Thirty Minute Thursdays: Green Chile Quesadillas & Side Succotash Salad

I think next year I’ll kick Passover off with a post about what I like to eat during the holiday to stay healthy and satisfied. It slipped my mind this year, and by the time someone suggested it to me, I wasn’t sure my advice would be particularly helpful – after all, in just over 24 hours we can all eat grains again. This year has been particularly challenging for me, as I left my box of quinoa at my parent’s house – talk about low carb meals! I admit that it has forced me to make some less healthy choices than I would like – as excited as I get about a successful and filling low carb meal here and there, I don’t like actually following a full on “low carb diet” – and I am very, very much looking forward to dinner tomorrow night. I’m not sure what I’ll make yet, but the box of lasagna noodles in my pantry is looking mighty fine right about now.

Then again, so does this recipe for grilled chile quesadillas! I know, I know, I just told you about quesadillas – how repetitive of me! But hear me out. First of all, it’s National Grilled Cheese Day, and I still don’t have a legitimate grilled cheese recipe for you so I want to make do with what I have. Second of all, this one speaks to all of the vegetarians out there (I haven’t forgotten about you!), whereas yesterday’s recipe contained chicken. I thought it would be a nice 30 Minute Thursday post to follow up a very unconventional quesadilla with a much more classic one. Plus, I ate it with a side of succotash salad, which – if you don’t follow the corn rule – could actually be eaten on Passover. So I like to think that this post does a good job of pleasing everyone this week.

This quesadilla was absolutely delicious. There was a perfect amount of cheese and using the smoked cheddar was incredible. All I would change next time would be to increase the amount of chile peppers slightly. I poured a spicy salsa verde on top (which, by the way, could not have been easier to make), which I made a little hotter by not removing the seeds, so that made up for the lack of kick from the quesadilla itself.  The succotash salad was equally tasty, and even easier to make. It wasn’t overly flavorful – it made a good pair for a spicy dish because it was refreshing and cooling. All I would say with this is to choose your oil for the dressing wisely – I used sesame and could absolutely taste it. A canola oil would be much more neutral, but otherwise go for a decent quality oil with a flavor that would go well with the rest of the dish, because you can definitely taste it. Also, if you have a little leftover succotash and a little leftover salsa verde, try mixing them together - it's fantastic!

Grille Chile Quesadillas with Succotash Salad, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup beans, drained & rinsed if canned1
½ small red pepper, chopped
¼ small red onion, chopped
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 poblano peppers
4 whole grain tortillas
2 cups shredded smoked cheddar cheese
plain greek yogurt, for serving
salsa verde, for serving
cilantro, for garnish

The Method
Combine the corn, beans, pepper, onion, vinegar, cilantro, and oil in a medium-large bowl. Toss until well mixed. Season with pepper, to taste, and set aside.

Place the peppers under the broiler of your oven or toaster oven and allow to char on all sides, watching closely. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the seeds for a milder version. Chop the peppers and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high and place one of the tortillas in the hot pan. Allow it to blister on one side, approximately 20 seconds, before flipping to the opposite side. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese and ¼ of the chopped peppers over half of the tortilla and fold over. Continue cooking 15 seconds, flip to the other side, and cook another 15 minutes. Wrap the finished tortilla in foil and place in a warm oven to keep it hot while you make the others. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

Garnish each tortilla with a sprinkling of cilantro and serve alongside the succotash salad, yogurt, and salsa verde.

1I used a combination of black and cannellini beans; I also cooked them in the same crockpot at the same time, which is why the cannellini beans turned an appetizing shade of grey. Lovely, I know.

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