Hello from Vancouver! I’ve been west-coasting for the past 10 days and it’s been super lovely just getting a glimpse of the ocean once a day, climbing mountains, and teasing slugs who are stuck in the middle of the road. The trees in Vancouver are very good. The air smells delicious all the time. Everyone can pull off the “formal fleece” look. And, oh, the sushi. I’ve missed it all so much.
I made these white bean red pepper quesadillas before I left for vacation, as they were kind of a cleaning-out-the-fridge project that turned out well. Quesadillas are one of my go-to comfort meals cuz they are basically grilled cheeses with salsa and easy as pie to whip up on a weeknight. They are also great party food! Plus, they remind me of going out for dinner at Earl’s with my family when I was a kid, when I invariably ordered the chicken quesadilla. To this day, I’m not sure I’ve eaten any other food item from Earl’s, but I have no regrets. Quesadillas for life.
The white bean red pepper filling for the quesadillas is pretty basic. White beans and red peppers taste great together, but you could swap them for any bean/pepper combination you have on hand (except for green peppers because I’m pretty sure it has been universally agreed upon that cooked green peppers are gross).
It’s really the apple salsa part of this recipe that excites me. That’s because:
- Homemade salsa is always the bomb
- It’s wonderful to have a reason to use the fancy food processor that you impulse bought 6 months ago
- Who knew apples and cilantro would taste so good together!
- It opens a whole new world of possibilities re: making salsa with ingredients other than tomatoes.
- Tasty homemade salsa takes this meal from 2 to 8 on the fancy dinner scale.
Now that I’ve figured out how to make salsa with apples, I’m hoping I’ll never have a batch of apples go rotten in my unreasonably warm kitchen ever again. Try it out! Let me know if you, too, are down for unusual salsa.
I like to top these red pepper quesadillas with apple salsa, yogurt, more fresh cilantro, and cholula, but some queso or salsa verde or fresh tomatoes would also be nice.
You can eat now!
- 3 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 soft tortillas (flour or corn)
- 2 apples (any kind)
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 4 pickled jalapeno slices
- juice of 1 or 2 limes
- salt + pepper to taste
- Yogurt or sour cream
- Hot sauce
- Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and olive oil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Combine white beans, peppers, and salt and pepper in the pan and saute on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until beans begin to get mushy.
- While beans are cooking, prepare the salsa. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you achieve your desired consistency (this took about 8 pulses for me). Set aside.
- Remove bean mixture from the pan and set aside. Scrape off any remaining residue so that the pan can be reused to form the quesadillas.
- To prepare the quesadillas, begin by warming some olive oil over medium heat again. Lay a tortilla flat on the pan and cover one half of it with a quarter cup of cheese and about 3 heaping tablespoons of the bean mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the side with cheese and beans on it and press it down with a spatula. Flip when the bottom of the tortilla is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Fry the other side of the tortilla until it is also golden brown and then remove from the pan. Repeat these steps for the remaining 3 tortillas.*
- Once your quesadillas have cooled a bit, use a pizza cutter to slice them into three triangles.
- Top with apple salsa, yogurt or sour cream, and hot sauce, and enjoy immediately! If serving as an appetizer, you should be able to feed 8 people comfortably, but 4 as an entree (2 if you are extra hungry!).
- If, like mine, your spatula is not wide enough to bear the full weight of your quesadillas, try flipping them with the extra support of a wooden spoon.