Butternut Squash Quesadillas w/ Caramelized Onions- Guest Post by Sarah Ahn

November 3, 2014

Vegan Resources

By: Jasmine Briones 

Hi my name is Sarah Ahn and am the girl behind Ahnestveggie blog! I’m here to use my creativity and love for food to showcase how amazing and beautiful living a plant-based, vegan diet can be. Being vegan doesn’t have to be either boring or flavorless.

Sarah Ahn / Butternut Squash Quesadillas + Caramelized OnionsAs a Korean-American, I grew up eating meat (Korean BBQ for days) and all sorts of seafood, seasoning, and dairy. Back in 2008 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (inflammatory disease in my colon) where I lost over 20 lbs. I had excruciating burning pains in my stomach/intestine and food did not digest and went straight through my system. Although stress was the main trigger for this sickness, my diet affected it as well. Per doctor’s orders, I had to cut most spicy foods, greasy fried foods, processed foods and eat more raw fruits and green vegetables. This was extremely difficult as my diet consisted of diet coke, fast foods, alcohol, eggs, cheese, pork, steak, etc.

After a few months, my symptoms seemed to have worsened and I was hospitalized for a blood transfusion and left myself, friends and family in shock and fear. I knew I had to do something quick about my health. It was not until 2012 that I started to really focus on what I was putting into my body. I started cooking more, was aware of what ingredients were going into my food, focused incorporating vegetables and cutting red meat out of my diet. I decided then to try a full vegetarian diet to help cope with the pain and it seemed to have worked. I was a vegetarian for about 2 years since then.

It was not until I had my first almond milk carton purchase one day in 2011 that I got hooked. There was something a bit more special about the taste in almond milk than it had in regular cow’s milk. I didn’t have any stomachaches/cramps after drinking it as I would with regular milk. Two years ago almond milk was very difficult to find and now they can be found in most local grocery stores! I started using it in my cooking as a base for sauces, cream replacement, desserts etc. That was my first step of vegan-ism.

I’m from a little town called Greenbelt in Maryland. I moved out to Los Angeles 2 years ago to relocate for my job. Living in Los Angeles definitely helped with my cooking creativity in veganism.There are so many “trendy” vegan restaurants that uses a variety of nuts and vegetables to make a dish equally delicious as is easy on the eyes.

I was encouraged to recreate some of the recipes I tried at the restaurants and that’s how Ahnestveggie was born. Ahn (pronounced like “on”) is my last name and it resembles the word “honest.” This ties into the truth of how having a plant-based, vegan diet is both fun, simple, creative, delicious and the bonus…GOOD FOR YOUR BODY and everything I make and talk about in my blog and social media is the TRUTH!

“Aren’t you always hungry?, You seem deprived from good food and desserts, how did you start being vegan?, was it hard to transition?”

These are only 20% of the questions I get asked daily. I really love when non-vegans ask me questions after questions. It means that’s another steps for spreading the animal-cruelty love and throwing knowledge on people!

Tips and tricks to going vegan

I recommend not to start a vegan diet cold turkey. If you are a strong carnivore, try cutting down to one type of meat or even dairy each week. Also try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Use your imagination and make it a fun experience and have a positive mind set before making any changes. I also suggest you read, read, and read some more about vegan-ism and do some research. I will be the first to admit that during my first few weeks to months of being vegan, I actually gained a few pounds. I did not research and all I knew what to eat was vegan ice cream, bread, PB & J sandwiches and pasta. That is not a healthy diet at the least…

Pointers for ya!

Always have the following in your kitchen or pantry: black beans, Nutritional Yeast (found at Whole Foods) , quinoa, spinach, raw unsalted cashews/almonds, brown rice, tofu, avocado, cilantro (or any fresh herbs), kale, and can NOT forget my Sriracha sauce.

Again, have fun and have a positive mind-set. That is key. For more inspiration and yummy recipes, please visit ahnestveggie.com or feast your eyes on some veganfoodporn on my Instagram page @ahnestveggie.

With love and food,

XOXO Sarah Ahn

Blog: Ahnestveggie.com
Instagram: @ahnestveggie
Twitter: @Ahnestveggie
Facebook: Ahnestveggie

BUTTERNUT SQUASH QUESADILLAS W/ CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Butternut-1 Butternut

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Butternut Squash Quesadillas w/ Caramelized Onions


  • Author: Sarah Ahn / Ahnest Veggie
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

Caramelized Onions

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • dash of water

Quesadillas:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 8 flour tortilla of choice (I used Trader Joes Chia Seeds Tortilla)
  • 2 cups Soy Cheese blend, shredded
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tbsp tahini sauce
  • side of salsa of choice, optional

Instructions

Steps for Caramelized Onions*:

  1. In a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic for 10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and sauté for an additional 30 minutes until they start to brown in color. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking to pan.
  2. Set aside

Quesadillas:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash and cut squash in half lengthwise and bake cut side down for 40 minutes. Fork out flesh of butternut squash into a medium bowl. Mash using a fork or potato masher.
  3. Add cumin, tahini, salt and pepper and mix.

Now time to assemble and layer up!

  1. Layer half the tortilla with mashed butternut squash, caramelized onions, beans and top with shredded soy cheese. Place a new tortilla on to and place on a pan to lightly warm the quesadilla. Enough to melt the cheese. Flip once and you’re done.
  2. Serve with favorite salsa and guacamole recipe.

Notes

*Tip: add water to bottom of pan to prevent sticking.

  • Prep Time: 70 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins

This post is part of a new series for sweetsimplevegan.com! I am inviting guest bloggers to share their take on how to go vegan! Find my full list of vegan resources and guest posts here.

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