I am so ready for fall. The problem is I live in Phoenix and we don’t really have fall. I didn’t really have this issue until I went to college in Washington, D.C. (Go Eagles!) and experienced fall for real. Leaves, pumpkin, apple festivals, and that irreplaceable crisp smell in the air. I just can’t get that here.
Sure, I’m as happy as the next Phoenician that the highs are now generally in the double digits and it gets down in the 80s at night, but it’s just not the same. So I’m doing what so many other people in this city do–I’m just proclaiming it fall and acting as such. I’m now stocked on apples, squash, cranberries, and pumpkin. Let the fall food extravaganza begin!These quesadillas were absolutely fantastic. They are the newest addition to my favorites. They are healthy, out of the ordinary, and equally pleasing to the palette and the eye. The vibrant colors of the ingredients really draws you right in and the first bite keeps you there. With the orange squash and the black beans, these would even be fun for Halloween!
**Note: This recipe could be a very easy weeknight meal. Just make the squash puree the night before so it’s ready for assembly the night you want to eat.
1 (1 1/2 lb.) butternut squash
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. cumin, divided
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 c. low-fat plain yogurt
zest of one lime, divided
juice of 1/2 lime
6-8 whole-wheat tortillas
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut top off squash and then halve lengthwise. Scoop seeds out. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet (I like to turn the edges up to contain juices) with the flesh side up. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, 1/2 tsp. cumin, and nutmeg.
3. Roast squash in the oven until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes. Place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then scoop out flesh and puree in a blender or food processor.
4. While the squash is cooling, make the sauce by mixing yogurt, half the lime zest, lime juice, remaining 1/2 tsp. cumin, and salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Equally divide the puree between three or four tortillas. Then layer on beans, jalapeno, feta, and cilantro. Place remaining tortillas on top.
6. Cook quesadillas on the grill or in a grill pan or large sauté pan. Let cool one minute, then cut into quarters and drizzle with yogurt sauce.
One year ago: one of my top three fall recipes, autumn harvest bread