Legacy of Passion

Broccoli Rabe and Black Bean Quesadillas

Broccoli Rabe Quesadillas

These hearty quesadillas are stuffed with garlicky, lime-marinated broccoli rabe and refried black beans, so they are lighter than most. If you have any extra marinated broccoli rabe and beans, they are great accompaniments, as are guacamole and salsa verde.

Special diet notes: This recipe is vegetarian as written, and can be made gluten free if you use gluten-free tortillas.

Recipe by Kate Taylor 

Kate is the author of the vegetarian food blog Cookie and Kate, which was a finalist for Saveur’s “Best Cooking Blog” in 2012. Her partner in crime is Cookie, a cheerful mutt who does his best to clean up after Kate in the kitchen. She published her first cookbook, Love Real Food, a book of fresh, wholesome, sustainable vegetarian favorites.

Serves: 2-4
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins


Marinated Broccoli Rabe

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1 lb)
  • small handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Refried Black Beans

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/3 cup water

Remaining ingredients

  • 4 small (8”) whole grain tortillas
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • olive oil, for brushing


1. First, prepare the marinated broccoli rabe: Pull the broccoli rabe leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Wash and spin dry the leaves. Tear any large leaves into small, bite-sized pieces, then transfer the leaves to a large serving bowl, along with the chopped cilantro.

2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Whisk until blended. Pour the dressing over the leaves and gently massage the dressing into the leaves until they are all lightly coated.


3. To cook the refried beans: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot is tender and turning translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, while stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the drained beans and water. Let the mixture come to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and mash the beans with a potato masher, pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is thick and spreadable.

4. To cook the quesadillas: Spread the bean mixture evenly over each tortilla. Warm a medium-to-large skillet over medium heat. Transfer one tortilla to the warmed skillet and sprinkle about 1/4 of the cheese over the bean mixture. Spread a handful of marinated broccoli rabe leaves over one-half of the tortilla, leaving any large buds in the bowl. Once the cheese is melting, fold the cheesy side over the broccoli rabe. Brush the top of the quesadilla lightly with oil. Once the cheese is fully melted, flip the quesadilla, and brush the top with oil. Let each side cook until golden and crisp, flipping as necessary. Transfer the cooked quesadilla to a plate, and repeat for remaining quesadillas.

5. Let the cooked quesadillas rest for a few minutes to set the cheese, then use a pizza cutter or sharp chef’s knife to slice each one into three wedges. Serve with any remaining marinated broccoli rabe or beans on the side, as well as salsa verde and/or guacamole for dipping.

Black_Bean_Quesadilla_Process_009Get the scoop on Broccoli Rabe: recipes, health benefits, & nutrition information. Learn more