempeh.
- Next, layer on your black beans, diced avocado, and tomato.
- Top with another tortilla.
- Continue cooking over medium heat, gently and carefully flipping your quesadilla over every few minutes, until each side has achieved a deep golden brown color.
- Remove quesadilla from pan and slice into triangles, as if you're cutting a pizza.
- Serve up next to your favorite salsa, and garnish with whatever fresh ingredients you like, such as cilantro or lime. Enjoy!
*Photo courtesy Flickr creative commons.