Recipe: Bean quesadillas

Recipe - Bean quesadillas

“Queso” is Spanish for cheese, but rest assured there is no cheese in this recipe and you actually won´t need it! Quesadillas are Mexican in origin and consist of corn or flour tortillas stuffed with a filling (usually meat or cheese) and then deep fried. Here we give you a wonderful nutritious healthy version of this lovely evening meal. Beans are nutritional powerhouses; they are full of fibre (great for bowel and digestive health) plus they release energy slowly, meaning that you have more consistent energy throughout your day. Although the recipe looks long, most of it is herbs or spices – it’s the cumin and fresh coriander that really makes this dish tasty. If you can´t find fresh coriander, then ground coriander is also good. You can also add more heat to the dish by increasing the amount of cayenne or chili powder, or take these out completely if you are sharing this meal with friends or children who don´t like spicy heat. The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavour to the dish, whilst bringing additional nutritional benefits (but you can miss it out if you don’t have any) and the grated parsnip turns golden to look like melted cheese!

Recipe: Bean quesadillas

Serves: 4
Calories: 677 total, 170 per serving


1 cup of dried black beans (soak overnight and drain)
1 leek, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
½ yellow pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup diced tomatoes (skin removed before dicing)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
Juice from ½ lime
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp rice syrup (if needed)
4 corn tortillas (or make buckwheat pancakes), cut in half
For decoration: 1 small parsnip, peeled and grated
Garnish: Chopped fresh coriander and lime slices


  1. Cook the black beans, drain and set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, cook the leek in a little water until it starts to become soft. Add the garlic, red and yellow pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding more water where necessary to prevent sticking. Add in the diced tomatoes, cumin, chili, cayenne, paprika, lime and the cooked beans, stirring well to combine. Cook for a further 10 minutes (you can cook for longer if you want – it´s okay if the beans start to soften and become slightly mushy, sometimes it makes it even more yummy!).
  3. Remove the bean mixture from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and fresh coriander. Taste – add more lime and/or rice syrup according to your taste.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tortilla, then fold over and place in a baking pan. Sprinkle over the grated parsnip. (The parsnip will look like grated cheese).
  5. Bake in a medium oven or under a grill until golden. Serve, topped with chopped coriander and a slice of lime.

We love serving this recipe with our heavenly guacamole – click for the recipe.

About the author

Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).