Gluten-Free Quesadillas + Blood Orange Cilantro Mocktails
So we're nearly half-way through #marchwellness! I hope you're having fun trying new, healthy recipes, and that you're feeling better than ever. I've loved receiving emails, texts, Facebook messages, and Instagram pictures from friends and family who are joining in – even my parents bought a juicer and have been making green drinks every day! Also, thank you all for the sweet birthday messages yesterday. Brandon wrote a surprise birthday post on the blog yesterday that left me in tears. Between his beautiful words and all the encouraging notes from many of you, it's been a great week.
Needless to say, we've had a few cheat days surrounding my birthday (you've got to take time to celebrate!), but I've noticed how much worse I feel now after eating sugar, alcohol, and gluten. But rather than cutting out certain foods forever, I'm taking on the challenge of creating healthier versions of some of my favorite not-so-healthy dishes.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures is Mexican food. I love whipping up quesadillas for a quick dinner, usually with some guacamole or salsa. And of course nothing goes better with that than a frozen margarita (or two...!) So in honor of #marchwellness I've re-created one of my favorite menus, without the gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol. (I know you're probably thinking, but what about the taste?!) Don't worry – this meal is packed with flavor, and is super easy to make. I'm frankly shocked that I'm loving a quesadilla with no cheese!
I've experimented with a variety of non-alcoholic fruit, citrus, and herb concoctions (like my favorite summery watermelon-grapefruit-mint cooler) in the past, but this week, I decided to try out a blood orange, lime, and cilantro variation. I threw some blood orange segments into the blender, along with lime juice, a handful of cilantro, and a handful of crushed ice. I blended away, and lo and behold – an amazingly refreshing, slightly tart mocktail that pairs perfectly with any sort of Mexican meal or appetizer. (P.S. I hate the word "mocktail." But basically this is a non-alcoholic cocktail, so I caved and called it that dreaded word. Forgive me.)
For the quesadillas, I used a new-found ingredient that has quickly become a staple in our house: brown rice tortillas. Gluten-free and surprisingly delicious, they get nice and crispy when brushed with olive oil and heated in a pan. Rather than using cheese (which is typically the main ingredient in quesadillas), I made an easy black bean puree and layered it with shredded chicken, avocado slices, and cilantro. The black beans and avocado are both creamy enough to hold the quesadillas together, without the heaviness of the cheese. (Though if you really wanted to add a sprinkling of cheese to the mix, it wouldn't be the end of the world!)
I'd serve this with a little salad of whatever's on hand: baby kale or arugula, perhaps with some shaved red onions, blood orange segments or more avocado slices, and a splash of white Balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. This makes a nice, healthy weeknight meal, and any leftovers can be wrapped up and taken to work the next day.[recipe:best-blood-orange-cilantro-mocktail-recipe][recipe:best-gluten-free-quesadillas-black-beans-chicken-avocado-recipe]