This is one of those combinations that – on paper – doesn’t seem at all reasonable. Sauerkraut in a quesadilla? With pears?? In the mouth, however, it works with delicious synchronicity. There’s the smooth richness of the cheddar cheez (yet another riff on my Smoky Pesto Cashew Cheez – this time using pine nuts and roasted yellow bell pepper), the delicate sweetness of the roasted pear, the crunch of toasty pecans and the tang of sauerkraut. In short, it’s kind of addictive.
Unconventional, probably. Delicious? Yes. Vegan quesadillas stuffed with roasted pear, bell peppers, “cheddar, ” and tangy sauerkraut.
Roasted Pepper Chedda’ Cheez
- 1 yellow pepper, cored and deseeded
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp. white miso
- 1 Tbsp. tahini
- 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
- 1/4 non-dairy milk
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 ounce agar agar flakes
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3–4 whole wheat tortillas, warmed
- 1 large pear, sliced into 1/4” strips, lengthwise and the core and stem trimmed out
- 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained well
- Slices of chedda’ cheez (as much as you like)
- ~1/8 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Make the cheez
- You’ll need a dish with a 3+ cup capacity. No need to spray it with oil.
- Cut the pepper in half and place on a baking sheet. Smash the halves down – just to flatten them a bit. Broil them until the skin turns black and your house smells like a farmer’s market in Santa Fe. Place the peppers in a bag and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the bag and peel off the skin. Roughly chop and set aside.
- In a food processor, grind the pine nuts until fairly fine. They don’t need to be powdery – there will be one more step that will get them nice and smooth. Now add the roasted pepper and all of the remaining ingredients – except for the agar flakes and water. Process until fairly smooth. Now for the kind of pain-in-the-butt step: pour the mixture into a blender. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the agar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, but keep the mixture on simmer. Stir regularly. After five minutes, quickly pour the agar mixture into the blender with the roasted pepper mixture and process until very smooth. Quickly pour the cheez into the dish you set aside earlier. Place in the refrigerator to firm up.
Roast the pears
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pear slices on the parchment and roast for about 10-15 minutes. Pears should be soft and juicy, but not necessarily browned. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Assemble the quesadillas
- Place cheez slices, pear slices, a scoop of sauerkraut and a sprinkling of pecans on one half of a quesadilla. Gently fold it over; repeat with remaining tortillas. Lightly spray a pan with cooking oil and brown the quesadillas on low to medium heat. Turn over and brown the other side. Remove from pan, slice quesadillas in half and serve. (This cheez does melt, but you gotta be patient. Low and slow heat.)
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 478
- Sugar: 8
- Sodium: 642
- Fat: 22
- Saturated Fat: 3
- Unsaturated Fat: 16
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 62
- Protein: 16
- Cholesterol: 0