Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas

These bad boys have been a staple in our house since my son started eating solid food. I would roast butternut squash (and other veggie) chunks and then freeze them for him to eat as finger foods. In a rush one night, I thawed some extra, sauteed some kale, and threw in some black beans. Slapped it between two tortillas with some cheese and called in dinner. It. Was. Delicious. And this recipe was born.

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I wanted to share this recipe with you for weeks now, but it took me this long to get a photo that truly displayed the deliciousness of these quesadillas. I decided the messier the better so you could really see all the goodness hiding between those wheat tortillas. That goodness hiding in the middle is a mixture of butternut squash and kale. After you saute the butternut squash, the flavor is out of this world – then add some kale, cook it down and you’ve got the base for your quesadilla. (Feel free to stop at this step and devour your veggies, if you want!)

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Staying true to adding some serious nutrition into every day foods, why not pack seasonal veggies into one of my favorite foods?! I got a quesadilla maker for Christmas in middle school and proceeded to throw any cheese between tortillas daily for the next 6 months. <<I’m still not certain why I found it necessary to use a specific gadget to make a quesadilla, perhaps it was how it sealed each section. That was pretty cool.>> However, I highly recommend turning that nutrition dial up a notch and getting a heavy dose of veggies and protein in their too.

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It’s officially squash season. I know this because Aldi has well stocked shelves of all the squash for super cheap. So, grab yourself a butternut squash, a bag of chopped kale, plus your favorite tortillas, a can of black beans, some cheese and you are SET. I know you all love Aldi as much as I do – and if you don’t love cutting your own butternut squash, Aldi has pre-cut cubes now too. But if you dare, there are easy cutting instructions in the recipe directions below. You can do it!

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Just that easy. Just that quick, guys! Enjoy!


Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas

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Yield: 2 large quesadillas

INGREDIENTS

3 Tbsp avocado oil (or oil of choice)

3 cups butternut squash, raw, diced (a medium sized squash)

2 cups chopped kale

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 can black beans, drained

4 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded

4 large whole wheat tortillas (or tortilla of choice)

DIRECTIONS

  1. To dice the butternut squash, pierce with a fork. Cut off the ends. Microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on the size.) Peel with a vegetable peeler. Slice in half. Scoop out the seeds. Dice.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced butternut squash. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder. Stir. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and browning.
  3. Add kale. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
  4. In another skillet (or remove butternut squash mixture, wash, and reuse), heat the skillet with a small amount of oil or butter. Lay down one tortilla. Top with 1 oz shredded cheese, 3/4 cup butternut squash mixture, 1/3 cup black beans, and another oz of cheese in that order.
  5. Cook until golden brown. Flip. Cook again until golden brown. Repeat for the second quesadilla.

Other Thoughts:

  • These would also make delightful tacos!
  • The butternut squash filling is super good plain as well.
  • If you want to buy the butternut squash pre-cut, go for it! Saves time but is a little more expensive.
  • Feel free to freeze and thaw in the refrigerator or microwave when you’re ready to use it.

How-to-Use:

Athletes: A fabulous recovery meal – full of complex carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants. Plus, when you cook down the kale and butternut squash – you get a lot more nutrition with much less chewing. And, after a long workout, who wants to chew a massive kale salad to get their antioxidants for recovery?! Not me.

Healthy Eating: We all know we need to eat our veggies. But, sometimes veggies get boring. But you know what never gets boring?! Eating veggies in your quesadillas! Promise. Eat this for dinner knowing you’re getting everything you need: veggies, protein, complex carbohydrates, and ALL the vitamins.

Kids: We have huge success getting our kids to try new veggies when they are sandwiched between tortillas with cheese. <<perhaps this is genetic>> But, try making them their own quesadilla with fewer veggies that you’ve make yourself. And, if you have a veggie-averse kiddo, chop them a little smaller and spread evenly throughout.

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