Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #292: Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Photo Credit: Matt (via Flickr)
Photo credit: Matt/Flickr

By Marcia Winer, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota—The Emily Program]

My sister hates beans – absolutely cannot stand them. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons, one of which is because beans are a cheap, easy way to get both protein and fiber into your diet. Another reason is that I tend to do the majority of the cooking when I’m at home, and I like to use beans a lot. While I wish I could play the older sister card, she is bigger and stronger than I am, so it is wiser for me to aim for a compromise. Enter these quesadillas!

These are not your typical Tex-Mex style quesadillas, grilled in a skillet and brimming with cheese. There is cheese in the filling, but it’s also packed with corn, onion and, of course, some of those fiber-filled beans! The spice mix is packed with flavor, so even my bean-phobic sister goes back for seconds.

I use reduced sodium canned beans and reduced fat cheese to lower the sodium and fat content. Reduced fat cheese is also stretchier when melted than full-fat cheese, so I found it works better on things like quesadillas and pizza where the stretchy cheese is half the fun of eating it! If you have leftover filling, it works well as either a nacho topping or melted on top of a piece of bread.

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

Adapted from Budget Bytes

(Serves 8-10)


  • One 15-oz. can low-sodium black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dried beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 4-6 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, preferably 2%
  • 10 8-inch whole wheat tortillas (for gluten-free, use corn tortillas)
  • Cilantro for garnish

Taco Seasoning:

  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (omit if you do not like spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if on low sodium diet)
  • 1/2 tsp. corn starch (optional, but it helps the quesadilla filling stick together)


  1. Make the taco seasoning: mix all spices together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse the can of beans. Place in a large bowl with the frozen corn kernels.
  3. Rinse the scallions and slice thinly. Add sliced scallions to the beans and corn, along with the minced garlic, shredded cheese, and taco seasoning. Stir to combine.
  4. Heat skillet to medium-high heat. Using tongs (the skillet is hot!), place one or two tortillas on the skillet for 5-10 seconds to make them warm and pliable, then flip them over. Add about ½ cup of the filling to one half of each tortilla, then fold the tortilla over into a half-moon shape. Cook on one side until tortilla is browned and the cheese is melty, then flip to brown other side.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve. Guacamole and pico de gallo make excellent condiments!

Quick Tip:

If you are making these quesadillas ahead of time, place them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool. If you want to freeze them, place the baking sheet in the freezer for an hour and then place in zip-top bags. Quesadillas can be reheated either in the microwave or by placing in a skillet on low heat for a few minutes per side. These are great for a quick lunch (or even breakfast!) on the go.

Nutrition Information:

Per serving: 247 calories, 8.5 g total fat (4.7 g sat), 12.6 mg cholesterol,30.17 g carbohydrate, 0g added sugar, 7.73 g fiber, 573 mg sodium

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