Lightened Up Corn and Bean Quesadillas with Avocado-Mango-Chipotle Salsa
This is the type of meal that in a restaurant, if you’re not careful, could be a major diet de-railer.
Fortunately, I’ve got a lightened up version that’s easy and ready in 15 minutes.
There’s a reason certain food just gives you those warm, fuzzy, comfort food feelings. Melted cheese, slathered between tortilla shells, and topped off with big dollops of sour cream and guac is one of them.
No sour cream here, but my version still has the melted cheese and big chunky pieces of avocado. I kept the recipe vegan by using vegan cheese and paid attention to portion size. Sure, gobs of cheese and big portions are nice, but not realities when trying to lighten things up.
I filled the quesadilla with chunky corn and bean salsa (Ralph’s storebrand) or Cowboy Caviar would work great. If you’re inclined to sweat down onions and mushrooms to boost the flavor and provide a meat-like texture, without adding meat or virtually any calories, mini portobellas are great.
For the tortilla shells, rather than using big, white, empty-calorie shells, I used whole wheat fajita-sized shells, which are each packed with 40% of daily fiber, and only 80 calories. Usually I love everythingThey’re super soft and don’t taste wheaty. I much prefer them to the Trader Joe’s low carb 60-calorie shells. Sorry, Trader.
For the avocado-mango-chipotle salsa, you can halve the recipe if you don’t want extra. However, I really dislike halving one avocado recipes because then what am I going to do with the other half?
I prefer to use the whole avocado and have leftovers of the completed recipe, rather than a lone brown half.
The overall stats will vary based on brands and exact ingredients used, and if you want a complete nutritional profile, you’ll have to use an online service to help you calculate it. I don’t have time or desire. Rough estimates, big picture, that’s me.
Whole wheat fajita shells or soft taco shells , 80 calories each = 160 calories for two
1/4 cup chunky bean and corn salsa = 60 calories
1/4 cup shredded cheese. Daiya is vegan, or use a reduced fat Mexican blend = 80 calories
Total = 300 calories
Avocado Mango Salsa
1 avocado = 320 calories
1 cup diced mango = 100
Total =420 calories, but this would be a very large salsa portion
The entire plate, and I’m sure you’d be stuffed = 720 calories
For me, half the quesadilla and not quite half the salsa was plenty, about 350 calories, and I was more than satisfied.
Plant-based meals like this that are full of fiber from the beans, corn, mango, avocado, and tortilla shells keep you full for a long time. The healthy fat in the avocado, and the protein in the beans and cheese, make the quesadillas hearty and satisfying.
The slight kick in the corn and bean salsa used in the quesadilla filling, coupled with the chipotle seasoning in the avo-mango salsa, provide rich, bold, smoky flavors with just a touch of heat.
There’s enough cheese to provide the cheesy, chewy quality I crave, while the soft and chewy fajita shells boost the chewiness even more.
The sweet mango and tart lime juice are a perfect pairing and add refreshing lightness.
Lightened up comfort food is do-able. In 15 minutes at that.
Lightened Up Corn and Bean Quesadillas with Avocado-Mango-Chipotle Salsa (vegetarian/vegan)
This is the type of meal that in a restaurant could be a major diet de-railer. Fortunately, I’ve got a lightened up version that’s easy and ready in 15 minutes. An overview of the nutritional stats is provided in the blog post and is an easy meal to keep under 350 calories. The dish is vegetarian, or keep vegan by using vegan cheese. Plant-based meals like this that are full of fiber from the beans, corn, mango, avocado, and tortilla shells keep you full for a long time. The healthy fat in the avocado, and the protein in the beans and cheese, make the quesadillas hearty and satisfying.
1 medium ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced in 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup diced mango, in 1/4-inch pieces (I used frozen)
juice from 1/2 lime
about 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning, or to taste
pinch salt and pepper, optional and to taste
Corn and Bean Quesadillas
2 fajita or soft taco shells (try fajita whole wheat)
1/4 cup chunky bean and corn salsa (I used a storebrand, or try Cowboy Caviar)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (Daiya is vegan, or use a reduced fat Mexican blend)
- Avocado-Mango-Chipotle Salsa – Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, tossing gently to mix thoroughly.
- Taste salsa and adjust chipotle seasoning, salt, pepper, or lime juice ratios if necessary. Cover with plasticwrap to help prevent oxidation of avocado; set aside while preparing the quesadilla. Salsa is best fresh, but extra will keep for up to 2 days airtight in the refrigerator, although some oxidation will occur.
- Corn and Bean Quesadillas – Place one fajita shell into a non-stick skillet.
- Spoon on salsa in an even flat layer, leaving a small bare 1/2-inch margin around the perimeter.
- Evenly sprinkle with cheese.
- Top with the other fajita shell.
- Turn stove to medium-high heat, and once pan is warm, cook for about 3 minutes on first side. If you have a lid, cover skillet to encourage cheese to melt.
- Uncover skillet, flip quesadilla over, and cook on second side for 1 to 3 minutes, or until done to taste preference.
- Transfer quesadilla from skillet to plate, top with Avocado Mango Chipotle Salsa, and serve immediately. Quesadillas are best warm and fresh.
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