Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family-style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.
With summer knocking on our doorstep, it felt time for a weeknight meal that's really bright and fresh.
A ripe juicy mango tossed with creamy avocado and crispy butter gem lettuce is the perfect side to these quick grilled quesadillas. Tossed in a mint and coriander vinaigrette, this salad actually makes for such a bold side dish I was tempted to name this recipe Mango Avocado Salad with a side of quesadillas.
One of my best time savings tips is how to slice a mango using a glass. Even if you never make this recipe, I promise this will forever change the way you slice a mango.
Start by slicing the two "cheeks" off the mango, careful not to cut through the stone. Then, place the edge of the mango cheek against the lip of the glass and slide it down so the perfect flesh falls inside the glass. Do this for each cheek and you will have two perfect domes of mango to simply slice and dice. No mess, no scary scoring with a paring knife and super fast. (You will have a small ring of mango still left around the stone, a reward for the cook if you ask me).
To accompany our bright summer-anticipating salad, I went with top sirloin steak. This is a dish you could easily take to the grill outside, made even easier if you have a side burner.
As with most of the 20-minute meals, pounding out the thicker proteins does four things:
- allows the meat to cook faster
- tenderizes the protein
- really ensures the spices penetrate the meat quickly
- allows us to get out any frustration from the busy workday.
For both the steak and the scallions, the char is an important step. Don't be afraid of a little black on the steak or the scallions as it adds a lot of flavour and texture. The key is just when you think you want to stir or flip the steak or scallion, wait 30 more seconds.
Enjoy this "it's almost summer" On Board in 20 Scallion Quesadillas with Mango Avocado Salad board. Since you already have the limes and salt out, pairing it with a margarita only seems fitting. Cheers!
- 8 scallions (green onions), left whole
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 600 grams top sirloin steak (about 20 ounces)
- 8 small flour tortillas
- ½ cup white cheese, grated
- 1 large head of butter gem lettuce
- 1 mango
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (or hot sauce)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Optional: Lime, salsa, sour cream, jalapeño
- Start a kettle with 1 litre of water. Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of oil. Heat a heavy frying pan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Trim half an inch off each end of the scallions and place in a shallow dish. Cover with boiling water and leave for three to four minutes. Remove scallions from water, place on cast iron grill pan and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Turn occasionally and get a nice char.
- Combine spices (cumin through salt) and generously sprinkle over both sides of the steaks. Cover steaks with a piece of parchment paper and pound out to about ¾" to 1" thickness. Slice the steaks against the grain into thin strips and place in the preheated frying pan. Let the steak sear before moving around the pan. Steak will only take 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest.
- Place four tortillas on grill pan. To each tortilla add two scallions, steak pieces and ¼ of the grated cheese. Then place another tortilla on top. Heat until cheese is melted through (about 4 minutes) then flip over for another two minutes.
- Break apart lettuce into individual leaves and place on one half of the serving board. Slice and cube the mango (as described above) and avocado. Sprinkle the lettuce with mango, avocado and slices of red onion.
- Make vinaigrette. In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon of oil, lime juice, mint, cilantro, sugar, vinegar and chili sauce. Drizzle dressing over salad.
- To assemble: Cut the quesadillas in half, place on board. Serve with optional garnishes such as fresh cilantro, limes, salsa, sour cream and/or jalapeño.
Looking for More 20-Minute Meal Ideas?
- Harissa Honey Rib Chops with Broccoli Tabbouleh
- Lemon Chicken Build Your Own Soup Board
- Breakfast (for Dinner) Board — Eggs & Toast
Lisa Bolton is the creator, writer and photographer behind Food Well Said, her blog about bringing thoughtfully prepared, whole food recipes. She lives in the Lower Mainland of BC and you can reach her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.