Pumpkin Black Bean Quesadillas

Pumpkin Black Bean Quesadillas
From www.foodfanatic.com, by Christina Lane

Pumpkin Black Bean Quesadillas Photo

I’ve found myself in a bit of a lunch rut lately. With a baby on my hip, all I can manage to cook and eat with one hand is cheese and crackers. (And yes, it’s called cooking if I make my favorite rendition of cheese and crackers: nachos!). If I’m lucky, I can pour a pureed soup into a spill-proof mug and sip on that while simultaneously bouncing baby.

Not only am I tired of this lunch routine, but I also want to model eating for my little one. How can I expect her to approach vegetables and fruit with enthusiasm if I eat only white foods?

I need quick, healthy, and simple lunch ideas to be successful. I have a little formula for a healthy lunch. One healthy lunch = one whole grain + at least one vegetable + some protein + a high delicious factor. With a well-stocked pantry, I got to work!

Pumpkin Black Bean Quesadillas Picture

Quesadillas are so easy to pull together, and I almost always have a bag of whole wheat tortillas in the freezer. The whole wheat tortillas took care of my whole grain requirement. As for the vegetables, I added a handful of kale. There’s not many things I don’t add a handful of kale too these days, so why should quesadillas be the exception?

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Next, for protein I used black beans. I drained and rinsed them from the can, and then smashed them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and the tiniest dash of smoked paprika. Bonus points for double protein: I used shredded Monterey Jack cheese to glue it all together. The deliciousness quota was met by pumpkin butter. It sounds weird, yes, but black beans and sweet potatoes were meant for each other. I just subbed pumpkin for the sweet potato.

If you try this flavor combination, I know you’re going to love it! If you use my formula to make your own healthy lunch, I’d love to hear about it!




  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 whole wheat flour tortillas, 10 inches
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup jarred pumpkin butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • handful fresh kale, stems removed


  1. In a large skillet or griddle, divide the piece of butter into two pieces, and place a tortilla on top of each piece. Turn the heat to medium, and brown the first side of the tortilla. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans, and place them in a shallow bowl. Mash them with the olive oil, paprika (if using), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Once the first side of the tortillas are browned, flip them and add the shredded cheese to one tortilla (on the side that was just cooked). Pile the kale on top of the cheese so that it has something to stick to. Then, dollop the mashed beans on top of the kale. 
  4. To the other tortilla, spread the pumpkin butter, and place on top of the other one, with the uncooked side up. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, flipping as necessary to prevent browning. To prevent the filling from falling out mid-flip, let the first side cook long enough to melt the cheese.
  5. Slice into wedges and serve yourself a healthy lunch. 



  • This recipe can be doubled to serve more than one.


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