Swiss Chard Quesadillas (vegan, low-fat, gluten-free*)

What the heck is that plant? Is it beets? Is it spinach? No! It’s chard, or Swiss chard to which its often referred.  This leafy green is one of the healthiest plants you can eat. It comes in green and white, green with yellow stalks, or the type I grow, green with beautiful red stalks. Foods belonging to the chenopod family—including beets, chard, spinach, and quinoa—continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families.  Containing powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients beneficial for all aspects of health, this amazing vegetable is an important component to the diet.  And, it tastes great!

Swiss chard and kale growing beautifully in my Tower Garden!

I never knew what the heck to do with chard before I started growing my own.  I grow it in my amazing aeroponic Tower Garden, which I absolutely love.  I never had success with growing my own food before.  The feeling of going out back to grab some homegrown chard, a few cucumbers, some kale and lettuce, or some strawberries, is like none other!  I had read that chard was easy to grow so I bought the seedlings and in no time, I had these gorgeous, huge, green and red leaves ready to be eaten.  The young, smaller leaves are good raw, but the mature leaves are too “green” tasting and bitter for me.  I much prefer them cooked.  The way I prepared them yesterday is my favorite so far.  Up until then I had just steamed them, and eaten with a little sea salt and lemon juice, or added to pasta with marinara sauce.  I’ve enjoyed all preparations, but this one is the winner so far.

*gluten-free if you use gluten-free (i.e. brown rice) tortillas.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas (vegan, gluten-free*,soy-free, low-fat)

Doesn’t get much easier than this.

When I bake sweet potatoes, I usually do 1 or 2 extra for leftovers.  They are a quick, easy snack and great for dishes like this.

You can use whatever type of tortillas you like, but I really enjoy the brown rice tortillas.  I don’t need to eat a gluten-free diet but for the sake of variety and not wanting to overdo it on wheat, whenever I can I opt for the alternative, as long as it’s a healthy one.  Many gluten-free alternatives are filled with fat and have little to no fiber.  These brown rice tortillas I get from Trader Joe’s are really nice.

I made this for lunch one day and it took all of 10 minutes.  I couldn’t believe how good it was.  My girlfriend Lori, who likes to be difficult :), says I shouldn’t call these quesadillas because there is no cheese.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  We can eat pizza without cheese and it’s still called pizza, omelets without cheese and it’s still an omelet (though I don’t eat those anymore), cheese-less burritos….you get my point.  So, sorry Lori but these are being called Quesadillas and that’s that!

*gluten-free if you use gluten-free tortillas (i.e. brown rice).