Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quinoa and Avocado Stuffed Quesadilla

Quesadillas are easy-pie to make. Perhaps it's even silly to make a post on them since it seems unlikely that they will be new news to any of you - but these quesadillas are a little bit different from your run-of-the-mill Taco Bell variety. Does Taco Bell even have quesadillas? I'm not a fan of that place.

Quinoa has made its jump into the American collective conscious just recently within the last few years I would say. Pronounced Keen-Wa, this strange looking grain is a pseduocereal and its its tiny edible seeds are in the same family as tumbleweed, beets and spinach from what I've read.

So why quinoa in my quesadilla? - well let me tell you something about quinoa! For a grain or something you might eat in the place of rice or wheat - quinoa is remarkably high in protein. Plus, unlike wheat and rice - quinoa is a complete source of protein because of its amino acid content. These reasons alone make it an awesome choice for vegetarians and vegans alike but in addition its also a good source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. says "Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights." There you have its so cool that space-people might be eating it in the future.

Now I will warn you...quinoa tastes healthy. Like..its not like eating a bowl of rice. Therefore its best to combine it with yummy stuff like tomatoes, peppers, cheese, what-have-you.

Quinoa Stuffed Quesadilla (for 1)

2 corn tortilla (or flour if you prefer)
Half cup of shredded cheese (I used Gruyere)
Half an Avocado
Half cup of *pre-cooked quinoa

1. Lay out your tortillas, on half of the totilla sprinkle some cheese, then quinoa, then 1/4 avocado, then a bit more cheese. On the untouched half spread your salsa. Fold the tortilla in half to create a semi-circle shape. Repeat with the other tortilla.
2. Heat a pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot throw some butter (or olive oil) in the pan and coat the surface well.
3. Place your quesadilla in the pan and let it brown and crisp, carefully flip and let the other side cook. Repeat with the second quesadilla.

* By pre-cooked I mean you already washed the quinoa in a fine mesh, and then cooked it. To cook - place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a casserole on the stove. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Cover. Let the quinoa cook 12-15 minutes or until it has soaked up all the water. Fluff with a fork and serve. (Makes 3 cups).

Another interesting fact - the Inca cultivated quinoa way back when and considered it a sacred crop - referring to it as the "mother of all grains."

Also! Don't feel constrained to just quinoa and avocado - try spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, minced fried potatoes, goat cheese, jalapenos!

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