When it comes to preparing meals, lunch stumps me far more than either breakfast or dinner. Breakfast is no problem – usually something quick and easy, like oatmeal, cereal or even fruit and yogurt. I never struggle for dinner ideas either (though motivation is sometimes a problem), plus we have quite a few go-to recipes I can turn to if all else fails. But lunch… I guess you could say I’m picky and a lot of the traditional lunch ideas (think soups, sandwiches, salads, etc.) don’t appeal to me at all. I do enjoy grilled cheese quite a bit but over time I’ve convinced myself that it’s not the healthiest thing to eat for lunch on a daily basis. So, needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, anything that will make my mid-day meal less of a struggle.
I came upon these quesadillas in an issue of Eating Well I borrowed from the library recently and what a find they’ve been! I love quesadillas so I’m not sure why the idea of making them at home never crossed my mind previously. Mushrooms and onions are one of my favorite combinations – they’re my pizza toppings of choice – so it wasn’t too surprising that I really enjoyed these quesadillas. I made them earlier this week and enjoyed them so much I made them for lunch again the next day. I found myself at the store yesterday picking up a few things, including more mushrooms so I could yet again have quesadillas! I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but for now they’re the perfect lunch – quick and easy, substantial enough to hold me over for quite a while and sooo delicious!
The first day I made this recipe I followed it almost exactly. The only change I made was to reduce the amount of barbecue sauce (the amount listed below is the reduced amount I used, not the original) based on some of the reviews of the recipe on Eating Well’s site. When I cut the mushrooms up, it seemed like there were way too many, but they cook down quite a bit so don’t be concerned. Also, I didn’t measure the cheese – I just spread it over the tortilla until I had a layer that covered one half. I used two tortillas as the recipe suggested, but my toppings were spilling out of the sides so I think you could even stretch your filling to make three (or use slightly larger tortillas to make two). The second day I made quesadillas, I used crimini mushrooms, more red onion and skipped the barbecue sauce mixture. They were still terrific and the best part is there are a ton of other flavor combinations to try so hopefully I won’t get sick of this lunch for a while!
Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas
adapted from Eating Well (as seen here)
2-3 tablespoons prepared barbecue sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1/2 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 2 1/2 medium), gills removed (a spoon works well), diced
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
2 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
6 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.
Place the tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons of cheese on half of each tortilla and top with half of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Cut each quesadilla into wedges (a pizza cutter does the job nicely) and serve.