This Mexican sweet potato and black bean quesadillas recipe is served hot off the skillet and loaded with flavor.
You're about to level up your cooking game with an authentic antojito!
Dating back to the 16th century, quesadillas come from central and northern Mexico.
The Aztecs used to stuff corn tortillas with pumpkin and squash until Spanish settlers brought over animals for cheese. Alas, the quesadilla was born.
Hundreds of years later, this snack remains one of the most popular foods all across Mexico!
Like sopes, quesadillas are an antojito (Mexican street food, finger food, or appetizer). Although they are considered a snack, quesadillas also make a filling lunch or dinner!
You're going to need to forget a few things about making quesadillas to re-learn how it's done in Mexico... because it's the right way!
What about flour tortillas?
If you think a quesadilla involves melting cheddar cheese between two store-bought flour tortillas, we are so excited for you to try this recipe!
A traditional quesadilla begins with a homemade corn tortilla using masa harina (a special corn flour found in most ethnic aisles of the grocery store).
You can certainly make flour tortillas if you prefer, but this is more commonly found in Northern Mexico or the USA.
Our goal is to keep this traditional Mexican dish true to its roots (just with a plant-based twist). This is why we love making quesadillas with corn tortillas, but it's super easy to swap out one for the other!
What about the cheese?
Cheese is an essential part of any great quesadilla.
Oaxaca cheese is commonly used because it's fairly mild in taste, but it's also extremely melty, stretchy, and sticky.
We're in the middle of developing a vegan Oaxaca cheese (recipe coming soon), but dairy-free mozzarella or Monterey Jack make the perfect replacements!
What can I serve these with?
This recipe is 100% vegan, gluten-free, made without oil. Let's get cooking!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: Mexican quesadillas start with corn tortillas, which are crucial to deliver a flavorful dish. Try making your own corn tortillas for a superior flavor and texture. We love using corn because it tastes slightly sweet and nutty (plus, it adds to the authenticity).
Health: with fewer calories, more fiber, and less fat, corn tortillas outshine their flour counterpart. Both have their place, but we appreciate being able to eat almost twice the amount of corn tortillas for every flour tortilla.
Taste: we use a vegan mozzarella in this recipe that delivers a mellow, earthy flavor. It's similar to Oaxaca cheese, which is traditionally used in Mexican quesadillas. The important thing to remember is to use a stretchy and melty vegan cheese. That way, your quesadilla will stay together!
Health: vegan cheese is typically made with a base of nuts, providing you with heart-healthy fats (yay nuts!). Another reason you should eat dairy-free cheese is to lower your saturated fat consumption! Why? It's linked to chronic conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol (yikes).
Taste: a mild starch with a sweet, creamy texture, sweet potatoes are a no-brainer to balance out spicy Mexican dishes. Served inside a fresh corn tortilla, they pair perfectly with pico de gallo and guacamole.
Health: sweet potatoes are a powerhouse when it comes to health. In just one single cup of this orange vegetable, there is over 700% of your daily vitamin A, 65% vitamin C, and 50% manganese.
Fun fact: sweet potatoes are actually completely different from yams in taste and texture. You'd be hard-pressed to find real yams at North American grocery stores since they're native to Africa. Legend has it, in the 1930's orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were labeled as yams by growers in Louisiana to differentiate themselves from other states. Now you know where the confusion started!
Taste: when cooked from dry, black beans take on a sweet flavor and ultra-creamy texture. They pair exceptionally well with sweet potatoes and increase the heartiness of this dish.
Health: because of the high fiber content, black beans keep us feeling full for longer. There are even studies showing the role of fiber in controlling insulin levels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Looks like beans are pretty magical after all!
If you have questions about his recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: prepare the tortillas by mixing masa harina with water and salt. For more details, we have a full guide to making corn tortillas. Don't cook them until the rest of the ingredients are prepped!
Step 2: remove the cooked sweet potato skins and add the inner flesh to a mixing bowl. Season with garlic powder and salt and mash it all together. Once the sweet potato is mashed to your preference, mix in the cooked black beans.
Step 3: preheat a cast-iron skillet up to medium. To make the quesadillas, press each ball of dough with a tortilla press or roll it out until quite thin. Add this into the skillet and cook for 30-40 seconds on the first side.
Step 4: flip the tortilla, then sprinkle a handful of grated vegan cheese and spread some filling mixture on one half. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape.
Step 5: cook on both sides until the cheese is melted and the outsides are crispy with brown spots. Continue this process until there is no more sweet potato and bean mixture or cheese left!
Fridge: store these quesadillas in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: if you won't be able to get through the quesadillas within 3 days, freeze them in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to 2-3 months. If you make a large batch, you can also freeze the filling and tortillas separately.
Reheat: the best way to reheat these is on a cast iron skillet on medium for 30-40 seconds per side to crisp them up again. If you don't have time, heat the quesadillas in your microwave in 15-20 second bursts.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Try your favorite fillings (or whatever needs to be cleared out of your fridge). This recipe is so easily customizable, which is why it's a favorite of ours!
- Start with a lower heat and increase it from there. That way, you know your cheese has time to melt.
- Use a comal or cast-iron skillet for the best crisp and even cook.
- Fold the tortillas in half rather than stack them to make flipping easier and ensure nothing falls out.
- Grate your own cheese instead of buying pre-shredded to make sure the melt-ability is superior (pre-shredded cheese often contains preservatives to prevent clumping).
- Experiment with different cheeses since it's the most important piece to a quesadilla. You may have to shop around to find a that perfect stretchy and melty vegan cheese!
- If you're not serving the quesadillas right away, keep them warm in an oven set at 200 degrees F.
- The best vegan cheese to emulate Oaxaca cheese is mozzarella or Monterey Jack.
🍴 Tasting notes
We love these vegan quesadillas, and we know you will too. They're:
If you try this quesadilla recipe, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Mexican Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas Recipe
- Cutting board
- Various sized mixing bowls
- Tortilla press
- Comal or cast-iron skillet
- To begin, prep the corn tortillas by mixing masa harina with water and salt. Knead until you have a ball of dough, then pinch off small pieces (about the size of a golf ball). Cover the dough balls with a tea towel until you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Remove the sweet potato skins and add the orange flesh to a mixing bowl. Add garlic powder and salt to taste, then mash together with a fork. Once the sweet potato is mashed to your preference, mix in the cooked black beans. Set aside.
- Make sure the cheese is shredded, then preheat a cast-iron skillet up to medium. To make the quesadillas, press each ball of dough with a tortilla press or roll it out until quite thin. Add this into the skillet and cook for 30-40 seconds on the first side.
- Flip the tortilla, then add a handful of grated vegan mozzarella and a spoonful of the sweet potato and black bean mixture to one half of the tortilla. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape.
- Cook on both sides until the cheese is melted and the outsides are crispy with brown spots. Continue this process until there is no more sweet potato and bean mixture or cheese left.
- Note: these quesadillas can be made with flour or store-bought corn tortillas if you're short on time. Follow the same cooking steps as above, although we don't recommend folding store-bought corn tortillas since they are more likely to crack.
- To avoid cracks, spread the cheese and filling across the whole tortilla in the skillet and place a completely new one on top before flipping.
- Prep a big batch of sweet potatoes and black beans at the beginning of the week to save you time when making the quesadillas.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty Mexican recipes, check out our:
- Easy sopes recipe for an authentic Mexican snack that will easily satisfy your hunger pangs.
- Mexican black bean soup to enjoy a recipe that's light on the wallet but big on taste and nutrition!
- Crispy black bean tacos for a quick, easy, and delicious weekday dinner you can smother in avocado cream sauce.
- Southwest sweet potato and bean salad because these two ingredients just belong together.
- Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas if you want an easy enchilada recipe that's unbelievably delicious!
Yes you can use flour tortillas for this recipe. We prefer the taste of corn for quesadillas, but both are tasty! It's best if you make your own flour tortillas.
These quesadillas are 100% oil-free. We find they cook best on a dry cast-iron skillet. You can use a small amount if you're worried about sticking.
Since we use corn tortillas, these quesadillas are gluten-free.
We don't recommend making the full quesadillas ahead of time since they will lose their crisp. However, you can prep the filling beforehand to save time.