If you are new to cooking, this is a great recipe to practice many important cooking skills, in particular, knife skills. You will have the opportunity to practice your Claw & Saw as you precisely cut the tomatoes and onion. This simple recipe can be put together in a flash, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in flavour. It is one of our favourites and is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Roll up your sleeves, wash your hands and let’s get started!

Yield: 5 quesadillas
Preparation Time: About 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 4 – 5 minutes each

Digging Around:

  • What are some of the knife skills used in this recipe?
  • Write or draw the steps to dice a tomato, starting from a whole tomato and ending in cubes.




  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • A few sprigs cilantro
  • 1 green onion
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ small lime or lemon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


  • 5X 20cm (8”) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp (15mL) olive oil
  • ¾ cup (175mL) cooked, rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1 cup (250mL grated Monterey Jack cheese


  • Small sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Reamer or juicer
  • 2 soup spoons
  • Box grater
  • Large non-stick frying pan
  • Pancake flipper
  • tongs



  1. Cut tomatoes in ½ and place flat side down.  Cut into small chunks.  Place into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Rip the leaves from a few sprigs of cilantro into the tomato bowl.
  3. Cut the hairy root end off of the green onion then cut the green onion into pinky wide strips.  Add to the tomato bowl.
  4. Add a one finger pinch of red pepper flakes.
  5. Juice 1/2 lime or lemon into the bowl.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper.
  7. Mix together with a spoon.
  8. Grate the cheese on the largest holes of a box grater
  9. Place a tortilla on the cutting board. Place about 3 spoonfuls of salsa on the top half of the tortilla.  Spread evenly on the top half of the tortilla.
  10. Add 3 spoonfuls of black beans on top of the salsa.
  11. Sprinkle 3 spoonfuls of grated cheese over top of the salsa and beans.
  12. Fold up the bottom half of the tortilla to meet the edge of the top half.
  13. Have an adult heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add a small amount of olive oil, about 1tsp (15mL). Hanging on to the two edges of the tortilla, gently place the folded edge on the frying pan and let go of the quesadilla away from you.
  14. Cook until the bottom of the tortilla starts to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  15. Using a pancake flipper and tongs, turn the quesadilla over on the folded side of the tortilla to cook the other side.  Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  16. Use a pancake flipper to remove from pan and place on a cutting board.  Cover with a clean tea towel or foil until the other quesadillas are cooked.
  17. Repeat with the other quesadillas, add oil to the pan with each new quesadilla.
  18. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the quesadilla into wedges.
  19. Serve right away with the extra salsa, guacamole, low fat sour cream, plain yogurt or on its own.





Gather your ingredients and wash all the vegetables thoroughly.

Open the can of beans and rinse under cold water.

Using the Claw & Saw method, dice the tomatoes. This is the progression visual from left to right. First, half your tomato lengthwise. Second, cut into pinky-wide strips. Third, cut each half moon piece again into pinky-wide strips. Finally, admire your dice!

Sometimes tomato skin can be hard to cut. You do not want to smoosh your tomatoes and lose all the tomato juice. If you’re finding it hard to saw, poke the tomato skin using the very tip of the knife.

Find where you poked the tomato, and claw & saw right over it. You should be able to saw right through now.

Pick the cilantro leaves and add to the bowl of tomato. Be generous with the cilantro. Feel free to nibble on the stems. We aren’t using the stems in this recipe but it’s edible and we recommend to taste your food when cooking.

Claw & Saw the green onions. Remember where the knife goes when it’s not in use?

Add a small one finger pinch of red pepper flakes.

Squeeze lime juice right into the bowl.

Season with salt & pepper and mix with a spoon.

Grate the cheese. Reminder that all graters are tools with lots of small sharp blades, so hang onto what you are grating with a claw and take your time.

This is your Mise en Place.

Today, we are using the large 10″ tortillas, so we will make 3 big quesadillas. Place a tortilla on the cutting board and add 3 big spoons of the salsa.

Add 3 big spoons of black beans.

Sprinkle the cheese!

Fold the empty end over to create a half moon. Prepare all your quesadillas before starting to cook.

Turn your pan on to a medium heat and add about 1 tsp of olive oil. Make sure you have your spatula and tongs ready.

Use both hands to place the quesadilla into the pan. Place in the middle of the pan gently and let go of the quesadilla away from you. Keep the quesadilla as flat as possible when you are moving it so that the ingredients don’t pile up in one area.

Flip using a spatula and tongs. Tongs can help you pinch the open edges of the tortilla closed and roll the quesadilla over.

Remove the cooked quesadilla onto a cutting board and cut into 4 even pieces. Place a tea towel on top to keep warm while you cook the rest.

Today we are enjoying this meal with a side of sour cream. You can also try it with some guacamole too. How do you like to eat your quesadillas?

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