Easy vegetarian quesadillas filled with a spicy black bean paste and refreshing tomato avocado salsa.

black bean and salsa quesadillas
Consider these the avocados that broke the camel’s back.


For a little over a year now, I’ve been flirting with the idea that I have an avocado allergy. It started, as most of these things do, sporadically, with a little cramping stomach pain here and there but now we’ve progressed to full-fledged nausea and hot flashes.

I might as well be pregnant and menopausal. Simultaneously.


To be honest, I would be happy to go on eating them (in the privacy of my own home) and then lying in bed for the rest of the afternoon in crippling pain. (Yes, my love for them is inordinately enduring.)

But The.Boy is really forcing my hand on this whole giving them up thing. Apparently he doesn’t like listening to me moan and groan and complain for hours on end. Weird.


So you can just consider these to be their swan song.

And what a delicious one it was.


To be honest, I was a little dubious when I saw that Ottolenghi had a recipe for quesadillas in Plenty. I mean…what does an Israeli-born chef know about good authentic Mexican fare?


Apparently, enough to get by because these quesadillas were damn good. Stuffed with a subtly spiced black bean paste and a fresh-flavored (and so EASY!) salsa, these are both tasty and refreshing, not to mention super quick to throw together, making them the perfect weeknight meal.

If not for my avocado intolerance, I’d be making them over and over for weeks for to come. As it is, I might just push back the elimination for a week or so…just so I can have a chance to get these in my life one more time.

These are my submission to this week’s I Heart Cooking Club!


One year ago…Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Two years ago…Pineapple Ginger Granola Bars, White Gazpacho, Whole Grain Popovers

Three years ago…Turkey Burgers Filled with Brie and Granny Smith Apples on Homemade Pretzel Rolls

Four years ago…Shredded Piquant Pork and Red Bean Paste Noodles

Black Bean and Salsa Quesadillas
Easy vegetarian quesadillas filled with a spicy black bean paste and refreshing tomato avocado salsa.
Yield: Serves 4
Black Bean Paste
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stalks, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 5 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 red fresno chile, finely diced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 ripe medium avocados, diced
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 4½ oz sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • pickled jalapenos, to taste
  1. To make the black bean taste, put the beans, coriander, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, lime and salt in a food processor. Pulse until a rough paste has formed, adding a tbsp or so of water, as necessary to keep it running smoothly.
  2. For the salsa, toss the red onion slices with the vinegar and let soak for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, chile pepper, cilantro, salt, and avocados. Stir well.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Spread one of the tortillas with 2 tbsp of the bean paste, leaving ¾ inch clear around the edge. Spread salsa, cheddar, and jalapenos over the bean paste. Top with a second tortilla.
  5. To cook, toast the quesadillas on the nonstick skillet for a minute or so, until browned on one side. Flip and cook for another minute. Serve with remaining salsa.
Adapted from Plenty
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 quesadilla


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70 Responses to Black Bean and Salsa Quesadillas

  1. Tracey says:

    Awww, what a bummer to find out you’re allergic to one of your favorites. But this looks like a very good note to go out on – these quesadillas sound amazing!!

  2. Avocado allergy?! Waaaahhhhh. That is SO weird. Luckily you have a ton of recipes on here already for the avocado freak in all of us. At least you know what the weird cramping is. Being pregnant and menopausal is sooo not hot.

  3. Chewthefat says:

    Wow, really interesting about the avocado intolerance/allergy! I’ve actually never heard of that before. All joking aside, it is good that you are giving it up–I have heard that if you are allergic to something and keep eating it in large quantities, your reactions may grow progressively intense over time. Have you considered getting a prick test to confirm you are allergic?

  4. Wow, these look so good. I love the big peices of onion in there, yum. I’m so sorry for the loss of avocados in your life. I’ll eat extra for you

  5. We haven’t really figured out what local Texan produce encompasses…. but we know we can get cheap avocados here… BOOYAH!! Score 1 for Texas. 🙂 I like how simple these are 🙂

  6. Megan says:

    An avocado intolerance would make me so sad. I’m so sorry! This sounds like an amazing last way to eat them. Maybe it’s something that will go away with time?

  7. Jenna says:

    We do a LOT of black bean meals in this house, but not in this way. I think we’re going to try it soon.

    Thank you!

  8. Emma says:

    An avocado allergy is like my worst nightmare! I just wish avocados were grown in the UK 🙁 I’m surprised this dish comes from Ottolenghi too- I love his style of food but definitely don’t see him doing Mexican much! I love Mex food though so I’m not complaining. These look mighty tasty.

  9. How awful about your avocado issue – that’s no fun! I’m sorry. 🙁
    But on a positive note, these little quesadillas look amazing!

  10. Johanna GGG says:

    oh my that is terrible – though I am sure you could run an interesting line in avocado-free guacamole – but I do love that creamy green orb even if I don’t buy them enough! The quesadilla looks great – am sure it would work without avocado too because that paste looks really interesting

  11. i really really hope you have no avocado intolerance/allergies and its something else..I never thought of bean pasta- anything Mexican is my favorite and its great for meatless Monday. 🙂

  12. Jeanette says:

    So sorry to hear about your avocado intolerance. So strange, all these food intolerances that are cropping up in adults. Wonder if food combining or food rotation works. Meanwhile…I know my kids would love your quesadillas!

  13. Seriously? I couldn’t live without avocados or chocolate.
    Is chocolate in the clear?

  14. Oops….avocado intolerance…that’s bad, really bad. Can’t imagine my life without avocados…
    I would eat the black bean paste with a spoon..

  15. Ashley says:

    Oh no! I will take a moment of silence for the loss of your beloved avocado eating ways. That’s sad 🙁 But luckily there are LOTS of other delicious things for you to devour happily! And the rest of us can enjoy these beautiful quesadillas. Yummy!

  16. So sad that you can’t eat avocados! 🙁 I can see how the aches and pains are worth it. At least you went out with a bang with this recipe… it sounds delicious! Always a winner when it’s from Plenty.

  17. Oh no allergic to avocados! That’s horrible. I thought i was too, but some how it passed. Love your simplequesadilla! I love these kind of meals. Yum!

  18. Pamela Reed says:

    That would stink about your allergy, wishing you good thoughts! Actually strange time because my husband is going to the doctors today because he thinks he is forming a cat allergy.. and we have cats.. so he better find someplace else to live! 🙂

    Anyways, this recipe is great. Black beans + salsa = always A+ in my books!

  19. Jessie says:

    Oh man, that’s a bummer 🙁 Sorry to hear avocados make you ill. More black bean paste to make up, because dang that spicy bean paste looks good. I’d eat it with anything.

    The moaning and groaning thing reminds me of how I get nauseous if I don’t eat after exercising, so if Peter’s home, he’ll bring me something to eat so that I’m not “lying in bed and groaning” all evening. What a super hubs.

  20. Wow, I’ve never heard of an avocado allergy! I’m sorry…I’m allergic to mangoes and it makes me so so sad, so I sympathize with you. Love the idea of making a black bean paste, and I’m always looking for new meatless meals, so thanks!!

  21. sandra says:

    How sad. So sorry to hear about your affliction. But like Johanna GGG says, you will probably devise an amazing guacamole without them – you’re that good.

  22. Lynn says:

    Oh my – that allergy would be the worst! Sorry that has happened to you. This recipe looks divine though.

  23. gloria says:

    Joanne I love all you put in quesadillas and I love add avocados too!!

  24. gloria says:

    and Im really sorry you have an allergy to avocados OHM!

  25. Kim Tracy says:

    I have been craving all kinds of salsa lately. It’s like I’m obsessed with that bright fresh flavor they add to everything. These look incredible! I’m definitely gonna have to make them. Sorry to hear about the avocado allergy.

  26. cquek says:

    allergy to avocados 🙁

  27. Amy says:

    Oh Joanne. NO. Not another victim… you know I’m allergic, right? Same thing, stomach pain for hours. But I indulge anyway and suffer through it. Paul has given up lecturing me. But, of course, he also has no sympathy anymore, either.

  28. Eileen says:

    Oh man, an avocado allergy! You definitely have my sympathy there. 🙂 These quesadillas do look great, though! We do quesadillas like these for fallback dinner practically every week. SO good & easy.

  29. What a beautiful looking (and tasting I feel certain) creation! Love this!!

  30. MMm sounds and looks amazing! Love your photos too! beautiful!

  31. Ahh Joanne I feel your pain. I have known for way too long that I have a reaction to dairy but I just love it so much, it’s always been hard to give up.

  32. Abby says:

    you just knocked my idea of quesadillas out of the park lady! My limp little cheesy quick lunch fix needs this makeover pronto. Looks amazing!

  33. Mary says:

    These sound wonderful, Joanne. I’ve just put them on my must-try list. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  34. Kate says:

    You know these would go over like hotcakes in my home!

  35. An avocado allergy?! Boo! Looks like these quesadillas were a worthy way of saying goodbye.

  36. ashlee says:

    OMG this is awful! I literally was watching Iron Chef last night and told my husband I wanted to be the judge for an avocado battle, haha! These look delicious, good luck staying away from avocados, I’d fail 🙁

  37. I consider this a really fantastic swan song… I’m sad you have to give up avocado (frankly, I’d sit at home alone and groan as well) but what a way to go out! I’m adding these to my “Week as a Vegetarian” must-have list, for sure. 🙂

  38. Oh no, not avocados! Sorry to hear they cause you such trouble. Also, I’d forgotten that this recipe is in Plenty, so…thanks!

  39. That’s such a bummer about the avocados! I would totally still eat them, haha.

  40. LOVE how easy these are…and so yummy and healthy too!

  41. Juliana says:

    I just realized that I do not cook or make many things with black beans…now seeing your quesadilla with the black bean paste…like it spicy…yum!
    Thanks for the recipe and have a lovely week ahead Joanne 😀

  42. Holy nom. These look sca-rumptious, Joanne! Great weeknight meal recipe, and so easy, too!

  43. Suzie says:

    That’s too bad about you having an allergy to avocados 🙁 These sure do sound good!

  44. Beth says:

    As someone who can’t eat fresh tomatoes or (sob!) strawberries, I feel your pain.
    But what a way to go out!

  45. Oh my goodness I want to make these right now!!

  46. I literally just made a note to myself to include more beans in my meal planning, this looks like a great way to do it.

  47. debbie says:

    That is a shame that you are allergic to avocados – tough one….They are so good. I love the pics you posted. I have lots of hummus with avocado and tomato sandwiches but never thought of having them this way. Now I will have to try this too!

  48. Betty says:

    Awww…so sorry about the avocado thing. It’s aggravating when you’re allergic to something you love. These look so good, though, that I bet they’d be wonderful even without them. 🙂

  49. Aw, what a terrible thing to have a reaction to! Maybe you should try avocados one last time but eat an unripe one and it will turn you off them so much you won’t miss them anymore?
    Anyways these tacos look delicious – I love the bean paste idea so all the beans don’t fall out!

  50. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your allergy. I was reading another blog yesterday where the blogger ‘suddenly’ became allergic to mangoes – her most favourite fruit. And now you have to take avocados out of your diet! That’s such a shame when avocados are so wonderful xx

  51. ramblingtart says:

    Ohhh, I do understand a food swan song and I’m so sorry, luv. XO I hope that as you go off them for a while perhaps your body will balance and you’ll be able to eat them now and then. XO

  52. Tandy says:

    Sorry to hear about your avocado intolerance. That is so sad!

  53. Sues says:

    Allergic to avocados?!?! Nooooo! I hope that’s not really true… But if so, at least you had a sweet goodbye 🙂

  54. I don’t like avocados but I can imagine my dismay if I had to give up something I did like. I’m glad you got this dish in before you said good bye! I can also offer consolation that it is possible to still enjoy Mexican without avocado 🙂

  55. daphne says:

    MAN! that suxs to have an allergy to avocado!! While it is worth the pain- take care of yourself Joanne!! How about different variety of avocados?

  56. Tahnycooks says:

    You just made my dinner!!! I love black beans! That’s really bad and sad news to be allergic to avocados!!! Maybe you’ll grow out of it! 😉

  57. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear about the avocado allergy. With my own recent food discoveries, I can empathize with how sad it can be. I’ve no doubt you’ll continue to whip up amazing dishes, though, with or without those damn things!

  58. I could pretty much eat this all day every day. So refreshing and healthy!!

  59. Awwww… such a bummer about the avocado allergy! 🙁 I’ll have to eat extra for you then. This quesadilla recipe sounds fabulous. I normally need some sort of meat in my quesadillas but you have convinced to go without it. Delicious!

  60. Sorry about the avocado allergy – thats a tough one! But the black bean paste sounds wonderful.

  61. tigerfish says:

    I did not know you had avocado allergy, or incidences that you felt like it was avocado’s fault.

    Lovely avocado salsa you have there. This summer, the salsa I most often made with avocado is Avocado-Mango-Cilantro Salsa.

  62. Chris says:

    I could scarf down two or three of those! Allergic to avocado? How horrible!

  63. Courtney says:

    Boo for the avocado intolerance but yay for getting one last delicious meal with them. These quesadillas look gorgeous, and I will definitely be giving them a try soon.

  64. kitchen flavours says:

    This looks great! And have never tried black bean made this way before!
    I love avocados and so sorry to hear about your allergy to avocados!

  65. Shannon says:

    avocado allergy?? 🙁 that’s the worst thing i’ve heard all day.

  66. Susan says:

    Yikes! Avocado intolerance? That’s pretty sad, but what a swan song. Frankly, I think your photography on this post was enough to send most of us running for the ingredients … stellar pix!
    And I’m liking the new look of the site!

  67. I dropped broccoli (unless it’s pureed) because of the same thing–those little florets made me feel so awful–but it didn’t break my heart. I would be beyond bummed however if avocados did that to me and would probably still eat them. 😉

    I have had these quesadillas on my “to-make” list for Ottolenghi. Glad to hear how good they are.

  68. […] the only possible explanation for how I’ve managed to both swear off avocados and then dive right back into them, headfirst, within a span of nine […]

  69. Lauren says:

    Just made these and OMG SO GOOD.

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