Hubby and I frequent a restaurant called Mikro Craft Beer Bar in Hamden, CT. We’ve always been there with friends, and no matter what group we’re with, everyone unanimously agrees on ordering their spiced roasted pumpkin seeds. I wondered how I could recreate something similar at home, and came up with this concept for a pesto. This crunchy, nutty tapenade is full of complex earthy, smokey flavors, creating the perfect condiment for my quesadilla.
Always looking to build upon the vegetarian recipes in my repertoire, I turned to a seasonal staple: sweet potatoes. This starchy root vegetable is known as one of the most nutritious forms of produce you can find, making you feel good about digging in.
Just one of these is very filling, fully flavor-packed and won’t do damage to your waistline thanks to the light cheese and whole grains. Two crispy whole wheat tortillas sandwich tender rosemary sweet potatoes, hearty black beans, melted cheddar and cumin-scented pumpkin seed pesto. They were so delicious I made more the next day.
I hadn’t mentioned my inspiration to Hubby, so you can imagine my excitement when he took his first bite and said, “This tastes just like something I would order at Mikro.” Mission. Accomplished.
(Makes approx. 3-4 quesadillas)
Whole wheat soft tortillas (2 per quesadilla)
1 package Sargento Ultra Thin mild cheddar cheese (6 pcs. per quesadilla)
About 4 medium sweet potatoes (20 oz.)
1/4 cup olive oil
About 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely minced yellow onion
3 sprigs rosemary, pulled from stems
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
For pumpkin seed pesto:
1/4 cup shelled dry roasted pumpkin seeds with sea salt
1/8 cup olive oil
4 sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut sweet potatoes into cubes and spread on a foil lined baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly.
Add onions and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender. While sweet potatoes are in the oven, pour pumpkin seeds into your food processor bowl.
Sprinkle in cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Drizzle in olive oil.
Blend until smooth.
Place tortillas on your work surface and cover one side with 3 slices of cheddar cheese.
Spread on about one tablespoon of pumpkin seed pesto.
Top with sweet potatoes and black beans.
Cover with three more pieces of cheese to help the tortilla stick. (And because it’s more cheese. Hello…)
Sandwich a plain tortilla on top.
Heat your griddle or pan and brush on olive oil.
Place quesadilla on the medium-hot surface and push a plate on top to flatten.
Brown on both sides and remove from heat.
Slice into triangles. A pizza cutter works great here!
Eat and enjoy a twist on Mexican cuisine!
Have a delicious weekend!