Meatless Monday: Blueberry Breakfast Quesadillas

Blueberries for breakfast quesadillas
High levels of vitamins C and K, in addition to manganese, make blueberries nutritionally robust.

Quesadillas are usually high in calories, sodium and saturated fat (which raises your blood cholesterol level). But a few tweaks can transform them into versatile part of your healthy diet, like today's Blueberry Breakfast Quesadillas with Wild Blueberry Sauce.

Easy ways to lighten up the classic quesadilla and enhance its nutritional value include:

  • Use part-skim or low-fat cheese. Most of the saturated fat in quesadillas comes from the cheese filling. Portion about ¼ to ½ cup per quesadilla.
  • Bulk up on vegetables. Sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers, just to name a few, can make the quesadilla more nutrient-rich and colorful.
  • Select whole-wheat tortillas. The added fiber from whole grains can help you feel full, and as part of a healthy diet may improve cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease and stroke according to the American Heart Association.
  • Skip the butter. Lightly coat the pan or griddle with olive oil-based cooking spray for lower -calorie, non-stick preparation.

Today’s recipe is a creative spin on the classic quesadilla. Blueberry Breakfast Quesadillas with Wild Blueberry Sauce, courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), are packed with satisfying protein and fiber. Enjoy it anytime.

Blueberries are one of our highest-antioxidant fruits, says the AICR. This is largely due to their many phytochemicals including anthocyanins, which gives them their color. Blueberries are also an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients like carbohydrates and protein, says the US National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine. They are also a good source of dietary fiber.

Another unique ingredient in this quesadilla recipe is ricotta cheese. Not only is ricotta cheese a good source of protein and calcium, it is also a good lower-sodium alternative to cottage cheese. According to the USDA, ¼ cup of part-skim ricotta cheese contains 62mg sodium, whereas the same amount of 2% cottage cheese contains 174mg.

Blueberry Breakfast Quesadillas with Wild Blueberry Sauce

Per Serving: 400 calories, 9 grams of total fat (5 grams saturated fat), 420 mg sodium.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • One 10-ounce bag, frozen blueberries (preferably wild)
  • ½ Fuji apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs., blueberry fruit spread
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas (8-inch size)
  • 1 cup (2 oz.) shredded part-skim milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) part-skim milk ricotta cheese
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of dried blueberries

Directions, Wild Blueberry Sauce:

  1. In medium saucepan, combine frozen berries, apple, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Cover, bring to boil over medium-high heat
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft, 10 minutes.
  4. Set aside. Makes 2 cups.

Directions, Breakfast Quesadillas:

  1. On a work surface, spread 1 tablespoon of blueberry spread to cover each tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border all around.
  2. In a bowl, combine mozzarella and ricotta cheeses with zest.
  3. Spread 1/2 cup of cheese mixture over half of each tortilla.
  4. Sprinkle dried blueberries over mixture, then fold the tortilla over to enclose the filling.
  5. Mist olive oil-based cooking spray onto a nonstick pancake griddle or large grill pan.
  6. Heat the griddle or pan on the stove at medium-high setting.
  7. Add quesadilla to the griddle or pan. Cook for about three minutes, until crisp and lightly browned on the bottom. Turn over to crisp/brown the other side for two or three minutes.
  8. To serve, place each quesadilla on a four plate and top with 1/4 cup of warm sauce.
  9. Leftover sauce keeps for five days when covered in the refrigerator.
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