Black Bean and Vegetable Quesadillas

Cooking Matters
Serves 6, 1 folded quesadilla per serving
Whole wheat tortillas give the classic quesadilla a healthy twist.

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1. In a colander, drain and rinse black beans.

2. Rinse zucchini. Cut into thin slices or shred with a grater.

3. Rinse and chop fresh spinach. If using fresh parsley or cilantro, rinse and chop now.

4. If using fresh corn, peel. Use a knife to cut corn kernels off of the cob. If using canned corn, drain.

5. Grate cheese.

6. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add zucchini and cayenne pepper. Cook until zucchini is semi-soft, about 5 minutes.

7. Add corn and spinach. Cover and cook until tender, stirring a few times, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

8. Add black beans to the veggie mixture. Stir to combine. Smash beans lightly with a fork. Add 12 teaspoons water to make a bean-and-veggie paste.

9. Season mixture with black pepper. If using parsley or cilantro, add now. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Reserve skillet.

10. Spread vegetable mixture evenly on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas over. Press lightly with spatula to flatten.

11. Spray skillet lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over mediumhigh heat. Add one folded tortilla. Cook about 4 minutes per side, or until both sides of tortilla are golden brown. Repeat until all quesadillas are cooked.

12. Cut each quesadilla into 2 wedges. Serve while hot.


Add your favorite veggies to the filling. In place of zucchini and spinach, use up leftover cooked veggies like collards, squash, or bell peppers. To cut costs, use frozen spinach. Defrost, drain, and squeeze completely dry before adding. Top with low-fat yogurt or salsa. Use the remaining beans in a soup or to top a salad.


1/2 (15-ounce) can black beans, no salt added 2 medium zucchini

1 bunch fresh spinach (about 4 cups)

1 ear fresh corn or 1 cup canned corn

4 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon canola oil Pinch ground cayenne pepper

1-2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 (8-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas

Non-stick cooking spray

Optional Ingredients: 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro


Box grater Can opener Colander Cutting board Fork Large skillet with lid Measuring spoons Medium bowl Rubber spatula Sharp knife

More About Zucchini

How to Select

Larger zucchini tend to be watery and flavorless, with pulpy insides and large seeds. Smaller is better, so try to find one no larger than a regular-sized flashlight if you're buying standard green zucchini. Zucchini can be green, yellow, or white, but always look for a vibrant, rich color. Look for zucchini that still have a good chunk of the stem attached, as those ones will last longer.

How to Store

Store in a paper bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to one week. Don't store zucchini in plastic bags, as they trap in too much moisture and the zucchini will get slimy.

How to Prepare

Braised zucchini is terrific--cut the squash into pieces and put them in a skillet with a little olive oil, some minced garlic and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the zucchini is tender (about 5 minutes). Remove the lid and turn the heat up to high to evaporate the moisture and stir gently to coat the zucchini with the reduced juices