by Olena

Vegetarian Quesadilla

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Olena Osipov
5 from 37 votes

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Not just for meat lovers anymore, Vegetarian Quesadilla recipe uses black beans, veggies, a healthy amount of cheese and a whole wheat tortilla for a tasty healthy dinner idea that’s easy to make and ready in 30 minutes! 

I love making healthier versions of classic Southwestern food. Pick-me-up Mexican dishes like chicken quesadillas, tostadas, healthy fish tacos, you name it, it’s been on the menu recently!

Vegetarian Quesadilla

Healthy vegetarian quesadilla with a mix of black beans with vegetables and spices. No sautéing is required, raw veggies are tucked inside the whole wheat tortilla and then sprinkled with as little cheese as possible to help quesadillas stay together.

Serve veggie quesadilla with easy chicken tortilla soup or pressure cooker vegetarian chili (both can be previously frozen), you will be immediately transported to Mexico. Easy 30 minute dinner, done!

Why Make Veggie Quesadilla?

  • Meatless meal: Reduces meat in your diet for both the health of yourself and the planet and with 31g of plant protein per serving, you will fill full and satiated! 
  • Rich in fiber: Black beans help maintain a healthy digestive tract.
  • Nutrient rich veggies: Red bell pepper is high in vitamin A, corn is rich in vitamin C and red onion contains quercetin- an antioxidant!
  • Fresh taste: Fresh cilantro adds that classic Tex-Mex taste without adding calories.
  • Ready in 30 minutes: And 20 minutes is idle baking time!
  • Freezer friendly: Make a batch or two and then bake fresh. Perfect for busy activity filled nights or easy healthy lunch ideas.
Vegetarian Quesadilla with black beans, corn, pepper and cheese

What Is a Healthy Quesadilla?

Quesadilla is a Mexican dish and a type of taco. Filled primarily with cheese and other veggies and meat. A lot of cheese is a key component in traditional quesadilla. Basically, quesadilla is Mexican grilled cheese. 🙂

However, gooey, greasy and buttery quesadilla pie is not my favorite. I like to grab a whole wheat tortilla, fill it with veggies, black beans for protein boost and just enough cheese to hold quesadilla together.

And if you bake quesadilla instead of frying, no filling will fall out. Healthy quesadilla is possible!

Ingredients for Veggie Quesadilla

  • Whole wheat large tortillas: Gives these vegetarian quesadilla a boost of whole grain goodness.
  • Black beans: Plant based protein and give great texture in every bite.
  • Corn: Fresh, frozen or canned this is a favorite Tex-Mex ingredient for it’s sweet taste.
  • Red bell pepper: Adds crunch and color!
  • Red onion: Aromatic savory taste in black bean quesadilla.
  • Fresh cilantro: Another ingredients that adds that classic southwest taste.
  • Cumin and salt: Cumin adds a warm, earthy taste while salt balances flavors.
  • Cheese: Use choice of Colby, cheddar or mozzarella.
  • Condiments: Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salsa and guac.

Fresh ingredients will produce the best and most flavorful results! Freshly grated cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh tortillas, you get the picture!

black bean quesadilla ingredients with black beans veggies and cheese

What Veggies Are Good for Black Bean Quesadilla?

Any firm vegetables without too much water are perfect for vegetarian quesadillas.

  • Canned or frozen: Black beans, corn, broccoli, olives, edamame.
  • Fresh – no need to saute: Onion, bell pepper, avocado, cauliflower, broccoli, sliced in half cherry tomatoes.
  • Fresh – sauteing recommended: Mushrooms, zucchini.
  • Leftover cooked veggies: Diced potatoes, white or sweet.

Crumbled or diced tofu would be great for a protein boost, make sure to squeeze tofu well unless already cooked.

How to Make Vegetarian Quesadilla

  • Make the filling: In a large mixing bowl, add black beans, corn, pepper, cilantro, red onion, cumin and salt. Stir well to combine and no need to saute any of these vegetables.
  • Build each quesadilla: On a half of tortilla sprinkle 3 tbsp of cheese (half 1/3 cup), spread 1/2 cup veggie mixture and sprinkle with remaining 3 tbsp of cheese. Fold the other half of tortilla on top pressing on it somewhat gently-hard making a half moon shape.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes: Remove from the oven, let rest for 3-5 minutes and cut each quesadilla in half using serrated knife.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Beans: Use pinto beans, another favorite in Mexican cuisine, like in my Instant Pot refried beans.
  • Cooked grains: Add a small amount of cooked brown rice or quinoa to the filling.
  • Other bell peppers: Green, yellow, orange or a combination for a ‘rainbow’ of colors.

Protein boost: To keep vegetarian, add crumbled or diced tofu. Make sure to squeeze well, unless using leftover air fried or pan fried tofu. Add shredded chicken or leftover sliced healthy grilled chicken recipe, if you wish. Leftover beef or ground chicken from taco night is great as well!

  • Heat and smoke: Add chopped jalapeño or chipotle in adobo sauce for heat and smokiness. Or 1 tsp smoked paprika will add nice smoky flavour too.
  • Other spices: Add a pinch of complimentary spices such as chili powder, coriander, turmeric, oregano – basically any spices that go in taco seasoning.
  • Lime: Only a squirt, so as not to make soggy filling.
  • Other fresh herbs: Not a fan of cilantro? Use fresh parsley or Mexican oregano if you can find it!
  • Cotija: A popular Mexican cheese that is similar to feta in appearance.
  • Add avocado: For added creaminess, add diced avocado to the veggie mix.
  • Pickled onions: Instead of raw onions, use pickled onions from pork carnitas recipe, they add tang and extra flavor!

Tips for Making Quesadillas

  • Folding trick for health reasons: I prefer to fold one tortilla in half rather than stack two on top of each other. That way even less cheese is required and veggies are not falling out all over the plate.
  • Best tortilla: Use large pliable whole wheat or whole grain 10 inch tortillas like I use here and with chicken burritos too. Save corn tortillas for Mexican lasagna.
  • Shred your own cheese as it melts better: Store bought shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that prevent cheese from melting. I used white sharp cheddar.
  • Watery veggies tip: If you would like to add high water content vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini, I would recommend to saute them first.

FAQs

What’s a good side with quesadillas?

I love to serve quesadilla with a side of tortilla soup and Mexican kale salad. Mexican cauliflower rice or roasted sweet potatoes would also pair nicely!

Are quesadilla’s traditional Mexican food?

Quesadilla translates to mean ‘little cheesy thing’ or ‘little cake’ and it’s origins come from the south-central region of Mexico. Whereas a corn tortilla was first used in this traditional Mexican cuisine, the flour tortilla eventually became more commonplace due to wheat popularity as an agriculture harvest.

Can I make this a vegan quesadilla?

Sure can! You will need something to ‘glue’ it together though. Vegan cheese such as Daiya or Miyokos (or your favorite) could be used, or if you want it to remain a completely plant based quesadilla you could try mashed avocado and refried beans.

How to level up a veggie quesadilla?

This recipe for healthy quesadilla is already ‘leveled up’ but if you want to take it up yet another notch, additional spices such as ancho chili powder, smoked paprika or cayenne pepper will do the trick!

Why are my quesadillas soggy?

If you added watery veggies such as zucchini or mushrooms, your veggie quesadillas may end up soggy! I recommend sauteing those vegetables first before adding to your veg mixture.

How to get crispy veggie quesadilla?

This recipe will yield crispy ‘baked’ quesadilla. If you want even further crips, you could press on a panini press or heat oil in a skillet and fry them on each side.

Can I make gluten free vegetarian quesadilla?

Sure can! You will want to use either a gluten free flour quesadilla or corn tortilla (warm up before filling and folding).

Stacked healthy black bean quesadilla with salsa and greek yogurt in bowls.

How to Serve Quesadillas?

Quesadilla is best served right away while hot, crispy and cheese is gooey. They are perfect for quick healthy dinner ideas, even in summer months. Kids loved them!

Can I Freeze Veggie Quesadilla?

Yes. It is one of my 20 healthy freezer meals. I’m obsessed!

  • Prep: For each quesadilla, assemble and then wrap in plastic wrap as tightly as possible without compromising its shape.
  • Freeze: Lay flat in a gallon size Ziploc bag, squeeze as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Bake: When ready to enjoy, bake from frozen at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Or alternatively cook in a panini press.

freezer meal black bean quesadillas

How to Store Leftover Black Bean Quesadilla?

Storing (make ahead): Cooked quesadillas do not last well. Instead, I recommend to make ahead the filling (without salt) and refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. When ready to enjoy, assemble and bake quesadillas then and serve fresh and crispy.

More Favorite Mexican Recipes

folded quesadillas with black beans stacked
Vegetarian Quesadilla

Vegetarian Quesadilla

Not just for meat lovers anymore, Vegetarian Quesadilla recipe uses black beans, veggies, a healthy amount of cheese and a whole wheat tortilla for a tasty meal that’s easy to make and ready in 30 minutes! 
5 from 37 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 584kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 8 whole wheat large 8” tortillas
  • 14 oz can black beans rinsed & drained
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 large bell pepper diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 2/3 cups cheese that melts well shredded (cheddar, mozzarella)
  • Salsa guacamole and yogurt (sour cream), for serving

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add black beans, corn, pepper, cilantro, red onion, cumin and salt; stir well to combine. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Build each quesadilla: on a half of tortilla sprinkle 3 tbsp (half of 1/3 cup) of cheese, spread 1/2 cup veggie mixture and sprinkle with remaining 3 tbsp of cheese. Fold the other half of tortilla on top pressing on it somewhat gently-hard making a half moon shape. Repeat and make 8 quesadillas. If you have any leftover veggie mixture – eat it.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest for 3-5 minutes and cut each quesadilla in half using serrated knife. Serve with salsa and yogurt.

Store: While quesadillas taste best fresh, leftovers can be refrigerated leftovers for up to 2 days.

    Make ahead: Refrigerate filling mixture without salt covered for up to 2 days, then make quesadillas.

      Freeze: For each quesadilla, assemble and then wrap in plastic wrap as tightly as possible without compromising its shape. Lay flat in a gallon size Ziploc bag, squeeze as much air out as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, bake from frozen at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Or alternatively cook in a panini press.

        Notes

        • Folding trick for health reasons: I prefer to fold one tortilla in half rather than stack two on top of each other. That way even less cheese is required and veggies are not falling out all over the plate.
        • Best tortilla: Use large pliable tortillas like whole wheat or whole grain. Not corn tortillas.
        • Shred your own cheese as it melts better: Store bought shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that prevent cheese from melting. I used white sharp cheddar.
        • Watery veggies tip: If you would like to add high water content vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini, I would recommend to saute them first.
        • Protein boost: To keep vegetarian, add crumbled or diced tofu. Make sure to squeeze well. Add shredded chicken or leftover sliced healthy grilled chicken recipe if you wish.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 4slices | Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13.6g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 752mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.