Ooey, gooey, Mexican cheese made in the food processor with whole, plant foods in minutes! Add black beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and mushrooms for the BEST Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas you’ll ever eat.

vegan quesadillas stacked

I’ve had cheesy vegan quesadillas on my mind for awhile now. I know this sounds a little crazy, but sometimes I will have recipe ideas in the middle of the night or when I wake up in the morning! I guess it’s just such a big part of my life right now, I’m constantly thinking about plant based food. Don’t worry, I have a life outside of food, too. 🙂

Well, I had been ruminating on this recipe for a while, when I finally decided to just give it a try. I really did not want to rely on store bought vegan cheese shreds. They don’t taste all that great, they can’t be good for you and they are expensive. I had this crazy idea of processing cashews until they were almost like a ‘cashew butter’ and then adding some Mexican spices and seasoning in.

Well, let me tell you. It worked. It worked so much better than I could have dreamed! The Cheesy Vegan Quesadilla of my dreams has arrived.

vegan quesadillas cut up


How do you make the Mexican Cheese?

First add your cashews to a food processor and process for a full 3-4 minutes, until they start to turn to cashew butter (upper right photo). This really takes some time, so be patient! It will happen.

Once that happens, stop the food processor and add the nutritional yeast, spices + salt and salsa.

Process again, and it will quickly turn into delicious, creamy, Mexican cheese (bottom right).

The cheese will be quite thick, which is what you want, but if it seems dry and doesn’t look like the photo, simply add more salsa until the desired spreadable consistency is reached.

collage of Mexican vegan cheese for quesadillas

What else goes in Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas?

Add in a sprinkle of black beans and vegetables of choice.

I went with:


Yellow summer squash

Tomatoes &


vegan quesadilla with toppings being added

Can I make these without oil?

Yes, you can. Just use a large, quality skillet and cook them with no oil.

If you don’t use any oil, make sure the heat isn’t too high so they don’t burn. Low and slow is the way to go when not using oil!

vegan quesadilla on a pan being cooked

I hope you LOVE these Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas with Black Beans and Vegetables as much as we did. They will be a staple for summer when it’s too hot to turn on the oven but I still want delicious food to eat!

They are

Gooey with Mexican vegan cheese

Flavorful but not overly spicy

Filled with vegetabes


& Kid approved

vegan quesadillas stacked

If you make this recipe, let me know how it goes! Rate it, leave a comment and tag a photo @noracooksvegan on Instagram. Enjoy!

vegan quesadillas stacked
4.92 stars (35 ratings)

Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas with Black Beans and Vegetables

Ooey, gooey, Mexican cheese made in the food processor with whole, plant foods in minutes! Add black beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and mushrooms for the BEST Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas you'll ever eat.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Mexican Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons mild salsa

The rest

  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped small
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped small
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped small
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped small or sliced
  • 8 tortillas (8-10 inch size), whole grain, gluten free or white if preferred*


Mexican Cheese

  • In a food processor, add the cashews and process for 3-4 minutes until they start to get buttery. This will take 3-4 minutes, so be patient! (see photos above for reference)
  • Add in the nutritional yeast, spices, salt and salsa, and process again until smooth and creamy. If it seems too dry, add a little more salsa. Set aside.

Assemble and Cook the Quesadillas

  • Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly spray with oil, or put a little vegan butter in the pan and spread it around. (May omit both for oil free)
  • Spread some of the Mexican cheese (about 1/3 cup) on a tortilla, and sprinkle with desired amounts of black beans and vegetables. Add another tortilla on top and pat it down.
  • Carefully place the quesadilla in the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Very carefully flip it over and cook on the other side until nice and golden. Remove from skillet and cut into quarters. Repeat these steps with remaining tortillas and ingredients.
  • Serve warm with more salsa and/or vegan sour cream.


  1. For oil free tortillas, Whole Foods carries the Engine 2 brand that are oil free. Ezekial also has sprouted tortillas that are quite good and oil free. 
  2. Feel free to be creative with the vegetables! Use what you have on hand. Other good options would be corn and spinach.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 684mg | Potassium: 866mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. Made this last night. Didn’t even cook beans or veggies with it. I just fried it up in a couple of tortillas and wow. Very satisfying. I suspect I’ll be making this at least once a week from now on. Thank you.

  2. I just finished making the “Mexican” cheese. I quartered the nutritional yeast, I find almost all recipes online use way too much. It tastes almost precisely like store bought port-wine cheese. Delicious but odd to find in a quesadilla recipe.

    What is Mexican about this cheese? The salsa?

    I look forward to seeing how this plays in the quesadilla.

  3. Love how easy this cheese was to throw together in the food processor with ingredients I always have on hand. I ended up using more salsa and made simple quesadillas with just the cheese and black beans, along with your vegan sour cream recipe. Yum. Cashews are magical!

    1. Cashews ARE magical! Thanks for your fabulous review and feedback, Kelly! Your quesadillas sounds delicious!

  4. Hi Nora, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about how the Mexican cheese would turn out, but it was a huge hit! The recipe is great.
    Now, I often make the cheese as a spread for toast when I need a quick lunch and serve it with veggies.

    1. Hi Kate. I’m glad you are now a believer! Thanks for trying the recipe even though you were skeptical! I appreciate your fabulous review!

  5. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a week and finally got the ingredients. It was easy and delicious! I will totally make it again. I can imagine the salsa makes a big impact on the Mexican cheese flavor, so choose wisely. Only substitution: I added onions and cilantro to my filling instead of mushrooms, per my husband’s preference.

    1. Hi Sarah. I’m glad you made the quesadillas, and loved them! Awesome! Thanks for sharing your great feedback and review! Happy cooking!

  6. My vegan partner and I loved this one! We didn’t have yellow squash on-hand, so I subbed it with canned corn. It was really good.

    1. How wonderful that you loved the quesadillas! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review! The corn sounds like a great sub!

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