Big Vegan: Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jicama Salsa
When fellow cooking teacher and cookbook author Robin Asbell asked me if I'd participate in the special online "potluck" release of her new book, Big Vegan, , I immediately said yes. I then got to choose a recipe from a well-prepared menu of items. I love winter squash so I chose the Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jicama Salsa.
I've known Robin for a number of years and like her work. Here is my recap of preparing the recipe. Read all the way down as I will be giving away a copy of Big Vegan on November 2nd. (See details below.)
I rarely make quesadillas for a couple of reasons: first, there isn't any cheese-like product that I am willing to use regularly, even though I really like Daiya cheese (I call it vegan crack), and second, I generally avoid wheat tortillas and don't care much for the brown rice type. Luckily, for this dish, I found the Sonoma teff tortillas which are gluten-free and tasty.
The ingredients in this recipe sounded so captivating and inviting that I just had to make them. So, I gathered all the ingredients and set out to follow the recipe with the tortilla switch.
I baked the squash and toasted the hazelnuts in the morning so that they would be ready in the early evening when I was going to make the dish. This recipe obviously has 2 parts. I got the salsa together first and then cooked the shallot and combined it with the other ingredients including the chopped hazelnuts. Here it is spread onto the teff tortilla.
I put the other tortilla on top and then slid the whole deal out onto a plate and then flipped it over. Unlike traditional quesadillas where the cheese is the "glue", the tortillas don't have anything to adhere to.
Here is the final quesadilla before being cut.
And here it is cut up and with the beautiful cranberry salsa.
The whole quesadilla with salsa was mighty tasty and good-looking although I realized that my tortillas might have been larger than 8-inches so eating a whole one was a bit too much for me to consume at once. It is definitely a generous portion. Also, my tortillas come 6 to package which is an even better reason to make only 3 quesadillas and eat less.
Here is the recipe (reprinted with permission, Chronicle Books):
Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jícama Salsa
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup chopped red onion
1 red jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 cup diced jícama
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh mint
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped shallot
3 cups mashed roasted winter squash
¼ cup/30 g toasted hazelnuts, skinned and chopped
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
8 8-in whole wheat tortilla
1. To make the salsa: In a food processor, chop the cranberries coarsely. Add the onion and jalapeño and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scrape out the mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in the jícama, cilantro/coriander, mint, sugar, salt, and cumin. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away.
2. To make the quesadillas: In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until they are soft and golden, for at least 5 minutes, or longer if you have time. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the squash, hazelnuts, chili powder, and salt. Lay out 4 tortillas and scoop 3/4 cup/180 ml of the squash mixture on each one. Spread it evenly, then top with another tortilla and press lightly to adhere.
3. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over high heat. When it is hot, place a quesadilla in the pan and cook until the bottom is toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip it, then cook the other side just until it is toasted. Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and use a chef’s knife to cut it in 6 wedges. Continue cooking until all the quesadillas are done, then serve them with the salsa.
If you'd like to win a copy of Big Vegan,
post a comment below about why you would make this recipe and why you'd like to win the book. I will choose a winner the morning of November 2nd. So, don't delay.
If you'd like to get an idea about other recipes in this book, see these blog posts
on Robin's website.
Here is the complete list of recipes that were part of the "potluck":
My recipe from Big Vegan is but one of a baker’s dozen of recipes, cooked and shared with pix by bloggers around the country, on three consecutive Tuesdays. Here they are and you will love checking them out.
Bryanna Clark Grogan
Leinana Two Moons
To see Big Vegan author Robin Asbell cooking some of her Big Vegan creations in her own kitchen, click here;