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
4.91 stars (31 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 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
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. Hi Martha. I have 2 ebooks on my website. If you look at the top of the page, you will see a tab called ‘ebooks.’ If you click on this tab, you will see the ebooks. Thank you for your interest! I hope this helps.

  1. Really excited to try. How long can it keep or be made ahead of time? Could it be frozen? Hoping to save some time with meal prep. Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachel. Yes, you could make the cheese ahead of time and keep it in either a fridge or freezer. It holds up well either way. I hope this helps!

  2. Vegan  cheese was a hit! My non vegan husband liked it. Can’t wait to eat this today and best of all I made it myself! 

  3. These. My whole family ate them!! They are fabulous!!  I would give them an 11/10!! Definitely a nee dinner staple for us. We used beans and rice then topped them with salsa and lettuce. Delicious ? 

  4. Super delicious! The flavor of the cashew cheese is totally on point and brings such a great depth of flavor to the quesadillas. I used black beans, steamed kale and sautéed mushrooms as our veggies as that is what we had on hand.

    I give this recipe a 10/10… 5 stars! We will be putting this into heavy rotation in our house. Thanks for another great recipe, Nora!

  5. given the process of making the cheese, could i use cashew butter? i ran out of cashews and i am too impatient to wait until they arrive to make this!

  6. These are so delicious!  I was a bit concerned re the Mexican cheese being tasty, but it was amazing.  I put grated sweet potatoes, onion, and sweet corn in the mix.  Will be going on high rotation in my house! 

    1. Thanks so much, Tracey, for your review! I’m really glad you guys love the quesadillas, and thrilled they will be added to your rotation meals! Happy cooking!

  7. Can I use the oven? I make the meat type wrapped in foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes each side.

  8. These were soooo delicious! I’m keeping them all for myself. Your recipes always impress me. Thanks and keep cooking….yummm

    1. Hi Taursha. I’m glad you love the quesadillas! Thank you for sharing your positive comments, and for using my recipes! Happy cooking!

  9. These were amazing, we had them with your sour cream and coleslaw. Everyone wanted seconds. They were so quick and easy to make but really tasty.

    We used butternut squash which worked really well. Will be having these regularly.

    1. I haven’t tried it, but the mixture is VERY thick. I think the cashews might not break down all the way and you’d end up having to add liquid, which would change the texture. I could be wrong though!

    1. Nope, not here. They actually turn into a powder first, then they will release their oils and get very smooth and creamy, like cashew butter. I describe the process with photos in the post above.

      1. I tried this with a mix of almonds and sunflower seeds, and it worked beautifully. Just needed to add a good bit more salsa to get it to the right consistency. Next time I’ll try it with just sunflower seeds. It’s so good, I’m eating it on tortilla chips, and I’m not sure it’s going to make it onto the quesadilla!

  10. Delicious! Even my carnivores liked it. I doubled the spices and left out the nutritional yeast per medical medium recommendation. Thank you for a great recipe!!

  11. I an going to make this for dinner tonight and am wondering if this will be able to serve 5 people? Can’t wait to try this recipe out!

    1. It depends on the appetites of the people honestly. Probably, especially if you round out the meal with rice and/or beans. It serves my family of 5 with a few picky kids who don’t always eat a ton.

  12. I have made this recipe probably once a week for the past few months. It’s absolutely delicious!! I’ve served these to non-vegans in several occasions and they looove it and don’t even miss the cheese at all!
    I usually add whatever veggies I have/want, and find it easier to use one tortilla with toppings on one half and then fold it. Makes it easier to flip it. Absolute perfection!

  13. Hello, thanks for the recipe 🙂 I was wondering, how can I replace the salsa ? Or can I make the cheese without the salsa ? Will it still taste good ?

    1. You can leave it out if needed, it just adds flavor. You could use tomato sauce maybe instead, but it won’t be as flavorful.

  14. Almost killed my NutriBullet! Should I have used a food processor instead? I did pre-soak the raw cashews even though you said it wasn’t necessary. Is that where I went wrong? I also had to add vegetable broth while trying to blend the cashews because the mixture really wasn’t moving in the NutriBullet. I have to say though, these quesadillas were tasty, and oddly enough, the leftover were even better the second day (and I ate them cold!)

    1. Yes, I always make this in a food processor, as it’s too thick for a blender. I’m glad it was still tasty! But yes, make in a food processor next time. It will be much easier!

  15. I had high expectations for this recipe… looked forward to it all week. Was amazed by the cashew cheese. Once I started cooking the quesadillas, though, I thought it would be a low likelihood they would be any good. There was no way the veggies would cook enough. I STAND CORRECTED! Wowowow what an amazing recipe. And no gross & greasy feeling like you’d get with a traditional quesadilla ? Veganism sells itself IMO. I know better than to doubt anything from Nora Cooks!

  16. Looks so good! Do you cook the mushrooms, squash and zucchini before putting in the tortillas at all? Or do they cook enough inside the tortillas?

  17. This was amazing! I can’t believe how easy the cashew cheese sauce was, and how delicious. I will definitely be making this again—even my non-vegan husband devoured it.

      1. Is there a way to reduce the sodium in these? I want to make for my baby but have to watch sodium intake. Thanks! They look delicious and super easy!

        1. Just leave out the salt, and use no salt added or low sodium canned black beans. That will pretty much eliminate all sodium. 🙂

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