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!