Cheat on Meat for Meatless Monday / by JIllian Marshall

 

It goes without saying that Monday's can suck, and that coming home to a greasy meal can feel like the only way to process the stress, but this Monday, do yourself a favor and put down the cheeseburger. Going meatless just once a week has been shown to decrease your risk for everything from heart disease and cancer, to stroke and diabetes. You will also wake up on Tuesday feeling inexplicably light, less bloated, and ready to begin that steep climb towards the Wednesday hump.

Going meatless does not mean you should punish yourself with a lifeless attempt at a salad. You can still reward yourself for not calling in sick on a Monday with this delicious meatless cheat: Portobello Quesadilla con Barbecue.

Mushrooms are an amazing faux meat and once you get some sauce and a little cheese in there, you'll be saying “Pork Who?” This American Backyard take on a meatless quesadilla is so worth the “sin-carne lunes” that I even convinced my burly 200lb husband to go meatless, a struggle worth the reward when he realized he'd lost 5lbs that week just by cutting out some animal protein.

The recipe for a guilt free Monday meal is below. Enjoy your meatless cheat and don't forget the veggie side below the ingredients list : Broccoli Coleslaw tossed with citrus juice and topped with avocado.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ Cup Prepared Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon tomato paste – Please don't feel pressured to go out and buy a whole can of this. I find that I can only use about 3 tablespoons for any one recipe and then the rest of the can is wasted. Ketchup is a total cheat, works just as good when needing a hint of tomato flavor and adds sweetness and tang to the sauce (if you are practicing for the Master Chef Competition, please disregard this tip and never tell Gordon Ramsey who suggested it.) If you don't even have ketchup, put it on the grocery list because you are going to have to head there in a second anyways.
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Cider Vinegar – Just about any WHITE vinegar will work for this recipe except Rice Vinegar. Stay far away from that one.
  • 1-2 Chipotle Chile in Adobo Sauce (minced) – This is an unusual ingredient worth picking up. These hot and savory jalapeños have been getting friendly with the Abodo Sauce since the moment they got canned, and this team can give any sauce a deep taste and authentic feel. Look for the tiny cans in the Hispanic food section. You wont regret the $2.50 splurge, and if you cover the can and stick it in your freezer they will keep for up to two weeks past the can opening date.
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic – You'll be glad you did.
  • 1 Teaspoon Canola Oil, divided
  • 3 Portobelo Mushroom Caps (Slice and diced. If you're a skilled knifesman you can make them resemble pulled pork on the final product)
  • ½ Medium White Onion (finely diced)
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Green Onion - I find that if you add green onion to anything it makes people go “Dang, someone knows their way around the kitchen”. Even if your stove is on fire.
  • 8” to 10” Tortillas – Feel free to use whole wheat or not. No judgment here. You are going to need to buy a whole pack anyways so use what you love.
  • 6 Tablespoons Monterey Jack Cheese – This is the suggested serving but, a girls got to eat, so I'll trust you to use your digression on the amount of cheese in each “'dilla”. You're already going meatless, I think you've done enough. If you are really gung-ho about taking all animal protein out of tonight's dinner you can always supplement avocado at the end instead of cheese.

SIDE DISH

“The Entrée' Aint As Good Without Something on the side”
-Recording Artist Fabolous

Broccoli Coleslaw tossed with citrus and topped with avocado.

  • 1 Bag Broccoli Coleslaw
  • 1 1/4 Red Pepper (sliced to match the broccoli's shredded consistency)
  • 1 Clementine
  • 1 Large Avocado
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • Salt to Taste
  • Dash of Vinegar

RECIPE:

1) Get Saucy! Combine your BBQ sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, chipotle and garlic in a medium bowl. Taste taste taste. No point in going any further if your base is “weak-sauce”.

2) Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium and throw in the mushrooms. Stir often and keep an eye on them. They will absorb the oil and cook quickly. Stir for 5 minutes and add the onions. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and the onion is almost translucent, which should not take more than a total of 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Don't forget the salt and pepper. Your filling should have its own taste. Transfer the cooked mushrooms and onions to the sauce bowl (which should be fragrant by now).

Wipe down your mushroom and onion pan (the less dishes the better, am I right) and get ready go Chipoltle on these dinner.

3)Heat the newly cleaned newly dried pan on medium. Take a tortilla and fold it in half lightly so that the crease will maneuver easily when you fold the tortilla in the pan. When the pan feels warm lay down your first tortilla. Spread the cheese out evenly on half of the tortilla, then cover your cheese layer with your barbecue filling. Then add a few scoops of black beans and the green onion. Keep in mind as you layer that this is a quesadilla, not a burrito, so no need to use all of your fillers on the first one.

WARNING FOR ANYONE FEELING LAZY: Do not try to make these in your panini press or the George Foreman. You will be sorely disappointed when the quesadilla comes out a soggy mess. Do the right thing. Use the pan.

4) Add a sprinkle of cheese on top of the beans and green onions. Fold the naked layer into the cheese and press down lightly with your spatula. Let the first side crisp and flip over once about 2 minutes in. Each side will be golden brown and your quesadilla will be done in 4 minutes total. First one done. Cut the quesadilla into wedges and get ready to plate.

5) Open the bag of broccoli coleslaw and pour it into a mixing bowl. Someone has already done the hard work of growing, picking, cleaning and shredding the broccoli and cabbage, so enjoy the simple luxury of this last step to dinner. Throw in the red pepper to give the side dish a little color. Juice your clementine over the vegetables.

6) Open the avocado, discard its bowling ball of a seed, and scoop its green deliciousness into a bowl. Smash up the avocado to a guacamole texture, add the olive oil, vinegar and salt to taste.

7)Take a handful of the broccoli slaw and put it on the plate. Add your avocado to the top and let the quesadilla wedges buttress on the greens like a ship traversing the waves, and serve.