May 17th, 2017

Dr. Hilary’s Spinach, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

By Hilary Garbon, MD, FAAP, IBCLC,

Pediatric Alliance — Northland



Growing up in South Florida, Latin American influences were abundant. From the music to the delicious cuisine, these influences shaped many of my current hobbies. Cooking is one of my passions and my weekly meal plans regularly include cumin and chili powder. Quesadillas make a quick weeknight dinner and can be an easy way to spice up (pun intended) leftover meat or veggies. There are no rules, so don’t be afraid to try different meat/veggie combos. Leftover pulled pork? How about pork quesadillas! Cauliflower and chick peas? Why not! This combo also makes for delicious tacos. Below is a recipe for my favorite quesadilla combination — spinach, black beans, and corn. Buen apetito!




1 bag (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
2-3 green onions, chopped (white and light green parts)
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups Mexican shredded cheese
8 flour tortillas, medium size


> Sauté spinach over medium heat in small amount of olive oil until wilted. Set aside.


> In a medium sized bowl mix spinach, black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro and cumin.



> Place a tortilla on a large plate. Add a layer of cheese to half of it. Then spoon spinach/bean/corn filling over top and add another light layer of cheese. Fold tortilla in half. Set aside and repeat process with remaining tortillas, cheese and filling.






> Over medium heat, spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and add 1 or 2 quesadillas to the pan. Cook for 2-4 minutes until first side is golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove quesadillas and cut in half. Continue to cook remaining quesadillas. You may need to turn down the heat or cook for less time the more quesadillas you cook.


> Serve with cilantro lime rice, Mexican corn, chips and guacamole, or your favorite side dish. They are also great on their own!



The filling can easily be made ahead of time (during school or nap time) and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Leftover filling makes a great lunch. Serve over brown rice or make a wrap and roll up in a tortilla with some lettuce and avocado. It also makes a great filling for enchiladas. Roll the filling in tortillas and top with red enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Let your kids help assemble the quesadillas. Forget about the mess.

Serve quesadillas family-style. Place all quesadillas on a plate in the center of the table and have your kids make their own plate. This helps them develop independence and responsibility. It also helps them learn to respond to their own hunger and fullness cues.

Without fail, kids will start asking for snacks the second you start cooking dinner. Cut up a few raw veggies and let them eat those as an “appetizer”. Carrots, cucumbers and grape tomatoes are favorites in my house. Bonus points for arranging them in a cute pattern on a plate. My son once asked for a “veggie flatbed truck” and I was happy to oblige. I’ve also been known to throw a bag of baby carrots in the direction of my kids while Paw Patrol is on TV.



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    Ned Ketyer, M.D.

    Ned Ketyer, M.D.

    Dr. Ketyer has special interests in developmental pediatrics and preventative medicine, specifically how nutrition and the environment affect health. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. He completed his residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

    As one of the founding physicians of Pediatric Alliance, PC, Dr. Ketyer served as its president from 1997-2004. He has been practicing general pediatrics at Pediatric Alliance since 1990. Dr. Ketyer and his wife have three boys and live in Pittsburgh's South Hills. 

  • Note: The information included in these posts is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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