What would you say to silky, smooth, garlicky, sweet potato puree, crunchy sweet red peppers and lusciously gooey melted cheddar sandwiched between two warm, crunchy flour tortillas?!! If a resounding YES is the answer, than have I got an easy vegetarian dinner for you tonight!! These Roasted Sweet Potato, Red Pepper and Cheddar Quesadillas are one of our new favorites around here and I know that once you taste them, you'll quickly fall in love too!
About 90% of the time, quesadillas are not something I plan in advance. Generally they're a last minute, let-me-use-up-these-leftovers-'cause-I-didn't-make-anything-else-for-dinner-tonight-and-we-have-to-leave-for-hockey-in-20-minutes kind of a dinner. But the deliciousness of these little stuffed sandwiches, has me rethinking my whole slap-something-between-two-tortillas approach. You see guys, these are outstanding and it's all because of the amazing, wonderful, stupendous, extraordinary sweet potato puree that's both the greatest and worst part of this dish--greatest, because as I think I've already demonstrated with my over abundant use of adjectives, totally yummy and worst, because, while I'm writing this, I've got to wait the 30 or so minutes that it takes to cook the sweet potatoes with the onion and garlic so that I can make the darn puree, which means I can't eat a quesadilla RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!! Planning ahead is my nemesis!!
Once the puree is finally made, really guys, it's not a big deal at all--I'm just hungry now and whiny (you can even make the puree a couple of days in advance and have it all ready to go) you smear a generous amount of it atop a flour quesadilla.
Adding some chopped red pepper--
And shredded cheese (I used cheddar and Monterey Jack here but you could use anything you like) in the process.
All that's left to do is top the whole thing with another tortilla, and cook the quesadillas on both sides for a few minutes so that they get all crispy brown on the outside and warm and melted inside. Every bite is full of creamy sweet potatoes, the snap of crisp red peppers, gooey cheese and crunchy tortillas! Yum!
We usually eat these for dinner but they'd be great as easy vegetarian appetizers too, in which case I definitely recommend serving these with a little lime-spiked sour cream. Absolute perfection! And absolutely worth every minute of the dreaded "planning ahead". There's my timer--veggies all cooked! Now I can make the puree. Quesadillas are just moments away!!
Roasted Sweet Potato, Red Pepper and Cheddar Quesadillas (with Lime-Spiked Sour Cream)
Makes 4-5 dinner servings-much more if you're serving these as appetizers
Prep Time: About 1 hour ( but most of this is hands-off time while the sweet potatoes roast)including about 30 minutes to roast potatoes and make the puree)
For the Quesadillas
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, unpeeled and cut into eighths
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas (you can use larger ones too, sometimes I use 10-inch ones and get about 4 quesadillas)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded cheese ( cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella all work well)
Non-stick vegetable cooking spray
For the Sour Cream dip
1 cup sour cream (you can use light if you like)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1-2 dashes hot sauce, optional (use if you like a little kick)
1. To make the quesadillas: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the sweet potatoes, onion and garlic on a shallow baking sheet in one layer. Toss with the oil and roast for about 15 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and place them on a cutting board. Return the pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes more, until the sweet potatoes and onion are soft. Remove the skins from the garlic and onions and place them in a food processor. Add the cooked sweet potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Puree till entirely smooth.
2. Spread a generous amount of the mixture on top of a tortilla. Layer with the red pepper and cheese. Cover with another tortilla.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook quesadilla for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, then spray the tortilla on top lightly with the vegetable spray and flip over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted, puree is heated through and tortilla on the bottom is golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cut into wedges. Serve immediately as is or with lime-spiked sour cream.
4. To make the Sour Cream dip: Place the sour cream in a small bowl. Stir in the lime juice and hot sauce if using. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Give it a little stir before using to recombine any ingredients that may have separated.
5. Sweet potato puree can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
6. Leftover quesadillas can be reheated in the oven or toaster.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Wenman Steel. The original recipe called for butternut squash but the one I had was spoiled when I opened up the container of cut pieces so I subbed in sweet potatoes and it's great this way. Also to cut the fat and calories, I sprayed the tortillas with Pam instead of spreading softened butter on the outsides before cooking them and I promise you, you won't miss the butter.