Cheese-less Black Bean and “Cheez” Quesadillas

There’s not a lot going on in my garden this time of year, but there is a lot of cooking going on in my kitchen!  Today, I was craving a quesadilla for lunch.  One problem.  Now that we’re eating a more “plant strong” diet, we don’t have cheese in the house anymore.

Turning to the internet, I was able to find an abundance of recipes for vegan quesadillas.  However, most of them simply substituted soy cheese in place of the dairy.  Not what I was looking for.

After a little digging, I finally came across an interesting recipe for “No-Queso Quesadillas” at the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen blog, and decided to put it to work to fulfill my craving.  I stuck to the recipe, for the most part, and just made a few minor changes.

The results were fabulous!  Everyone gobbled these quesadillas down for lunch — even my dear ones who are most in rebellion against our new diet changes.

Here’s the recipe for anyone else who’d like to try a plant strong version of this simple comfort food…

Ingredients for cheez sauce:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup rice milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard

1/8 cup raw cashews

1-4 oz. can diced green chilies


Put all sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, and stir as you bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring, for at least 2 minutes after boiling, and sauce becomes thick and smooth.  Set aside.

Filling for Quesadilla:

refried black beans.  I made my own, but you can use canned, if you prefer, or are short on time.

To make your own pot of black beans, take 2 cups of dried black beans and rinse well under water.  Place into a stock pot and cover with about 5-6 inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for two hours.  Add 1 tbsp. salt to beans, and continue to simmer with lid on for another hour.

To re-fry the beans, heat a large skillet over high heat (I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet for this).  When skillet is hot, ladel scoops of beans in (try to strain out some, but not all of the water first), being careful to stand back a ways at first, as the liquid will create quite a hot steam and may also splatter a bit.  Add enough beans to cover the bottom of the skillet, and let them “fry” for a minute or so.  Then, use a potato masher to mash the beans.  If they are too dry, you can add some more of the bean water into the skillet.  If they are too liquidy, simply let the mashed beans cook a little longer – they will start to thicken up.

To Assemble the Quesadillas:

Heat a large, non-stick griddle and place one flour tortilla on it (I like to use uncooked tortillas and let them cook while I’m making the quesadilla).  Cook the tortilla for a few seconds, then flip to the other side.  Spoon some of the “cheez” sauce onto half of the tortilla, then spoon black beans over the cheez, and fold the tortilla in half over the filling.  Let cook for a minute or two, until tortilla starts to get brown and crispy, then carefully flip tortilla over and cook on other side until brown and crispy.  Remove to cutting board to let cool.  When cooled off a little, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut quesadilla in half, then serve.

I love how easy these were to make, and how they definitely satisfied my quesadilla craving.  I guess going cheese-less isn’t so difficult, after all!





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