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Cooking with Kids: Black Bean, Avocado and Red Pepper Quesadillas

Things don’t always go the way we want them to. Sure, wouldn’t we all just love everything to go exactly as we plan right down to the nitty gritty details? But then, that would make life predictable … and that’s not good either. So, maybe having things go unpredictably is a good thing after all.

I digress. Originally, I planned to make a delicious peanut butter-banana parfait with my 4-year-old son Will this morning. But he woke up feeling ill, and that last banana had accidentally gotten eaten yesterday. My plans will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, we needed to cook something and I needed something to write about.

So, I did what any good kitchen dweller would do: I scanned the fridge. Cheese. Whole wheat tortillas. The idea came together so effortlessly and with delicious results. (See, unpredictability is a good thing!)

This isn’t the most kid-centric cooking with kids post you’ll see around here. But that’s okay. It’s not always about them getting elbow deep into cooking. Sometimes, you can get them involved by adding just a little more process to the process. For instance, while my kids cannot actually make quesadillas on a hot stove (toddler+preschooler+hot stove=no go), they can help me as I chop all the ingredients by transferring everything from cutting board to bowls. Sure, it adds an extra step that isn’t necessarily critical to the cooking, but it also gives them a sense of ownership in the outcome.

This particular quesadilla combination is our collective favorite. Sharp cheddar is melted with meaty black beans, sweet bits of red pepper and creamy avocado pieces. Served warm and toasty, my kids like theirs with some mild salsa. Me? It’s got to be knock-your-socks-off hot.

The result is, as Will says, “Oh my goshes,” good.

Black Bean, Avocado and Red Pepper Quesadillas for Two

Black Bean, Avocado and Red Pepper Quesadillas for Two

Yield: 2 servings

Kid Step: When you are prepping your ingredients (bell peppers, avocado, etc), chop them on a cutting board and then ask your child to transfer them to small bowls. They can also drain and rinse the black beans in a mesh strainer.


  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup black beans, , drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp finely diced sweet red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced avocado
  • OPTIONAL: salsa


  1. Spray a large pan with cooking oil. Place one tortilla in the pan. Top with half of the cheese, followed by the black beans, peppers and avocados. Top with the other half of the cheese. Cover with the second tortilla. Spray lightly with additional cooking oil spray.
  2. Cook, flipping once, until the cheese is melted. But be patient. The quesadilla should remain on the first side long enough for the cheese to melt so that you avoid spillage when flipping.
  3. Alternatively, divide the ingredients between two tortillas, flipping over to form a pocket while cooking.
  4. Use a pizza cutter to cut into wedges. Serve with salsa, if desired.


Tuesday 16th of February 2010

yum yum, this looks delicious.

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