Cinco de Mayo: Bean, Spinach & Corn Quesadillas

4 May

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and I’d like to share an amazing quesadilla recipe that you can easily make at home instead of trying to fight the crowds to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  When I started to write this blog post, I began to wonder why Cinco de Mayo is such a big day of celebration in the United States.  On this day, like many other Americans I over indulge on chips, salsa, guacamole, and lots of beer, but I’ve never really known the history behind it.

I did a little research from the trusty ol’ website Wikipedia and found out that “Cinco de Mayo…commemorates the Mexican army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States.”

It seemed odd to me that Americans observe Cinco de Mayo, but as I read on I found out that the celebration started in the U.S. by sympathetic Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the Civil War who understood the importance of democracy and freedom.  Even so, how did this day in history become a prevalent day of celebration across the whole nation?  The United Press International explains that “The holiday crossed over into the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but didn’t gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day and began to promote it.

Ah-ha, that all makes sense now.  The large corporations and commercial giants started all the hoop-la and that’s why this day is nationally recognized in the United States and not in Mexico.  I did find it fascinating that the United States is not the only region that celebrates Cinco de Mayo and that its popularity has grown to other areas of the world.  Wikipedia explains that:

Events tied to Cinco de Mayo also occur outside Mexico and the United States. For example, a sky-diving club near Vancouver, Canada, holds a Cinco de Mayo skydiving event. In the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, there is an annual Cinco de Mayo air guitar competition. As far away as the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, revelers are encouraged to drink Mexican beer on May 5.

After reading the history of Cinco de Mayo, I was skeptical of where the quesadilla originated from.  I thought there was a good chance it did not come from Mexico at all, and that it was another marketing ploy by the American food industry.  Wikipedia set me straight and told me that it did, in fact, originate in Mexico.  Of course we’ve Americanized the quesadilla and most Americans are not cooking the original recipe, but it’s still delicious none-the-less.

This dish is great accompanied with a side of rice and beans, guacamole and salsa.  Wash it down with Pacifico beer and you are all set!

Bean, Spinach & Corn Quesadillas

From the cookbook: Woman’s Day Wednesday Night is Vegetarian

Oven     –     Serves 8     –     Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 6 fajita-size flour tortillas (I used jalapeno and cilantro flavored tortilla shells)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed (I used the whole can)
  • 1/2 can chipolte pepper in adobe sauce, minced
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (I used 1 cup of fresh spinach)
  • 1 cup canned, frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (I used soy cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled tomato salsa
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream (I used Tofutti sour cream)


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Lay tortillas in a single layer on work surface.  Mash beans with chipolte pepper.  Spread on half of each tortilla.  Top beans with spinach, corn and cheese.  Fold tortillas in half, pressing top half firmly on filling.
  3. Bake 10 minutes or until golden on bottom.  Flip over, bake 5 minutes more until crisp.  Cut each in 4 wedges.  Serve topped with salsa and sour cream.

Per serving: 224 cal, 12 g pro, 32 g car, 3 g fiber, 5 g fat (2 g sat fat), 13 mg chol, 719 mg sod

Vege-meter: 9



One Response to “Cinco de Mayo: Bean, Spinach & Corn Quesadillas”

  1. Joan Leyton May 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Looks fabulous, my mouth is drooling…

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