If you haven’t seen Dana Carvey’s: Straight White Male, 60, you should absolutely go watch it on Netflix now. After you do, you will never say “sweet potato” the same way again. And then you will understand why I couldn’t get his voice out of my head the entire time I was making this Sweet Potato Quesadilla with Kale and Caramelized Onions.
This recipe was inspired by a similar dish at Rooted, a vegan restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I think my recreation has come pretty dang close, seeing as the first round of these quesadilla’s was devoured in a matter of minutes. It’s not hard to see why- each crispy tortilla is filled with caramelized onions, diced sweet potato, hearty black beans, crunchy kale, then finished off with smooth avocado cream. Yea, it’s kind of a big deal.
Making these quesadillas is really pretty easy. Let me walk you through it:
To be honest, the filling of this Sweet Potato Quesadilla with Kale & Caramelized Onions is so freaking delicious, you could just stir fry this up and eat it will tortilla chips, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of putting the quesadillas together. Or, a make ahead tip I often use is to assemble all the quesadillas the morning of a party, cut them into quarters and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, just toast them up for 10-15 minutes at 350F when ready to serve, and drizzle with the avocado crema before eating. This saves you the hassle of hovering over a stove flipping quesadillas when you’re also trying to entertain guests.
One final note about the cheese I used- so, I was trying to make vegan cheddar cheese out of cashews, and I went a little heavy on the turmeric (added just for color) so it turned out BRIGHT YELLOW. I tried to hide it in most pictures, but you can see it peaking through at some points. The cheese looked so fake and awful, so I didn’t want to showcase it. It also didn’t taste exactly as I wanted, however I think it works in the recipe. It was just the right amount of salt, sweet, and creaminess to bind everything together. However, if you want to save yourself some time, feel free to use vegan cheddar style shreds such as Daiya (although I am personally not a fan) or if you’re not a strict vegan, just use regular cheddar cheese, making this vegetarian and still 100% delicious 😉
I hope you enjoy my third healthy appetizer suggestion for the big game this Sunday! By the way, who are you rooting for? Let me know in the comments below!
Sweet Potato Quesadilla with Kale and Caramelized Onions
Makes 5 whole, but 20 triangles
For the Quesadilla:
2T olive oil
2 yellow onions
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp stevia
1 medium-large sweet potato (3 cups once diced)
2 cloves garlic
5-6 cups Kale
1-14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
Sea salt, to taste
10- 6 inch tortillas (I used Angelic Bakehouse because I like their ingredient list & nutrient information)
Vegan* or Non-Vegan Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
1 large avocado (just over a cup of flesh)
1/3-1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2T lime juice
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup cashew milk or cashew cream
-Using a small food processor, puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, and add the onions. Cook over medium about 15-20 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown. Meanwhile, dice the sweet potato, peeling first if you are choosing to do so. Add the sweet potato and crushed garlic to the pan, stir to coat with the onions. Add 1T of water if the pan starts to get too dry and the veggies start to stick. Saute uncovered ~10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover the pan, and allow to cook 5-10 minutes until all the water is evaporated and the potatoes are softened. While the veggies are steaming, wash and tear the kale, and drain and rinse the black beans. Once all the water is evaporated from the pan, add the kale, beans, chili powder, and salt, stirring to combine and cooking until the kale is wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste, then set aside the mixture until you’re ready to make the quesadillas.
Preheat a large skillet or grill pan, spraying with non stick spray or a very light coating of oil. Place one tortilla down, spread vegan cheese or sprinkle regular cheese on top. Then, scoop in ~1/2 cup of the filling (more or less to preference), top with a second tortilla, and allow to cook until the bottom tortilla starts to turn golden. Flip, cooking until the cheese is melty and the second tortilla is crisp. Remove from the pan, slice into quarters, and repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve hot topped with avocado crema or just some diced avocado.
*For the Vegan Cheddar:
1 cup raw cashews
2T nutritional yeast
¼ cup lemon juice
1T white miso
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt, more or less to taste (remember, cheese is salty!)
1 ¼ cup cashew milk
1/3 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
pinch turmeric (for color)
Soak the cashews 4-24 hours until very soft, or boil 10-15 minutes. Drain the cashews then combine everything together in a high powered blender, mixing until completely smooth (this may take a few minutes). Pour into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until it starts to thicken- stirring frequently so it doesn’t clump. Eat immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge!