Coconut Lentil Quesadillas with Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze
You know how sometimes when you go out to eat somewhere you’re like “WHOA! I need this in my life all the time!” That’s how I feel about the Caribbean Quesadillas at Real Food Daily in Pasadena. Since I can’t afford to eat out all the time, I decided to make a homemade spin on their awesome dish. It’s not exactly like theirs, but it’s pretty close and I think you will love it!
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast makes things taste cheesy. Truly. You can purchase nutritional yeast in bulk at Whole Foods or any health store or you can buy it on the shelves in most grocery stores. It looks like this. Nutritional yeast is a flaky, yellow-colored nutritional supplement used in cooking to make things have a cheesy flavor and it is also a great source of Vitamin B12 for those of us not eating meat or dairy. You can sprinkle it on salads, mix it in soups, or make some homemade cashew cheeze! It’s also great on savoury toasts and in tofu scrambles. I would suggest you go grab yourself some if you don’t have any already and start experimenting!
A Word about Coconut Milk.
You might notice that these lentils are cooked in coconut milk-- YUM! Not only does this give the lentils some extra flavor and richness that they desperately need, but it also gives them a great boost of healthy fats. I’m opting for the full-fat coconut milk and I would encourage you to do the same, but please read the labels and make sure your coconut milk isn’t filled with other junk. If you can find a can free of guar-gum or other preservatives, go for that! Trader Joe’s just re-released their coconut milk in cans and it’s simply coconut milk, so that’s a great option!
This Looks Complicated.
I promise, it’s not. There is minimal chopping and cutting and the cheeze and creme will be very quickly assembled in a food processor while your lentils cook and your onions saute. Set your lentils and cashews in separate bowls and cover with water before you leave for work. When you get home, throw it all together and make a delicious homemade meal for yourself because you deserve it!
Okay, enough talking. You need to try these. So let’s get cooking!
Coconut Lentil & Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze Quesadillas
Makes 2-4 quesadillas, depending on the size of your tortilla
½ c green lentils, soaked for 2-6 hours then drained and rinsed well
¾ c water
¼ tsp salt
¼ c full fat coconut milk
Cilantro & Avocado Creme
Makes about 1 cup
Juice of ½ lime
Roughly 1 c cilantro leaves
6 TBSP coconut milk
¼ tsp salt
Corn tortillas (I like the organic ones from Whole Foods-- they are made in store and have only 3 ingredients!)
1 small yellow onion, diced and sauteed
Large handful of spinach, slightly wilted
Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze
Salsa or Pico de Gallo (optional)
Drain and rinse lentils. Add to pot with water and salt and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat to low and cover for approximately 30 minutes (or until lentils are soft and cooked through.) Remove from heat, add ¼ c coconut milk and lightly blend with immersion blender. (If you do not have an immersion blender, wait for lentils to cool and then transfer to a blender with coconut milk. Return to pot to gently reheat.)
Heat a TBSP of coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add a large handful of spinach to the pan as well as a splash of water (about a TBSP) and cover pan to allow spinach to wilt for 2-3 minutes. Set pan aside.
To make the avocado and cilantro creme, add avocado, lime juice, cilantro and a dash of salt to the food processor. Pulse together to combine until smooth. Taste and add more lime juice if necessary or add water to thin. This should be fairly thin to drizzle on top of your quesadilla.
Start by heating up a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat with 1 TBSP coconut oil.
On your prep station, place one tortilla down. Spread some Jalapeno Cashew Cheeze on top. Add a thin layer of your coconut lentils. Add another layer of onions and spinach. Spread some Cashew Cheeze on a second tortilla and then place on top. Place your Quesadilla into the heated pan and cook for a couple minutes, flip, and cook for a couple more minutes, until heated through. Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Drizzle with Avocado & Cilantro Creme. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Serve with your favorite salsa (mango or peach would be delicious!!) or guacamole. Enjoy every single bite!!