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!
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
4. Enjoy! Slice into triangles, and serve warm right away with your favorite salsa and guacamole.
- 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!
Best Vegan Quesadilla
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)
- 4 large flour tortillas (or gluten-free, if needed)
- salsa , for serving
- guacamole , for serving
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Questions and Reviews
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!
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!
Excellent!!! Very flavorful!
Made these for dinner and they were a great hit. Will definitely be making them again!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Nevine. Thanks for letting me know!
I’m excited to make these tonight! Just a note the spinach is not listed in the ingredients list
Thank you for catching that! Just updated it. Hope you’ll love them!
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!!
Delicious!! And super easy!
Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Emily. Thanks for the review!
This was so delicious and really fast and easy!
I will definitely make this again, YUM!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Claudia. Thanks for the review!
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
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!
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?
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!
First, thanks for all the wonderful things on this website. 🙂
I too was hoping for your salsa recipe…
I searched Everyday Detox in vain for the fresh tomato salsa… maybe it’s in your other book which I unfortunately don’t have?
I find the ready prepared salsas are sickly or acidic or both and just not a pleasant taste experience… It would be great if you could offer your own recipe!
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! 🙂
Made this for dinner and everyone loved them!! Definitely making it again soon and doubling the filling. So delish!
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 🙂
I made this dish but used cooked lentils in place of black beans. Turned out great!
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.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the quesadilla! I really appreciate your taking the time to leave a review. Thanks!
Do the cashews not have to be soaked for this recipe?
I typically don’t have the patience to soak cashews. If you have a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix, it’s not necessary to get a very smooth result. But if you are using a standard blender, soaking the cashews in water for up to 2 hours can help them break down easier.
I could eat the nacho sauce with a spoon! So good!
These Quesadillas are so delicious and filling. I make them almost weekly. So easy to make too
Once again your recipe never disappoints! This was a delicious midweek meal. I added some chicken to my non-vegan husbands quesadilla and he really enjoyed them.
As a vegan for over 30 years people often ask me for recipes and I always refer them to your website / Instagram.
Made this tonite and was a hit with everyone. Definitely saved this recipe.
These are DELICIOUS! Will double it next time 🙂
Love everything you do Megan! Can you freeze these cooked? Heat them up in pan/sandwich press? I’m doing some pre baby batch cooking!xx
We enjoyed this recipe and will make it again!
So delicious. Enjoyed today and looking forward to leftovers just as much. The vegan cheese was delicious accent.
Delicious!!! I didn’t have a red pepper so I actually shredded some broccoli stalks in its place and it worked great! Our home is nut free so I made the cheese sauce with hemp hearts as suggested. The sauce alone had a bit of a strong hemp seed flavor so I’m not sure I would use it as a dip itself but along with the other ingredients in the quesadilla it tasted wonderful!