Veggin’ out

The perfect lentil quesadillas

A friend of mine recently asked for recipes that include lentils. She had some, but never cooked with them before. So I gave her a few suggestions, but it inspired me to look up a few new recipes, too.

I really like lentils a lot. If I’m cooking them from dry, I like to cook them in broth, or a mixture of broth and water, to give them a little more flavor. I also like to include them in my veggie chili that I like to make a lot.

When I saw the this recipe I thought it would be super easy and fast. But when I read through it, it said it would take several hours to cook. So, I will suggest two ways to make it — the long way and a quicker version.

Lentil quesadillas

(Pinchofyum.com)

For the sauce

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 a yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

For the quesadillas

1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed

1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

16 flour tortillas

3-4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, or non-dairy cheese for vegans

A few tablespoons butter, or non-dairy butter (optional)

Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth.

Place the rice, lentils, sauce and broth in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-7 hours until soft.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Layer the following: tortilla, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 cup filling, 1/4 cup cheese, tortilla. Spread the outsides of the tortillas with butter and fry on each side for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. Cut and serve.

Now, for my quicker variation.

You can keep the same ingredients for the sauce because blending them is done quickly.

Replace the dry lentils with a can of cooked lentils and rinse them. Also replace the uncooked rice with a microwaveable bag of rice. You can get these at most grocery stores and they cook in about 90 seconds. You also will not need the vegetable broth.

You can make the quesadillas the same way, using a skillet, or you also can put them together on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes, depending on your preferred crispness. I also broil mine for 1-2 minutes. Broiling tends to only get the top crispy and leaves the bottom a little limp.

I like to dip mine in sour cream and-or salsa.

Stellfox is a former editor at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

Her award-winning column is published on the third Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section.

She can be reached at the Lifestyle Department email address, life@sungazette.com.

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