Stocked up on sweet potatoes during the coronavirus outbreak? Then it’s time to put those to good use with this delicious Sweet Potato & Kale Quesadilla, made with salty Parmesan cheese.
This is the perfect meal to make from pantry staples because it has just 4 ingredients that all have a long shelf life– sweet potatoes, kale, parmesan cheese and whole wheat tortillas. Plus, they are easy to assemble and cook in batches, and the combo of sweet and salty is absolutely delicious.
Plus, this healthier version of comfort food combines starchy potatoes and salty cheese for a fulfilling meal. Before diving into the recipe, let’s chat a little bit about potatoes.
Are sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes?
Potatoes, in general, get an unwarranted bad reputation. Yes, they are starchy vegetables, but that starchiness can provide great fuel for exercise and plenty of nutrients. Let’s look at some potato nutrition facts:
A sweet potato has about:
- 100 calories
- 24 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 2 grams of protein
- 400% of your daily Vitamin A
A white potato has about:
- 170 calories
- 37 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 5 grams or ptein
- 26% daily value of potassium
- Resistant starch, a fiber that helps keep you full
Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index scale, which means that they won’t spike your blood sugar and may keep you fuller for longer than white potatoes. Both types of potatoes have nutrients that are important for health.
For instance, sweet potatoes have Vitamin A that keeps eyes healthy. Potassium in regular potatoes helps regulate blood pressure and is a necessary electrolyte that maintains bodily fluid levels.
Neither potato is “healthier” than the other. It’s a matter of personal preference. For this recipe, I like sweet potatoes because they offset the bitterness of the kale and the saltiness of the Parmesan. And both types of potatoes are one of the healthy carbs I recommend for athletes.
Can you eat sweet potato skins?
Yes, and I encourage you to do so. The skin of the sweet potato is where you’ll find most of the fiber. But there’s a few things you need to know.
First, wash your hands and then make sure you clean your sweet potato under cold running water with a scrub brush to get off any residual dirt. Sweet potatoes are root veggies, meaning they grow under the ground, so they need extra care when it comes to cleaning.
The skin is easy to cut through, so there’s no need to peel it before cutting. Sweet potato skins taste best when roasted in the oven. If you make a whole roasted baked sweet potato, the skin will get crispy. If you cut up your sweet potato into cubes and roast with a bit of oil, you won’t even taste the skin.
If you microwave your sweet potato, the skin might be a little bit chewy and probably won’t taste great. You can still eat it, but it’s not as palatable.
How to roast sweet potatoes
This recipe calls for cutting the sweet potato into bite sized cubes (with skin on) and roasting in the oven with some olive oil and salt. Sweet potatoes take about 30 minutes to roast.
The smaller the pieces, the quicker they cook. If you chop them into large chunks, they may take longer to cook through.
You’ll know your sweet potato is fully cooked when you stick a fork in it and feel that it’s soft in the middle. In other words, the fork should easily glide through the piece of sweet potato.
How to make sweet potato quesadillas
This recipe requires a little bit of prep work, but it’s tasty, filling and simple to make for the entire family.
First, you need to roast the sweet potatoes. While the potatoes are cooking, sauté up the kale with a little bit of garlic and oil.
Once you have cooked the potatoes and kale, compile the quesadillas. In a whole wheat tortilla, layer parmesan cheese, sweet potatoes and kale. I used slices of parmesan cheese off a block, but feel free to use grated or shredded parmesan as well.
Then grill up the quesadilla. If you have a quesadilla maker, that’s great. If not, a panini press works as well. And if you don’t have either, heat a skillet over medium high heat and put the folded quesadilla in the pan (you don’t need to oil the pan). Leave it in the pan until the tortilla begins to brown and then flip over and repeat.
Can you meal prep Sweet Potato Quesadillas?
I encourage you to make a big batch of these ahead of time and then microwave them when you are ready to eat. Better yet, cook them all the way through and stick some in the freezer. Then just microwave for 2-3 minutes when you’re ready to eat.
There are 4 main components in this recipe– the sweet potatoes, kale, parmesan cheese and whole wheat tortilla. All are totally customizable. Here are some swaps for other ingredients you may have on hand:
- Instead of sweet potatoes, use butternut squash
- Instead of kale, use any dark leafy green, like Swiss chard, spinach, or collard greens
- Use any type of parmesan cheese– slices from a block, shredded or grated
- If you don’t have parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar, jack cheese, mozzarella or monterey cheese will taste great
- Feel free to use any type of tortilla you have!
Sweet Potato & Kale Quesadilla
A simple 4-ingredient vegetarian quesadilla recipe with sweet potatoes, kale and pamesan
- 2 large sweet potatoes chopped into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt divided
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine sweet potato pieces, 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir until the potatoes are evenly coated. Lay the sweet potatoes out flat on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add kale and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until kale is wilted.
When potatoes and kale are cooked, assemble quesadillas. Lay the whole wheat tortilla flat, then top with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 of the potatoes and 1/4 of the kale. Fold the tortilla over and place it in a quesadilla maker or panini press. If you don’t have either, put the folded tortilla in a hot sauté pan (no oil is required) and cook until it’s golden brown on one side (about 3 minutes). Flip and repeat.