Tuesday, October 12

Lunch for Less: Black Bean Quesadilla

When I started diving in and eliminating unnecessary expenses from my budget one of the first items to go was lunch, as in the take out variety. In a typical work week I would eat out at least 3-4 times a week and spend about $45-50 dollars per week, that's almost $200 a month! At first it was challenging because I'm not a very good cook nor do I have the desire to become one. I relied on lunchmeat and PB&J, but that can only go so far.  That's when I began looking for alternatives that met this criteria:

1. Healthy
2. Cheap, like $10-$15 for the week cheap.
3. Easy to make.
4. Delicious, naturally.

With a serious emphasis on number three.

One day quite a while a go while perusing Women's Health I came across this recipe for Black Bean Quesadillas.

1 tsp jarred chopped garlic
1 c low-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 can (15 oz) no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans
1 can (15 oz) low-sodium diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 tbsp ground cumin ( I only use 1)
Fajita size flour tortillas ( I use wheat)

To cook, basically mix all the ingredients above with the exception of the cheese and tortillas together and let simmer on medium heat until all the liquid evaporates (I'd say 20-25 mins). I let the black bean mix cool and refrigerate. The morning of I heat a tortilla about (30 seconds). Scoop about 2tbsp of the black beans on, cover with cheese and fold the other over. Done.

Healthy? Yes, according to Women's Health the black bean quesadillas have about 330 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving. (Probably less if you make it last 5 days).

Cheap? You bet. The can of black beans and tomatoes cost around $1 each, the tortillas probably $1.50-$2 and cheese you can probably buy a bag of shredded for the most $2-$3.00. The investment comes with the spices with Cumin costing around $4-$5 a jar and the chopped garlic maybe $3. Total initial investment is still only around $14 and is even less the second time around.

Easy? Hell yes. Just our the ingredients directly into the pan, stir, and stir again every few minutes.

Delicious? Absolutely. I like a little kick to my food and cumin adds just that.

Add in a couple pieces of fruit, yogurt, and maybe some baby carrots and you can have delicious, nutritious, and budget friendly lunch for the whole week.


  1. I love quesadillas! They are one of the most inexpensive, filling, satisfying, and healthy meals you can make.

    At the beginning of my unemployment, I made these for lunch and dinner (I love mexican food too). You can really chock these full of vegetables too and get such a healthy bang out of them. I like adding frozen corn, bell peppers, and zucchini along with the black beans and cheese.

    If someone doesn't like cumin or doesn't have that, chili powder is a great substitute. It doesn't have heat to it, instead just adds a nice smokey flavor.

  2. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of leftover lunches. Since my husband and I just cook for ourselves we package any leftovers in take along containers immediately after the meal. It makes the morning quicker, too. A pan of lasagna or a batch of soup can be lunch for half the week.

  3. ooohhh i love mexican foods with black beans it and this looks delicious!

    thanks for sharing!
    The Flip Side of Oz


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