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Healthy Comfort Food - Vegan Quesadillas!

Fast, healthy, and filled with warming comfort, vegan quesadillas are here to get you through the heart of winter!

Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s tempting to indulge in warm cozy comfort food, which isn’t always the healthiest option. Here’s a twist on the traditional quesadilla, using savory roasted eggplant as a surprising delicious filling. Enjoy these immune boosting ingredients to satisfy your craving in a healthier way!

vegan queso_pic

Vegan Quesadillas

What to use:

  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 small tortillas of your choice (gluten free, sprouted grain, whole wheat…)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

How to do it:

vegan queso 1_picPreheat oven to broil. (I’m always grateful when recipes put this at the beginning of the recipe, not right when it’s time to put the food in the oven.)

Peel the eggplant, and dice it into 1/2 inch pieces. You don’t need to be exact here, just remember that these pieces are going to be the filling in your quesadilla, so slightly smaller is usually better.

Place the diced eggplant in a large bowl and drizzle with avocado oil. Make two generous swirls around the bowl, the exact amount of oil isn’t important here. Add cayenne pepper and toss. Feel free to add a sprinkling of other spices that you enjoy, like garlic, cumin, onion… pretty much anything works in this recipe!

Spread the eggplant out on a baking sheet. Make sure it’s all in a single layer so that it cooks evenly.

Broil for 8 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and fragrant. Some ovens are hotter than others, so check the eggplant at 5 minutes.

Heat 1 tabelspoon avocado oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add one tortilla to the pan and sprinkle on 1/4 cup of the vegan cheese. Put a handful of the chard, and about 1/4 cup of the eggplant mixture on one side of the tortilla. Squeeze lime over the tortilla, then fold in half. I like to use toothpicks to hold the quesadilla together while cooking, but that’s totally optional!

Cook the quesadilla for 1–2 minutes per side until browned on each side. Repeat with the second quesadilla.

Serve while hot, with an extra lime wedge on the side, and a salad of your choice.

Interesting info about these ingredients:

Avocado oil: I use avocado or coconut oil for most of my cooking because they are heat stable. Coconut oil can make the dish taste slightly coconut-y, while avocado oil is more neutral. Most people are used to using olive oil in a recipe like this, but that’s a big no-no! Olive oil is not meant to be heated (except over very low heat), and if you cook with it, it actually turns into a trans-fat (bad for you!). So reserve your olive oil for drizzling on food after it’s cooked, or for making home-made salad dressings.

140-EggplantEggplant: Any dish that you want to make vegetarian or vegan, eggplant is a great swap for the meat. When you roast it like in this recipe, it makes it have a neutral yet savory taste and satisfying texture. Pretty much any spice goes well with eggplant.

Another great thing about eggplant is that it is really high in antioxidants. These can help our body resist the attacks of a cold or flu, which is especially important during the cold weather months.

Swiss chard, Kale, and Collard greens are all high in Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient to keep your immune system working at its best. Any chance that I have to add in a handful of greens to a recipe, I do it!

Try these great winter warming drinks with this fun meal!

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