One of the main things a lot of my friends ask me to post more about are vegan recipes to make as everyday meals- the weeknight ones and the dinner-on-the-cheap ones. So I'll be putting together a few staple recipes based on meals I make at least once a week, that are easy to adjust to your own tastes and spruce up or pair down depending on what mood you're in and what's in season or in the fridge.
As I mentioned on Instagram a few weeks ago, in line with the new 7-a-day research results, I'm also going to be looking at how to include more vegetables (and a bit of fruit) into recipes, as well as how to include a lot of parts of vegetables that are often wasted. With four portions of vegetables and beans per person, I thought my recipe for black bean quesadillas would be a great place to start.
What makes quesadillas a great mid-week meal are that they're quick to put together and you can keep the basics- beans, onions, chipotle sauce and wraps- in the cupboard or freezer. Tortilla wraps freeze really well and mean you've always got a dinner to hand! They also travel really well, so I always make four portions with two of these for lunchboxes the next day.
Makes four portions
For the chilli-roasted potatoes
Vegetable or sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp Sriracha or similar chilli sauce
1 tsbp chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
500g potatoes with skins left on, cut into bitesize chunks
For the black bean quesadillas
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped small
1 garlic clove, chopped small
Salt and pepper
1 tsp of chipotle chilli sauce or chopped chillis and allspice mix if you can't track this down.
1 bay leaf
2 tins black beans, drained
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Juice 1/2 lime
For the coriander salsa
1 small cucumber or around 1/2 a whole cucumber, chopped small
2 medium tomatoes, chopped small
2 tbsp olive oil
Half bunch of coriander, chopped as small as possible, including entire stalk.
Salt and pepper
Juice 1/2 lemon
Plus tortillas, salad leaves and jalapeno peppers to serve
Start with the chilli roasted potatoes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil, a pinch of both salt and pepper, the Sriracha sauce, the chilli flakes, paprika and turmeric, and stir. Add in the chopped potatoes and stir, so that all the chunks are covered in the chilli oil.
Pour into an oven-proof tray and roast for half an hour, turning every once in a while so nothing burns.
Now it's time to get the black beans started! Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and add in the chopped onion. Fry on a low heat for a few minutes before adding in the garlic and salt and pepper. Really drag out this part, trying to heat the onion and garlic on as low heat as possible while they still sizzle, so that this becomes a really sweet base for the beans to cook on.
Once they've been frying for around five minutes, add a teaspoon of chipotle sauce, or if you don't have that, try some chopped chillis and some all spice mix, along with a bay leaf. Stir through the onion and garlic and leave it to heat for about three-five minutes. The key to a great black bean sauce is time, so try and make each stage last for as long as you have time for, as the flavours will only improve. When the onion has reduced a little further, pour in the black beans and chopped coriander. You may need to add a half cup or so of water to stop the beans sticking, so cook for another ten or so minutes until all liquid has reduced and there's just a thick consistency left. Finally, remove the bay leaf as you don't want to leave this for too long as it will add a bitter flavour.
You can spread onto tortillas now as a wrap, or for quesadillas, heat a frying pan or griddle, and spread the black beans over one side of the tortilla. Fold the other side over so you have a semi-circle, and fry in a dry pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Cut in half and your quesadillas are ready!
Finally, finish off with this fragrant salsa. Simply add the cucumber and tomatoes to a small bowl, along with the olive oil, coriander, salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasoning if needed and the lime juice, until you're happy with the flavour.
You're ready to go! Plate up with salad, jalapeno peppers and more chilli sauce and you have one big lunch or dinner. Save half back and you also have lunchboxes for the next day. BOOM.