Sweet Potato, Black Bean + Spinach Quesadillas

Quesadilla Close Up

Quesadillas don’t have to be just boring old tortillas and cheese, oh no. These quesadillas are so much more than that, plus they are healthy for you! Loaded with veggies, vegetarian protein from beans and fiber, these quesadillas are sure to satisfy! And they make great leftovers which I love, of course. Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas are my go-to tortilla because they are made from whole grains and real ingredients, unlike many other tortillas on the market. You’ll likely find Ezekiel tortillas [and other products like sprouted grain bread] in the health food freezer section of your grocery store. I store my tortillas in the freezer as well so they will stay fresh until I’m ready to use them.

Let’s look at the nutrition benefits.

Sweet Potato.

In general, the potato often gets vilified for being too starchy or too high in carbohydrates, but what we don’t take into account is the many other health benefits that sweet potatoes offer.

MICROS.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of antioxidants, which help combat oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. They also contain other nutrients like Vitamin A, C and E, fiber, potassium and B vitamins. And they’re loaded with phytonutrients [phyto=plant, so a phytonutrient is essentially a plant nutrient]. Phytonutrients may help prevent disease, fight inflammation and assist in everyday body functioning. And there are more than 25,000 phytonutrients found in plant foods! The main phytonutrients found in sweet potatoes are carotenoids which have antioxidant effects in your body.

MACROS.

While sweet potatoes are naturally higher in starch and carbohydrates, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid them. Because of their fiber content, the carbohydrates from this whole food source are digested more slowly which is better for your blood sugar, satiety and your waist line. Sweet potatoes also contain something called resistant starch. Resistant starch is essentially a complex starch molecule that your body can’t digest. This means that it takes your body longer to breakdown, which also helps to avoid that blood sugar spike and keeps you satisfied longer.

The skin of the sweet potato contains many nutrients and fiber too, so don’t forget to eat it. Just make sure to scrub the skin well to remove any dirt or bacteria. Bottom line, sweet potatoes deserve a place in your healthy, whole-food based diet.

Black Beans.

Black beans are a great vegetarian protein source that are loaded with both protein and fiber. Just a ½ cup serving of cooked black beans contains 7 grams of fiber. Most Americans are actually lacking fiber in their diet. Women need about 25 grams of fiber daily and men 38 grams, so the fiber from black beans can make a dent in those daily needs.

As for protein, a ½ cup cooked black beans contains 8 grams of plant-based protein. Protein and fiber are both very satiating and are digested slowly, meaning that you will stay full and satisfied.

In addition to protein and fiber, black beans are high nutrients such as folic acid, magnesium, potassium and iron. Folic acid is important for cellular health, and for pregnant women can help prevent neural tube defects. Magnesium is a mineral that many people are deficient in and is important for heart health, can decrease muscle cramping and naturally relieve constipation. Iron is essential to keep you and your blood adequately oxygenated, and potassium is essential for muscle and nerve function. In other words, eat those black beans!

Sprouted Grains.

The Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas I use in this recipe are unique because they contain sprouted grains. And many people are unaware of the many benefits of sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are among the healthiest whole grains for a few reasons. The process of sprouting grains produces living, nutrient-rich food high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid [a substance present naturally in grains], which blocks the absorption of some nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Sprouted grains are easier on digestion because the sprouting process starts the breakdown of starch before you consume them. They are also thought to contain fewer carbohydrates, be lower-glycemic and contain more protein than even their whole grain counterparts.

Check out the full recipe + directions below.

[ingredients ready to assemble.]

Quesadillas Ingredients

[layer on the veggies + beans]

Quesadilla Assembly

[sweet potatoes and cheese are next.]

Quesadillas

 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean + Spinach Quesadillas

servings: 4 large or 8 small quesadillas

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 large Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas OR 16 small tortillas of choice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed + diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • about 4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese [or other cheese of choice]
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • avocado, fresh salsa and hot sauce, optional for serving

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add diced sweet potatoes to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Using hands, make sure all the sweet potatoes are covered in oil and evenly distributed on baking sheet, avoiding a lot of overlap. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, flipping once throughout. Meanwhile add 1 Tbsp olive oil to large sauté pan on medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until slightly tender. Next add sea salt, black pepper, cumin, black beans and spinach. Cook until spinach has completely wilted. Remove from heat and set aside. Once sweet potatoes are done you are ready to assemble your quesadillas. Add some black bean and spinach mixture to one tortilla, then top with a little fresh cilantro. Next add a layer of cheese [add as much cheese as you would like here depending on how cheesy you like your quesadillas – just make sure you have enough for a second layer of cheese]. Next, add a layer of sweet potatoes and finish off with a final layer of cheese [again, it’s up to you how much you would like to add]. Place a second tortilla on top of each assembled quesadilla and press down to spread ingredients out as evenly as possible. Once all quesadillas are assembled, place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets and add to a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Flip quesadillas and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before cutting. Enjoy with homemade guacamole, fresh salsa and/or hot sauce.

 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean + Spinach Quesadillas
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 large Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas OR 16 small tortillas of choice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed + diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • about 4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese [or other cheese of choice]
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • avocado, fresh salsa and hot sauce, optional for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add diced sweet potatoes to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Using hands, make sure all the sweet potatoes are covered in oil and evenly distributed on baking sheet, avoiding a lot of overlap.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, flipping once throughout.
  5. Meanwhile add 1 Tbsp olive oil to large sauté pan on medium heat.
  6. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until slightly tender.
  7. Next add sea salt, black pepper, cumin, black beans and spinach.
  8. Cook until spinach has completely wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Once sweet potatoes are done you are ready to assemble your quesadillas.
  10. Add some black bean and spinach mixture to one tortilla, then top with a little fresh cilantro.
  11. Next add a layer of cheese [add as much cheese as you would like here depending on how cheesy you like your quesadillas - just make sure you have enough for a second layer of cheese].
  12. Next, add a layer of sweet potatoes and finish off with a final layer of cheese [again, it's up to you how much you would like to add].
  13. Place a second tortilla on top of each assembled quesadilla and press down to spread ingredients out as evenly as possible.
  14. Once all quesadillas are assembled, place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets and add to a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  15. Flip quesadillas and bake for another 15 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before cutting.
  17. Enjoy with homemade guacamole, fresh salsa and/or hot sauce.

 

What did you think about this healthy quesadilla recipe? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Angela Freed

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