The Best Bean & Cheese Quesadilla (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

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I truly make this quesadilla recipe almost daily— once you know the formula, and have the beans on hand, it’s just too easy and delicious not to whip up. The only real ‘recipe’ here is for the mashed ‘refried’ style beans, and I’d barely call it a recipe– no measuring needed. Here’s how you make this perfect vegan & gluten-free quesadilla.

For the beans:

I like to use dried beans– either kidney, black, or pinto works. I don’t measure, but I probably use around 2-4 cups every time I make this so that I have plenty of leftovers for easy quesadilla making.

1 large yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 bay leaves

big pinch of salt, cumin, chipotle powder, garlic powder (any spices you’d like–to taste)

Soak the beans for a few hours for quicker cook time, or skip this step and simply add beans to a big pot and cover with water. Add onions (simply cut into large chunks), garlic cloves, bay leaves, salt, and spices and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and let the beans cook for a few hours or until soft and mashable.

Remove the bay leaves, and using an immersion blender, blend up the beans and onions, but don’t completely pulverize it, you want to have a few chunks of bean here and there. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or two, or freeze.

For the quesadilla:

1 large or two smaller tortillas (I like siete grain free tortillas)

a few spoonfuls of mashed beans

sprinkles of vegan cheese (I love the Miyoko’s Pepperjack)

for homemade cheese, you can also use my vegan queso recipe

**top with:

chopped cilantro, onion, salsa, vegan yogurt or sour cream, hot sauce


In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, spray a little cooking spray and add your large tortilla. Spread beans and a sprinkle of cheese (or vegan queso) and then flip the rest of the tortilla over and press down. Let cook for a few minutes, then flip and cook for a few more minutes, until brown and crispy on both sides. If using small tortillas, add one tortilla, top with beans and cheese then place another tortilla on top and press it down, flip after a few minutes and cook on both sides)

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