Black Bean “Cheese” Quesadillas

The cheese sauce in these quesadillas actually, shockingly, kinda tastes like a cheese sauce. Of course, you can’t really replace the flavor of cheese (because it’s cheese), but you can get some recipes that are pretty close. If you have a quesadilla hankering, this is an easy and fast recipe for making one (or four). The leftovers refrigerate well if you want to make it all at once, or spread out the ingredients across several days. The cheese gets goopy-looking after awhile in the fridge, but melts out again after you warm it up. One of my favorite cheesy recipes, this comes from


Servings: About 4 quesadillas, 8 “slices” after being cut in half

  • Tortillas (whole wheat or gluten-free, I use Ezekiel Sprouted Grain tortillas)
  • Unfried Black Beans:
    • 2 cups cooked black beans (about one and a half-ish 15 oz. cans, or be like me and use 2 full cans and overflow the quesadillas a little)
    • ½ tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • ¾ tsp. salt (optional)
    • ⅛ cup water (it calls for up to ¼ but I prefer a more solid black bean paste)
  • “Cheese” Sauce:
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • 2 tbs. rice or whole wheat flour (add another tbs. if you want a thicker sauce than 2 tbs. makes)
    • ¼ tsp. turmeric
    • ½ tsp. garlic powder
    • ½ tsp. onion powder
    • 1 cup plant-based milk (I use unsweetened original-flavor almond milk)
    • salt to taste
    • optional (and I highly recommend for a Mexican flavor): ¼ tsp cumin, ½ tsp. chili powder

Notes: I don’t find the original amounts for cumin and chili powder to be very flavorful, much less spicy. The quesadillas can have a very dull taste if you don’t crank up the spices a bit. If you want a “Mexican flavor” leave it at cumin and chili powder, but for spiciness add in a dash or two of cayenne or red pepper flakes. I usually use red pepper flakes when I make these. Salsa is also great for adding flavor, though I’ve had limited success cooking the salsa inside the quesadilla without making the whole thing soggy and/or squishy; instead, I usually spoon salsa over the top as I eat it. 


Put all Unfried Black Bean ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely combined and mushy. Scrape down the sides as you blend to make sure it’s all well-mixed. 


Add all dry ingredients for the Cheese Sauce to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk periodically as the dry ingredients begin to toast. 


Toasting the dry ingredients

Continue whisking until there is a clear, pungent fragrance. Add the plant milk and whisk often. 


After several minutes the sauce should be thick. Remove the sauce from the heat.


Quesadilla guts ready to go!

Spread beans over half the tortilla. Spread cheese on top of the beans. If you need help “measuring” how much to put on, keep in mind this recipe makes enough that you should have 4 fairly thick quesadillas using all of the bean mix and cheese sauce.


Fold in half and grill until the tortilla has become noticeably browned. Cut in half or be lazy like me and eat the giant quesadilla with two hands.


You can see how brown I let the tortillas get. The insides are very hot by the time the Ezekiel tortillas get this dark.

6 thoughts on “Black Bean “Cheese” Quesadillas

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