Eating-on-an-Empty-Fridge Black Bean Quesadillas

Your stomach’s growling. The refrigerator defies your groans and refuses to magically stock itself. Fear not, hungry one: you only need a few simple ingredients to satiate yourself. Forage for some cheese (jalapeno jack or cheddar work best), a tortilla and a can of black beans. In no time, dinner is served.

Plus, as a bonus, you can dress this basic meal up with any other ingredients you find along the way. Tomatoes? Go for it. Peppers? Of course. Leftover chicken, shrimp or pork? Layer it on. Gummy bears? Uh, maybe not.

My basic variety includes a little taco sauce, which lends a practical use to those Taco Bell sauce packets lying in the junk drawer.


Kitchen gadgets needed: butter knife, teaspoon, pan, spatula

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (or any variety you have on hand)
  • 6 teaspoons shredded cheese, divided
  • 4 teaspoons black beans
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (or medium taco sauce)

Time commitment: 5-6 minutes


  1. Lightly coat the surface of the frying pan and one side of the tortilla with cooking spray. Place the tortilla in the frying pan with the sprayed side down.
  2. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of shredded cheese on one half of the tortilla, leaving a ¼-inch border around the edges. Layer on the beans and top with the remaining cheese.
  3. Drizzle taco sauce on the cheese if you’re using it. Fold the tortilla in half, sandwiching the beans and cheese.
  4. Turn the burner to medium-low heat. Cook until the cheese starts to melt and the underside of the tortilla is lightly browned, about one and a half minutes.
  5. Flip over the quesadilla. Cook for another minute, or until the cheese is fully melted. Let it cool a few minutes before slicing into three triangular pieces so the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

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