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Simple Black Bean Quesadillas become a runaway hit with the addition of roasted red pepper and a quick seasoning blend. Easy and economical, too! We love these for a quick lunch, light dinner, snack or appetizer.

Overhead image of a quesadilla cut into four sections.

An ode to the humble quesadilla: it hits a home cook’s trifecta of quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing. What’s more, they are endlessly versatile. They make a perfectly suitable lunch, snack, or easy dinner, and you can literally make quesadillas in less time than it takes to hit the drive through or wait for delivery. When hanger calls, that may be the quesadillas most admirable quality.

These black bean quesadillas are sort of next level goodness. Hearty black beans add protein to ensure this fills you up like a meal, while sweet roasted red peppers and a simple seasoning blend add flavor and color. Of course you still have the standard delights: tender tortillas, melty cheese, and all the reason in the world to break out the salsa and guacamole for generous dipping.

Ingredients & Common Substitutions

Labeled photo of black beans, tortillas, shredded cheese, onion, roasted red pepper, broth, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and olive oil arranged in prep bowls.

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions. Full ingredients & amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Black Beans: One 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed. If using your own pre-cooked beans, this will equal approximately 1.5 cups, which you will get from soaking approximately 3/4 cup of dried beans.
  • Mexican Cheese: Any blend that you like will work well, as will straightforward Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or cheddar cheese if that’s what you prefer. Confession: I usually use pre-shredded cheese in quesadillas, simply for expediency’s sake. Freshly-grated cheese might melt better, but I’ve always been satisfied with the compromise.
  • Roasted Red Peppers: These add so much flavor and vibrancy; they’re really what makes these quesadillas feel and taste a cut above the rest. Buy a jar and rest easy: the extra keep a long time in the fridge and can be used to make a pasta sauce, sauce for chicken, or pesto. They’re also great added to pasta salad and sandwiches. You can also make your own or just use chopped red bell peppers in a pinch.
  • Garlic and Onion: For more flavor!
  • Broth and Seasonings: Cooking the beans very briefly in a bit of chicken or vegetable broth and a mix of cumin, chili powder, and salt makes all the difference to elevate this recipe. This tenderizes and imparts flavor into the beans. It’s a definite cut above simply stirring all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Tortillas: You can use corn, flour tortillas, or a wheat-corn blend, as shown here.

How To Make Black Bean Quesadillas

This is an overview. Full instructions with timing & temperatures are in the recipe card below.

Step One: Make the filling. Again, this step is what takes this recipe up a notch. Sauté the onions in a bit of olive oil, then add the garlic and seasonings, followed by beans and broth. Simmer this mixture together for a mere 4 minutes to ensure your quesadillas are dotted with the most tender, delicious black beans. Stir in the chopped peppers after removing the filling from the heat.

Love lime juice? Add a squeeze to the bean mixture along with the peppers.

Cast iron skillet filled with a mixture of cooked seasoned black beans and roasted red peppers.

Step Two: Prep toppings. Get toppings and sides ready before getting started with assembly, so you can enjoy the quesadillas nice and hot as they come off the skillet. Sour cream, salsa, avocado, chopped cilantro, you get the idea.

Step Three: Assemble quesadillas. Use a clean skillet over medium-high heat, and place a tortilla down, followed by a thin layer of cheese, a fairly generous layer of the black bean mixture, another layer of cheese, and another tortilla. Working in this order ensures the filling is secure and the tortillas stick well to the cheese as it melts. Press, flip, and cook until both sides have brown spots and are lightly crisp.

Of course, if you prefer to make a smaller batch, you can simply fill half of each tortilla with the same layers — cheese, bean mixture, cheese — then fold the other half over on top of it.

Remove, cut into wedges, pull apart with great joy, and serve!

Close up of a cheese pull as two wedges of quesadilla are pulled apart.

How can I keep quesadillas warm?

The simplest way to keep quesadillas warm is to place them on a baking sheet in an oven at 300 degrees F. This makes it easy to serve quesadillas to a crowd and keep them hot and fresh!

Are canned black beans cooked?

Yes; canned black beans are fully cooked and technically ready to eat straight from the can, unlike dried beans which are even more economical but require a lengthy soak and simmer. Canned black beans do, however, typically require a good rinsing and seasoning for optimal texture and flavor in casseroles, quesadillas, and similar cooked recipes.

Why do you rinse canned black beans?

Canned black beans are packed in a solution of water and preservatives. This includes significant amounts of salt and starch. Failing to rinse this off of your beans prior to cooking can change the texture and sodium content of your dish in unpleasant ways.

Are black bean quesadillas healthy?

Yes! On the whole, black bean quesadillas can be a very healthy choice. Black beans are an excellent source of fiber and plant-based protein. The addition of roasted red peppers contributes vitamin C and other nutrients, and you can always toss in additional vegetables. Better yet, what’s not here–excess added fat or sugar.

Variations

  • Use creamy pinto beans instead of black beans. (Normally our favorite in nachos!)
  • Love your veggies? Add corn, diced zucchini, or any other veggie you have stashed in the fridge.
  • For the carnivores, add 1/2 cup of shredded Mexican chicken, barbacoa, or ground beef taco filling.
  • To make this recipe vegan, use a dairy-free cheese substitute and vegan-certified broth. You can also skip the cheese entirely and use vegan refried beans to hold the tortillas together!

Serve Them With…

Storage & Reheating

If you have leftover fully-made quesadilla, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil, or place in your favorite prep containers, and store in the fridge. Reheat wedges on an un-greased skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat so the tortilla can get a bit crispy again.

Extra black bean mixture? Don’t toss it! Store in the refrigerator and use it for nachos, a quick taco filling, or mixed into scrambled eggs for a tasty, high-protein breakfast.

You can freeze these! Stack cooked quesadillas between layers of parchment paper and store in a freezer-safe zip-top bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. You can reheat them straight from frozen by placing on a skillet over medium-high heat, or defrost slightly in the microwave first to speed things up.

A black bean quesadilla with roasted red peppers cut into four wedges and served with avocado and salsa.

More Mexican and Tex-Mex Recipes

Try our favorite simple black bean tacos, ground beef Instant Pot tacos, sheet pan chicken fajitas, or chickpea tacos with sunset slaw next. We also love this vegetarian taco salad and the best ever cilantro lime dressing. Taco stuffed peppers and a Mexican bean salad are another terrific menu!

And who doesn’t love the appetizers and dips? Black bean salsa, 5 minute blender salsa, and homemade guacamole go with everything.

If you try these Black Bean Quesadillas, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 3 votes

Black Bean Quesadillas with Roasted Red Pepper

Quesadillas are always terrific on their own, but toss in hearty black beans, roasted red pepper, and a quick seasoning blend for a runaway hit. Easy & economical, too!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow or red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup roasted red peppers drained and coarsely chopped, see note
  • 1 cup shredded cheese Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or any Mexican blend
  • 8 flour or corn tortillas

Instructions

  • Warm olive oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to soften, then add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for another 30-60 seconds, just until fragrant.
  • Stir in the beans, followed right away by the broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and cook until the beans are slightly tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed—about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, then stir in the red peppers and set aside.
  • To assemble the quesadillas, place a clean skillet over medium-high heat and place a tortilla directly on the surface. Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese evenly over the surface of the tortilla, followed by a thin layer of the bean mixture. Finish with an additional thin layer of cheese, then top with another tortilla.
  • Using a spatula, gently press down on the top tortilla, and cook until the cheese is melted. Gently flip the quesadilla and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Remove to a cutting board and continue with additional tortillas as desired.
  • Slice into quarters and serve with salsa, sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, or lime wedges as desired.
  • Quesadillas can be kept warm on a baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees F.

Notes

  • Roasted Red Peppers: are usually sold in a jar near jarred olives and condiments. For this recipe I typically use just about or slightly less than half of a jar from Trader Joe’s that has a net weight of 16.4 ounces and a drained weight of 12.35 ounces. Anything in that zone will work — you just want to have roughly 3/4 cup of pepper once they are drained and chopped. The extra will keep a long time in the fridge and can be used to make a pasta sauce, sauce for chicken, or pesto. They’re also great added to sandwiches. You can also make your own roasted red peppers, or just use chopped red bell peppers in a pinch.
  • Taco Seasoning: makes a fun and easy shortcut for flavoring the beans as well. Use about 1 Tablespoon of your favorite. We also keep homemade taco seasoning on hand for just such occasions! 
  • Nutrition Information is an estimate per one quesadilla, assuming you use the filling to make four in total. It does not include salsa or other sides you may add.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 304 kcal, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Protein: 12 g, Fat: 13 g, Saturated Fat: 6 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 23 mg, Sodium: 1091 mg, Potassium: 185 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 404 IU, Vitamin C: 14 mg, Calcium: 251 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

This post was originally published on May 4, 2017; it has been substantially updated with a simplified recipe, new photos, variation ideas, and more helpful tips and tricks.