Black Bean Quesadillas

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These Black Bean Quesadillas are loaded with plant-based protein, veggies, and good-for-you ingredients. They pack a serious punch of flavor and are so easy to make. Don’t worry — you won’t be missing the meat. These quesadillas are surprisingly very filling!

Make these quesadillas on the stovetop OR in the air fryer — instructions are included for both methods.

Black Bean Quesadillas cut and arranged on a plate.

Black Bean Quesadillas

These flavorful Black Bean Quesadillas are going to be your new favorite vegetarian meal! You won’t be missing the meat OR the protein as black beans are a great source of plant-based protein. There’s also a good amount of protein in the cheese and tortillas depending on what tortillas are used.

Sometimes it’s tricky to get kids fully on board with vegetarian meals, but this particular meal is very kid friendly. My kids were convinced they’d love them by the smell alone and, one bite in, they confirmed their obsession and quickly polished off the pile!

Black Bean Quesadilla Ingredients

  • Flour tortillas. We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the cheese and have the best flavor. We definitely prefer unbaked tortillas that can be warmed up on the stovetop — they fold up better and taste fresher.
  • Roasted red pepper strips. To save loads of time from roasting peppers, you can buy pre-roasted (and chopped/sliced) pepper strips — they’re a massive time saver! You can find these roasted red pepper strips near canned pasta sauces, jarred pesto, or near ingredients like artichoke hearts. The strips are soft so they are easy to quickly dice down to smaller pieces.
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese. We recommend sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar, which has a richer and more present flavor. Mild or medium Cheddar tends to get muted.

Ingredient shot: a bowl with roasted red peppers, black beans, corn, Cheddar and cilantro.

Ingredients, Cont.

  • Laughing Cow® Cheese. We love this spreadable cheese to add some creaminess to the quesadillas. The pepper-jack variety goes great with the quesadilla flavors, but does add some spice. We also tested with the original and light — they were all great! 
  • Taco seasoning. Again, taco seasoning packets can vary in the spice level and even in overall flavor. I’ve generally found the cheaper the taco seasoning packet, the less flavor it has. If you don’t mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own. (I like to make a few homemade taco seasoning “packets” when meal prepping for the week.) Check out my “quick tip” box below!

QUICK TIP

For this Black Bean Quesadilla Recipe, you can make your own taco seasoning blend instead of using a packaged mix, if you prefer (we love homemade best!). And while you’re at it, make a big batch of this and divide into packets for convenience next time you need seasoning!

Here’s my go-to taco seasoning blend (this mix perfectly replaces the store-bought mix in this recipe):

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick® for mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper

Process shots: combine ingredients and mix; spread cheese on one side of the tortilla; top with the mixed ingredients.

How To Make Black Bean Quesadillas

Here are a few tips for this Black Bean Quesadillas recipe:

  • Spray (with cooking spray) or brush oil on each side of the quesadilla before cooking. This promotes even browning and crisping.
  • I use, love, and recommend this Air Fryer (affiliate link). Air fryers do vary a bit from brand to brand, so the timing for quesadillas may need to be slightly tweaked for your specific model. Also keep in mind that after the initial air fry, the machine is warmed up and will cook subsequent batches a bit quicker.
  • If you’re air frying the quesadillas, press toothpicks in each corner to keep the tortilla from lifting up as it fries. Even with the toothpicks, the tortilla may want to lift up, so press it down to promote adherence when flipping the quesadilla.

Process shots: fold filled tortilla in half and spray with oil; secure edges with toothpicks; cook; slice into quarters.

VARIATIONS

Black Bean Quesadilla Variation Ideas

  • Make sweet potato black bean quesadilla by adding in a cooked, diced sweet potato. (Directions for how to do this in this recipe post: Air Fryer Sweet Potato & Black Bean Egg Rolls.)
  • Not a fan of cilantro? Add 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice instead.
  • Don’t love red peppers? Replace with diced red onion.
  • If you’re wondering how to cook black beans for quesadillas, there is no need to cook the beans beforehand. Just drain and rinse straight out of the can! Of course, you can always make your own black beans from scratch if you’re feeling ambitious! If using homemade black beans, this recipe uses 2 cups.

Black Bean Quesadillas Toppings

While the quesadillas are cooking, assemble any and all toppings you’d like. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Chili-lime sauce. This sauce first debuted on these Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls and has been a staple in my home ever since. We are obsessed with this sauce and any excuse I have to use it, I’ll take! This is our favorite sauce for these Black Bean Quesadillas.
  • Cilantro-lime sauce. If you prefer more of a cooling, citrusy sauce, this Cilantro-Lime Sauce is wonderful with these quesadillas.
  • Guacamole. Try our favorite homemade Guacamole Recipe or get some at the store for ease/quicker dinner prep. A ripe diced avocado is also a great topping
  • Sour cream. Fat-free, light, or regular all work great!
  • Salsa. Again, this homemade Salsa is sublime, but store-bought works great too! Pico de gallo is also especially delicious here.
  • Fresh lime and/or cilantro. A squeeze of fresh lime and a sprig or two of cilantro make such a great addition to these quesadillas — it adds a burst of freshness and acidity.
  • Hot sauce.

View of Black Bean Quesadilla triangles, with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, chili lime sauce and cilantro on the side.

STORAGE

Black Bean Quesadilla Storage/Freezing

These quesadillas store really nice (un-cooked) in the fridge for up to 5 days. We tightly wrap each one individually and put them all in a large airtight bag or container. Cook them straight from the fridge, adding a minute or two on cook time. Once cooked (in a skillet or air fryer), these quesadillas are best enjoyed promptly and don’t store especially well.

Want to freeze your Black Bean Quesadillas? Here’s a wonderful resource that goes into depth about freezing, thawing, and re-heating leftovers!

QUICK TIP

This recipe is aimed at being simple, but the one thing we highly recommend is grating your own cheese to ensure a nice, even melt. Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives that keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag, but they also keep the cheese from melting smoothly in these quesadillas.

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Black Bean Quesadillas

5 from 1 vote
These Black Bean Quesadillas are loaded with plant-based protein, veggies, and good-for-you ingredients. They pack a serious punch of flavor and are so easy to make. Don't worry -- you won't be missing the meat. These quesadillas are surprisingly very filling!
Print Recipe

Black Bean Quesadillas

5 from 1 vote
These Black Bean Quesadillas are loaded with plant-based protein, veggies, and good-for-you ingredients. They pack a serious punch of flavor and are so easy to make. Don't worry -- you won't be missing the meat. These quesadillas are surprisingly very filling!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword black bean quesadillas
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 8 quesadillas
Calories 337kcal
Cost $6.82

Equipment

  • Air Fryer OR Skillet (and toothpicks if using an air fryer)
  • Cooking spray or vegetable/canola oil

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.; 432g) southwestern corn (or 1-1/4 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, drained & diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.; 226g) sharp Cheddar cheese (Note 1)
  • 1 pkt (1 oz.; 28g) taco seasoning (Note 2)
  • 8 flour tortillas (Note 3)
  • 1 pkg (6 oz; 170g) Laughing Cow® Cheese (Note 4)
  • Optional: serve with the chili-lime dipping sauce -- See Note 5
  • Other topping ideas: fat-free/lite sour cream, guacamole or avocado, salsa, fresh lime

Instructions

  • PREP: If using un-cooked tortillas, warm through in a skillet according to package directions and set aside (these tortillas need to be cooked through before assembling quesdillas regardless of what cooking method (skillet or air fryer) is used). If using already cooked tortillas, no prep needed there. Drain and rinse beans. Drain corn. Drain and dice red pepper strips. Finely chop cilantro. Grate Cheddar cheese.
  • COMBINE: In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Mix gently with a wooden spoon to combine and evenly coat everything in the taco seasoning.
  • ASSEMBLE: Spread 1 cheese wedge per tortilla (spread just on the bottom half of the tortilla). Divide the filling on top of the spread cheese-- this is about 1/2 cup filling per tortilla. Fold together to form a quesadilla and press together firmly. Cook in a skillet or in the air fryer; directions follow.
  • SKILLET: Use a pastry brush to coat both sides of the quesadillas with some oil (or spray both sides with cooking oil). Add a quesadilla to a dry non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Cover skillet with lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove lid, carefully flip quesadilla and press down lightly with spatula to encourage cohesion. Cook, uncovered for another 2-3 minutes or until crispy, browned, and cheesy filling has melted. It's important to keep the heat low so the cheese can melt before the tortilla browns too much (reduce heat if tortilla is browning before cheese is melted).
  • AIR FRYER: Stick toothpicks through the 2 corners of the quesadillas. Generously spray both sides of the quesadilla with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in air fryer insert, giving each plenty of space. Cook at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through or until quesadillas are crisp, golden, and the cheese is melted. (Note 6) When you go to flip, press the quesadilla close together to promote the melted cheese to stick. Quesadillas have the tendency to open even with toothpicks. Remove carefully from the air fryer and let cool a couple minutes before cutting and serving.
  • ENJOY: Slice quesadillas into triangles then serve with your favorite toppings/sauces. We love the quesadilla sauce (Note 4), sour cream, guacamole/avocado, or salsa!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Cheese: This is about 2 cups grated cheese. We recommend freshly grating your own to avoid waxy quesadillas. We like sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar for maximum flavor!
Note 2: Taco seasoning: Taco seasoning packets can vary in the spice level and even in overall flavor. We love McCormick® or Old El Paso® mild taco seasoning packets. Otherwise, we usually use a homemade taco seasoning blend. If you're concerned about heat, be sure to pick a packet that is labeled mild.
Here's our homemade blend: 1 tablespoon ground chili powder, 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper
Note 3: Tortillas: We love these unbaked tortillas by TortillaLand® (not sponsored). They are generally found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the cheese and have the best flavor. We definitely prefer unbaked tortillas that can be warmed up on the stovetop — they fold up better and taste fresher.
Note 4: Laughing Cow® Cheese: We love the creaminess this cheese adds, but if you don't have access to it, the quesadillas are still tasty. We would just recommend having some creamy elements for topping the quesadillas like sour cream or guacamole.
Note 5: The BEST quesadilla sauce: Combine 1/2 cup regular mayo, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon lime zest, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.) Mix until smooth; refrigerate until ready to use.
Note 6: Air frying: Air fryers do vary a bit from brand to brand, so the timing for quesadillas may need to be slightly tweaked for your specific model. Also keep in mind that after the initial air fry, the machine is warmed up and will cook subsequent batches a bit quicker.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.8g | Protein: 14.3g | Fat: 13.1g | Cholesterol: 27.8mg | Sodium: 850.6mg | Fiber: 5.5g | Sugar: 3.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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2 Comments

  1. Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use vegan cheeses and other tortillas as i dont have tortillaland in Singapore i never had black bean quesadillas before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

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