Budget Friendly Meal: Butternut Squash Quesadillas with Salsa and Green Rice

If you've ever had a veggie quesadilla without cheese, you'll see the value in this recipe right away. With nothing to hold it together, everything just falls out. I've asked the waiter to ask the chef to add the bean dip to the quesadilla for this reason. Did he do it...Nope! You would think that someone preparing a quesadilla without cheese would look for something to hold everything together. Well this recipe is the answer that everyone needs to share with their local Mexican restaurant, Butternut Squash Quesadillas.

With a little spice and paired with green rice, you won't miss the cheese at all!

Servings: 4 Cost per Serving:  $2.53 (includes salsa)

Butternut Squash Quesadilla Filling

Source (adapted): The Healthy Vegans

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place squash on a baking sheet lined with foil, parchment paper or a silpat.
  3. Pour the canola oil over the squash and rub it all over the squash to make sure it's all covered.
  4. Spread the squash in a single layer and roast it for 45 minutes, mixing it halfway through.
  5. Put squash in a bowl, add the spices and liquid smoke and mash until combined.


Green Rice

The rice in this recipe is prepared using Saveur's Perfect Brown Rice technique.

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 of a 6oz bag of spinach
1 bunch cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Once the water is ready, rinse the rice in a strainer under cold water for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the rice in the water, stir it once and let it boil, uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. While the rice is cooking, add the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend to combine.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  6. After 30 minutes, drain the rice for 10 seconds.
  7. Return the rice to the pot, put a lid on it and let the rice steam for 10 minutes.
  8. Mix the rice with the spinach mixture and enjoy!