Eat the Rainbow on Cinco de Mayo with Purple Sweet Potato Quesadillas
It’s Cinco de Mayo, and time for us to eat some Mexican-inspired food, to celebrate the victory of the villagers of the City of Puebla over the French invaders. I’m using it as an excuse to eat the rainbow. This Purple Sweet Potato Quesadilla with Blood Orange Salsa has the purple, orange and red, with a dash of green for good measure.
Sometimes, we just need a simple guideline. The golden rule, the Boy Scout pledge, all the best mission statements are short and sweet. There are all kinds of voices out there, shouting about what you should eat. It can all be simple if you just strive to eat lots of colors every day. Eat the rainbow.
When you plan your plate, just pile on the color, and you’ll actually be getting a vast array of nutrients, without really thinking that hard about it. As long as you don’t go for the artificially colored junk food, you’ll be ok. In the spirit of rainbow dining, let me recommend this purple sweet potato color-fest.
I’ve been obsessed with the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato since it appeared a few years ago, and have written about it here.
Any time you find a super-saturated purple food, you know it’s loaded with antioxidants. Anthocyanin is a purple pigment, and very protective of your precious healthy system.
The sweet purple potatoes have a meaty, slightly mealy texture, and a rich, deep flavor. For these quesadillas, I kept it simple, just steaming the diced flesh and seasoning it with salt and cilantro, and slathering some garlicky aquafaba mayo on the tortilla to help glue it all together.
Blood oranges are also brightly colored, adding another antioxidant bonus. I know they will be out of season, soon, so I wanted to get one last blast of their tart, scarlet beauty.
This is the kind of dish that you can make easily on a weeknight. I like to prep mine ahead, by dicing and steaming the sweet potatoes and keeping them in the fridge. If I have extra, they are great tossed into a simple pasta, a soup, or a salad.
The only trick to it is to really lean on those quesadillas after you put them together on the cutting board, to mash the cubes of sweet potato a bit, and meld it all together.
As long as you’re thinking Cinco De Mayo, you might as well enjoy a rainbow-version of our Americanized quesadilla.
Goes great with Mexican beer or a Margarita!
Purple Sweet Potato Quesadillas with Blood Orange Salsa
Eat the rainbow! Stokes Purple sweet potatoes may not be available where you are, so use another sweet potato. I like Garnet Reds.
- 2 large navel oranges sectioned
- 2 large blood oranges sectioned
- 2 large jalapenos minced
- 2 slices red onions minced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cubed purple sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 4 large scallions chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons aquafaba mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
Make Salsa: Supreme the oranges, and cut the sections into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine in a medium bowl with the jalapenos, red onions, maple syrup and salt. Toss to mix.
Make Quesadillas: Steam the sweet potato cubes for about 5 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then toss with cilantro, scallions, and salt. Stir.
Mix the mayo with pressed garlic and reserve.
Lay out four tortillas and spread each with a tablespoon or so of the mayo. Cover with a cup of sweet potato dice, then cover with a tortilla. Repeat until all four are filled. Press down with your palms on each, to mash the potatoes a little to help the quesadillas stick together.
To cook, heat a large skillet over high heat for a minute, then place a quesadilla in the hot pan. Cook until lightly browned, about a minute, and then use a spatula to turn. Cook all the quesadillas, reducing the heat to medium as the pan gets really hot.
Cut the quesadillas in 6 wedges each, then serve with salsa.