You can whip up a quick Southwestern dinner without all the fat found in tacos and burritos by making quesadillas. Though quesadillas usually are served as an appetizer, these are large and filling enough for supper.

This recipe uses flour tortillas filled with a savory bean mixture, melted Monterey Jack cheese and ham. Once prepared, they only take 2 minutes to cook under a broiler.

Jicama is a root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. Served raw or cooked, it retains its crisp water-chestnut-like texture.

While in an open market in Mexico City, I tasted sliced jicama with a squeeze of lemon. It's a refreshing and tasty snack. If jicama is difficult to find, simply add a green salad to the meal.

This meal contains a total of 553 calories per serving with 24 percent of calories from fat.

Helpful Hints:

1) Minced garlic can be found in jars in the produce section of the market.

2) Cannellini or navy beans can be used instead of pinto beans.

3) Look for low-sodium canned beans and rinse them before using.

4) Make sure the pimiento are completely drained.


1) Prepare jicama, set aside.

2) Preheat broiler.

3) Prepare quesadillas.

Wine suggestion: An extra-rich quesadilla like this would be nicely matched by a rich, red petite sirah. Since you're doing Mexican, you might seek out a Mexican petite sirah.

Quick Quesadillas


1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons diced red onion

1/2 cup drained, sliced canned pimiento

1/2 cup rinsed and drained canned pinto beans

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 8-inch flour tortillas

1/2 cup diced low-fat ham

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese


Combine garlic, onion, pimiento and beans in a food processor and puree. (Or mash beans with fork, chop pimiento and mix together with garlic and onion.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 2 tortillas with bean mixture. Sprinkle ham and cheese on top.

Cover each prepared tortilla with one of the 2 remaining tortillas.

Place the tortillas on a foil-lined baking tray. Broil 5 inches from the heat for 1 minute. Remove from the broiler and turn quesadillas over with a spatula. Return to the broiler for 1 minute. Watch to make sure they don't burn. Cut each tortilla in half and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 500 calories (27 percent from fat), 14.9g fat (5.6g saturated, 5.9g monounsaturated), 25mg cholesterol, 22.1g protein, 69.6g carbohydrates, 7.1g fiber, 1,170mg sodium.

Jicama Sticks


1 small jicama (about 2 cups cut into sticks)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Peel jicama. Cut into 4 1/2-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/2-inch sticks. Toss with lemon juice. Divide between two dinner plates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and chopped cilantro. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 53 calories (2 percent from fat), 0.1g fat, no cholesterol, 1.0g protein, 12.8g carbohydrates, 8.5g fiber, 6mg sodium.