Real south-of-the-border flavors heat up quick and easy quesadillas

A cheese quesadilla is the ultimate fast food: grate cheese, melt in tortilla, top with salsa, eat. But in Mexico, fillings such as squash and mushrooms elevate this griddle favorite to a dinner-worthy dish.
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A cheese quesadilla is the ultimate fast food: grate cheese, melt in tortilla, top with salsa, eat. But in Mexico, fillings such as sautéed squash and mushrooms elevate this griddle favorite to a dinner-worthy dish. And because so many authentic ingredients—fresh and canned chiles, plus Mexican herbs, seasonings and cheeses—are now available in many supermarkets, you can shop for and make these recipes in short order.

FRESH TABLE SALSA

Makes 1 cup - Vegan  - 30 minutes or fewer

No Mexican dinner table would be complete without a bowl of fresh salsa. This stand-out is the real thing—and it couldn’t be easier to make. Serve it with any of the quesadilla recipes.

3 red plum tomatoes, or 3 large green tomatillos, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 small white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 jalapeño or serrano chile with seeds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 to 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice, to taste (about 1 lime)

Pulse all ingredients in food processor several times until thoroughly combined but still somewhat chunky.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

PER SERVING: 16 CAL; 1G PROT; 0G TOTAL
FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 4G CARB; 0MG CHOL;
150MG SOD; <1G FIBER; 2G SUGARS

SMOKY-SPICY BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS

Serves 4 - 30 minutes or fewer

The combo of cheese, black beans and corn tortillas makes for an authentic and complete meal. If you can find fresh epazote at a Latin American market, use it instead of cilantro to experience southern Mexico’s classic flavor pairing with black beans. Freeze unused canned chipotle chiles sealed in a plastic bag.

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 canned chipotle chiles, chopped
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
8 6-inch corn tortillas
1 cup (1/4 lb.) grated quesillo cheese, string cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped cilantro or epazote leaves
16 1/8-inch-thick slices white onion (from 1 large onion)

1. Put beans, chiles and sugar in blender. Blend to coarse paste, adding water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2.Warm big ungreased griddle or 2 large skillets over medium heat. Place 4 tortillas on griddle. Arrange 1/4 of cheese on each tortilla (keep cheese away from edges). Top with 1/4 of cilantro and 4 onion slices. Spread remaining 4 tortillas with bean mixture; turn over onto tortillas with cheese. Cook 2 minutes, or until cheese begins to melt, pressing down with spatula. Flip, and cook 2 minutes more, or until browned. Serve hot.

PER SERVING: 452 CAL; 14G PROT; 18G TOTAL FAT (6G SAT. FAT); 60G CARB; 30MG CHOL; 471MG SOD; 7G FIBER; 13G SUGARS