Kimchi and Spinach Pesto Quesadilla

Kimchi, in case you didn’t know, is a popular Korean side dish of fermented cabbage and other vegetables.  It’s so popular in fact that there is even a kimchi museum in Seoul.  And yes – LG also marketed an air conditioner with a Kimchi based filter under the premise that it may help kill the virus that caused the Bird Flue.
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I must confess, I was not always a fan of Kimchi and depending on the format, it’s still not exactly among my favourite foods.  It has a very strong flavour that can be a bit overpowering depending on what it’s served with, but after making a recipe for Kimchi Stuffed Dumplings from the Street Vegan cookbook, my opinion and palette has shifted some.

Kimchi, as it turns out, pairs very magically with various forms of bread, so in response I tried to think of new and wonderful ways to combine those two foods, and I came up with this Quesadillas Recipe.  I also have never made Quesadillas before.  I have no idea what took me so long –  they’re easy to make and delicious!

As you may notice, the spinach pesto is missing some key ingredients that you might typically find in a pesto – it’s definitely a ‘whatever I had on hand’ kind of pesto, but that’s totally fine.  The more subtle taste works really with the blast of Kimchi flavour.

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Ingredients (Makes 6 Quesadillas):
2 cups of spinach
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 cup of lemon juice
6 tortillas
2 tbsp of margarine x 6
1 200g package of Daiya Cheese or other plant based cheese
447ml jar of kimchi
1 227g package of Tofurky Chick’n or other meat substitute (optional, taste great without it too)

Directions:
1.  Make the pesto.  In a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups of spinach, 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Blend until smooth and set aside.
2.  Spread the margarine out evenly across one side of the tortilla making sure that the whole surface, including the edges are coated.
3.  Lay the tortilla in a frying pan, over medium to low heat, with the margarine covered side down.  Layer a generous portion of the pesto, the cheese, kimchi and chick’n (if using) on the top of the tortilla.
4.  Using tongs, or your fingers, gently fold one side of the tortilla over the other half.  Cook for about five minutes, flipping periodically (2 to 3 minutes on each side) until the tortilla browns a bit and gets crisp  Serve hot!

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