Vegetarians may not consume protein from animal products, but that doesn’t mean their intake of this important nutrient is compromised.

Black beans, with a whopping 42 grams per cup, are an excellent source of protein.  They also contain fiber, which supports heart health and keeps you feeling full, and antioxidants that fight inflammation. The versatile bean can be included in an array of dishes, including Mexican-inspired meals.

Take care when preparing Mexican cuisine because add-ons including sauces, cheese, and sour cream can quickly add unhealthy fat and excessive calories to an otherwise healthy dish. To maximize health benefits, limit the amount of cheese or sauce you use. For a tasty, modern twist on a classic original, try adding Portobello mushrooms to black beans.

Portobello and Black Bean Quesadillas


  • 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized Portobello caps, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-ounce jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salsa, optional
  • Cilantro, chopped, optional

Servings: 4

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  1. Heat oven to a low temperature and place tortillas inside in aluminum foil to warm while cooking the beans and mushrooms.
  2. Add a dash of olive oil to a pan and heat to medium-high. Add Portobello mushrooms, and cook about two minutes until they’re tender.
  3. Add vinaigrette, black beans, and pimiento to the pan. Stir continuously until the liquid evaporates, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Mash the black bean and mushroom mixture with a fork or potato masher.
  5. Spoon the bean mixture onto the tortillas, separating it evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top, and fold the tortillas in half.
  6. Add a touch more olive oil to the cooking pan.  Heat the quesadillas in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until the tortillas brown slightly and the cheese melts.
  7. Cut each quesadilla into 3 sections. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top, and serve with salsa, if desired.

Do you have a favorite healthy twist on a traditional Mexican recipe?

Adapted from

Image by Edsel Little via Flickr


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