Vegan Quesadilla

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This Vegan Quesadilla recipe is the best dairy-free option you’ll ever taste. It’s loaded with flavorful black beans and veggies, which are smothered in a vegan nacho cheese that will fool everyone. It couldn’t be easier to make!

vegan quesadillas sliced into triangles

The star of this recipe is my Vegan Nacho Cheese sauce, which is made with NO nutritional yeast. It reminds me of the cheese dip you’d get at a movie theater or baseball game!

It’s delicious as a dip for chips, but I think I love it even more in these dairy-free quesadillas.

Why You’ll Love Them

  • They’re filling. The addition of black beans and veggies add filling fiber and protein to this meal, without weighing you down.
  • You can make them ahead. The black bean filling and cheese sauce can be stored separately for up to 5 days in the fridge, so once those 2 components are ready, you can add them to a tortilla in a skillet and have a hot meal ready in 5 minutes or less. This has been my go-to lunch this week!
  • They taste amazing. The seasoning in the filling really takes the flavor over the top, and the vegan cheese sauce has much more flavor than regular shredded cheese.
  • They’re easy to make. You only need to chop 2 veggies for this recipe, and the cheese sauce can be blended together in 5 minutes.

Tasting is believing, so I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. They really are the best quesadillas I’ve ever made– vegan or otherwise!

vegan quesadilla triangles stacked on a plate

How to Make Vegan Quesadillas

1. Make the black bean filling. Saute the pepper and onion until they are tender, then add in the black beans and seasonings. Stir briefly, and add in a big handful of fresh baby spinach, if you want to sneak some greens into your meal.

The spinach will wilt quickly, so you’ll hardly notice it’s in there.

sauteed onions, peppers, beans, and spinach

2. Make the cheese sauce. Add the cashews, green chilies, lemon juice, water, salt, and jalapenos to the blender, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust any flavoring, as needed.

cashews and open can of green chilies

Pro Tip: Try adding a splash of the juice from the jar of jalapenos into the cheese sauce, for extra jalapeno flavor.

3. Cook the quesadilla. Lightly grease a large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat, then place a tortilla in the pan. (Don’t add too much oil, or the tortilla will get soggy.)

cheese and beans added to tortilla in skillet

Spread the cheese sauce in a thin layer over the top of the tortilla, then add the black bean filling to only half of the tortilla.

Let the tortilla warm up for 2 to 3 minutes, and then fold the tortilla in half, covering the beans.

tortilla folded in half and sliced

4. Enjoy! Slice into triangles, and serve warm right away with your favorite salsa and guacamole.

Helpful Tips

  • Are all tortillas vegan? Most tortillas that I have come across at the store are vegan, but it’s always important to check the label to ensure they aren’t cooked in lard or butter.
  • Which tortillas work best for quesadillas? Quesadillas are most commonly cooked in a flour tortillas, and look for a larger size, like a 9- or 10-inch tortilla. Flour tortillas are the most flexible, so they won’t break when you fold them in half.
  • How to make gluten-free quesadillas. You can use two smaller corn tortillas for more of a sandwich effect, or try a grain-free tortilla like Siete brand, which makes vegan cassava flour, coconut flour, and almond flour tortillas. (They even have larger burrito-sized tortillas!) Brown rice tortillas can sometimes be found in the freezer section of a health food store, if you can find those as a gluten-free option, too.
  • Can you make it nut-free? Try using hemp hearts instead of cashews for the cheese sauce. They will provide a creamy texture, without using nuts. Or, try my Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe which uses no nuts.

This recipe is totally flexible, so if you want to leave out the beans, or have another veggie to use up, feel free to make swaps!

quesadilla eaten on black plate

vegan quesadillas sliced into triangles
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5 from 12 votes

Best Vegan Quesadilla

This Vegan Quesadilla recipe is loaded with flavor, and you'd never guess it's dairy-free! Make the two components ahead of time for a fast weeknight meal, or an easy lunch you can reheat in just minutes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword vegan quesadilla
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 321kcal

Ingredients

Black Bean Filling

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil , plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 red onion , chopped (100 grams)
  • 1 red bell pepper , chopped (161 grams)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (2 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (3 grams; I use Real Salt brand)
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh baby spinach (I just use a large handful)

Vegan Nacho Cheese

  • 1 cup cashews (138 grams, not roasted or salted)
  • 6 tablespoons water (82 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (20 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies (113 grams)
  • 6 to 8 jarred jalapeno slices (11 grams, or to taste)

Quesadilla Assembly

  • 4 large flour tortillas (or gluten-free, if needed)
  • salsa , for serving
  • guacamole , for serving

Instructions

  • Prepare the black bean filling by adding the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and bell pepper until they soften, about 8 minutes. Add a splash of water, as needed, to help prevent sticking.
    onions and peppers sauteed in pan
  • While the veggies are cooking, add the vegan nacho cheese ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend until totally smooth. You can taste and adjust any flavoring as needed. Set this aside while you finish the filling.
    jalapenos added to blended cheese sauce
  • When the onion and peppers are tender, add in the drained black beans, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, and stir well. Add in the fresh spinach, and continue stirring and cooking until the spinach has wilted.
    sauteed onions, peppers, beans, and spinach
  • Transfer the cooked black bean filling to a large bowl, and rinse and dry the large skillet so you can re-use it. Add a small drizzle of olive oil to the pan, and spread it around so it's lightly coated. (Don't use too much!) Add the tortilla to the pan, so it can start heating up.
    wilted spinach in beans and pan greased for quesadilla
  • Spread a thin layer of the cheese sauce over the entire top of the tortilla, then add the black bean filling to only half of the tortilla. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the tortilla starts to look golden on the bottom.
    cheese and beans added to tortilla in skillet
  • Fold the tortilla in half, covering the half with the black bean filling, then use a spatula to transfer the quesadilla to a plate. Cut it into triangles, and serve warm, with salsa and guacamole. Leftover filling and cheese sauce can be stored separately in the fridge for up to 5 days.
    tortilla folded in half and sliced

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 4 quesadillas, without the optional toppings. This information is just an estimate, and not a guarantee.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 946mg | Potassium: 378mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1247IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4mg

If you try these Vegan Quesadillas, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like them.

Reader Feedback: Is there any other comfort food you’d like to see get a makeover? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments

Cari

Do you think I could double this recipe (particularly the vegan nacho cheese)? I never know whether a recipe can safely be doubled, especially when it involves a sauce. Thank you so much!

    Megan Gilmore

    I think the sauce could easily be doubled, as long as your blender is large enough! The skillet would have to be large enough to handle two cans of beans, too, but that should be fine. Hope you love these!

Julie

Excellent!!! Very flavorful!

Nevine

Made these for dinner and they were a great hit. Will definitely be making them again!

Danielle

I’m excited to make these tonight! Just a note the spinach is not listed in the ingredients list

    Megan Gilmore

    Thank you for catching that! Just updated it. Hope you’ll love them!

Trish

Made these tonight…family gave it a 10 out of 10! Will definitely be making them again and again. Started cooking from your site and cookbooks in July. Lost 8 lbs in 6 weeks while eating tons of your delicious food. Total cholesterol went down 20 points…spent most of my dr. visit explaining the only lifestyle change I made recently…told her about your recipes. Thanks for easy, healthy recipes that my whole family loves. My college aged sons will eat anything I make now if they know it’s from one of your recipes. Thanks!!

Emily

Delicious!! And super easy!

Claudia

This was so delicious and really fast and easy!
I will definitely make this again, YUM!

Renae

These were so good! I didn’t have any cashews on hand so used hemp seeds and had to sub tomatoes for the red bell peppers but they turned out amazing! Husband and kid approved! Thanks Megan for another great recipe

Nielle

I have never tried making any of the vegan quesos or cheeses so I was a little nervous going into this but it was so easy and turned out delicious! And once combined with the black beans and veggies everything comes together so beautifully! I will be living off these all week!

Kerstin

Would you have a recipe for the Salsa? Or did I miss something in the recipe? Is it storebought salsa? Which one are you using?

    Megan Gilmore

    I used a store-bought salsa in the photos, but there’s a fresh tomato salsa in my first cookbook, Everyday Detox. I might post one here on the blog someday, too, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet!

Laurie

I have to say this…I’m new to this whole plant-based diet…Have always been a chicken and fish person, but have seen a couple of eye-opening documentaries and now reading A LOT on it. I’ve been a little hesitant to MAKE an all vegan recipe, being a very picky eater and just wanting/needing a recipe that I can eat a couple of days in a row without dreading it and/or being able to freeze, which is important when you live alone! BUT, your BEST VEGAN QUESADILLA RECIPE has opened my eyes! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT and CAN’T WAIT to have the leftovers! I was SHOCKED at just how good it was (and I left out the salt). My kids have always said I was going to kill myself with my amount of previous CHEESE intake over the years in all of my Mexican/Italian dishes, but this was a game-changer! Thanks for the much-needed boost to actually get me started! 🙂

Maria

Made this for dinner and everyone loved them!! Definitely making it again soon and doubling the filling. So delish!

Molly H

No joke – I prefer this recipe over a restaurant’s quesadilla (this coming from a girl who loves a good greasy Mexican restaurant)! I NEVER would’ve guessed this was a vegan dish. You. Are. A. Genius!

By far a favorite for this girl 🙂

Vickie L Mauro

I made this dish but used cooked lentils in place of black beans. Turned out great!

Rebecca

10 stars. This vegan nacho sauce is amazing. So easy to whip up. Great flavor. My husband was impressed. The quesadillas came out delicious. Another great week night recipe.

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the quesadilla! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave a review. Thanks!

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