“Refried” Bean Quesadillas

This healthy dinner recipe is a favourite in my house (my daughter even requests that I pack leftovers in her school lunch). It’s filling but not too heavy and it’s loaded with healthy ingredients. It can be made into a wrap or burrito instead of a quesadilla if you prefer (I find that when using gluten-free tortillas, quesadillas are easier to eat since they don’t break apart as easily as when they’re folded into a wrap).

The reason I don’t use canned refried beans is because they are almost always overloaded with salt and often contain unhealthy oils. I prefer to make things from scratch whenever possible so that I can control the ingredients but if you’re low on time you can use canned refried beans, just look for a low-sodium version and make sure you read the ingredients.

If you’re an omnivore or lacto- vegetarian then feel free to add as much cheese to your liking but this quesadilla tastes great without cheese so it’s not necessary if you’re vegan or trying to avoid dairy.

Recipe: (makes 6 quesadillas)


1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (equivalent to half a cup dry beans or one can)

1/2 cup brown rice

1 1/2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

2 cups packed Kale, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp sea salt

1 large ripe avocado

1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

6 whole-grain tortillas (I use gluten free)

Grated cheese (optional)

Salsa and/or sour cream to serve


1. Cook the rice in 1 cup of vegetable broth and set aside.

2. Cook the chopped kale in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth in a saucepan on med-low heat for a few minutes until wilted. Add the beans, remaining 1/4 cup broth, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and sea salt. Cook for a few minutes, then use a potato masher to mash the beans. Add the rice and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

3. Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the mashed avocado, add the cilantro and combine. Add the avocado mixture to the bean mixture and stir to combine.

4. Place a tortilla on a griddle or large fry pan on medium heat. Spread roughly half a cup of the bean mixture onto half the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese (optional), then fold the other half of the tortilla over the bean mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and bean mixture.

5. Cut each quesadilla into 3 triangles and serve with salsa and /or sour cream.

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