This recipe comes from Mom’s latest book, Cook without a Book: Meatless Meals which I have been cooking from several nights a week since the fall. It was at that time that I first started watching films like Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Food Inc, and Robyn O’Brien’s 2011 TED Talk about the link between food allergies and the food supply. There was so much information about the food system and what it was doing to our bodies and our planet, it was too much to process. But over time, the films I watched and the books and articles I read slowly started to change the way I shopped and ate. Am I vegan now? No. Do I exclusively eat organic? No. But I’ve adopted a largely plant-based, whole foods diet. Two things have continued to lead me down this path: I have never felt better in my body and I have never felt better about being an inhabitant of this planet.
As my diet has changed, inevitably so has my shopping cart. With meat mostly out of the picture and dairy in limited quantities, I’ve also had to find some new blogs and cookbooks (which I’ll be sharing more of!) and Mom’s book has been a great resource. Like most of the book, this recipe is formula-based so you can use different vegetables or beans (instead of hominy) depending on what you have on hand. Usually the main ingredient, the cheese in this recipe is more an extra than a main character: important, but not front and center because the quesadilla is already full of flavor and healthy bulk. Andy, my husband, whose philosophy was once “it-has-to-be-meat-and-two-veg-or-it’s-not dinner” says this is one of his favorites meals I make these days.
Makes 6 large half quesadillas serving 4 to 6
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
8 ounces kale, stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can hominy, drained (or 1 can beans)
6 medium (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup each: chopped fresh cilantro and sliced scallion greens
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a medium skillet on low heat. Heat oil in a second large skillet over medium-high heat, and add kale; sauté until soft and starting to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano; sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add hominy; continue to sauté until mixture is dry and is just starting to stick to the pan, about 1 minute longer. Turn onto a plate and set aside.
Meanwhile, turn heat under medium skillet to medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke start to rise from the pan, add a flour tortilla, cook until spotty brown, about 30 seconds on the first side and 15 seconds on the second side; repeat with remaining tortillas, folding them in half immediately and then laying them on a large (18- by 12-inch) rimmed baking sheet. (You should be able to fit 3 rows of 2.)
Sprinkle a portion of half the cheese over the bottom of each tortilla, top with a portion of filling (a scant 1/3 cup) and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro and remaining cheese.
Bake quesadillas until heated through and crisp, about 15 minutes. Cut each into 4 triangles and serve with salsa and sour cream.