Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

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  • Makes 4 large quesadillas
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These quesadillas, from Plant-Strong: Discover the World's Healthiest Diet, are a regular with the Engine 2 plant-strong Hall family. They are simple to make and very satisfying.

By Rip Esselstyn,


  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 8 ounces vegetarian, no added oil, re-fried beans
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 8 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced (optional and HOT)
  • 6-8 whole-wheat tortillas


  • Preheat oven to 375º F.  Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • An hour before you plan to eat, peel and quarter the sweet potatoes.
  • Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, until soft.
  • In the meantime, prepare rice in a rice cooker or on stove top as directed.
  • Remove sweet potatoes from oven and toss into a mixing bowl. Mash sweet potatoes with the salsa, rice and fresh spinach.
  • Place sweet potato mash in a sauce pan and mix in black beans and refried beans, heating mixture thoroughly over medium heat.   Add onion powder, chili powder and cumin to taste and stir.
  • Place a tortilla in a frying pan on medium heat, and slather the side facing up with sweet potato and bean mixture.  Add jalapeños if desired.
  • Place another whole wheat tortilla on top.  Press down on top tortilla with spatula with pan on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Flip with spatula and cook for another three minutes.
  • Voila! Cut into desired number of sections. Serve topped with salsa.
  • Tip: Also try this with black-eyed peas instead of the black beans or any other favorite beans.

Comments (80)

(5 from 59 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I just used a whole can of beans and refried beans instead of 8oz of each, and doubled all the spices. Turned out delicious. It calls for 3 min cook time on each side for the tortillas but I flipped mine after 1 min on medium heat and they were pretty crispy, they would definitely be burned after 3 mins.

Tara Gradoville

It’s vegan


Honestly amazing

Karin Lucas

Loved it!!

Kristen Pi

I love this recipe so much! It is now part of our regular meal rotation.

Cheryl Comer

Made this today and it was awesome will add cilantro and lime next time!

Karyn Cassidy

Love, love, love this! Simply delicious and super quick and easy to make, especially if you have ingredients on hand. I just popped my sweet potato in the microwave and used already cooked rice. I found oil free tortillas from La Tortilla Factory in my local Hannaford in NH.


Save a little water from the can and add while processing.


I buy canned pinto beans and just drain, rinse and pulse them in the food processor until they are refried consistency, works great! I like the no salt organic brand Eden.

Barbara B.

Delicious, however, the recipe is misnamed, as"quesadilla", indicates the presence of cheese. You made no mention of cheese.


Best Quesadillas ever!! I have made them a few times. They are so filling, not to mention delicious!! Never thought I would enjoy sweet potatoes in them, but that is what makes it so good!


What quantity in cups for the cooked sweet potato?


Delicious & I wouldn’t change a thing!!


How about wrapping in butter lettuce leaves? I do that for the “tuna salad” and it’s delicious.

Vicki Koger

All the brands of whole wheat tortillas we have here have shortening in them! Suggestions for brands that don’t?


Don't know if you have a Whole Foods near you but they have a store brand (365) (only about 6" in diameter that are very healthy. We make little lunch burritos out of them all the time.

Megan Edwards

Hi Vicki, We love the Ezekiel sprouted whole grain tortillas. You can find a link to purchase those (and other WFPB tortilla products we endorse) within this article: Let us know how it goes!


They’re wonderful and easy to make! Our go-to!


These look so good I can't wait to make them. How many servings does this recipe make? Thank you!

Coleen McKenna

Looks like it makes 4 large quesadillas.


When the sweet potatoes bake in the oven, they develop a tough, chewy skin. I decided not to peel them before baking and then just scoop out the cooked flesh. We slather the quesadillas with pico de gallo and guacamole. I frequently make a double batch and freeze half the filling for later.


That's a great idea Brenda. I find sweet potatoes do the same. It's not like the 'old days' when we could slather them in oil. I appreciate your comment - quite helpful.

Liane Lyle

Why does everything have to taste like chili and hot peppers to have any flavour????


I agree. I have issues with GERD/Reflux, and I am having hard time finding recipes that are not spicy or use those triggering ingredients (tomato sauce, garlic, onions, curry...)


I use recipes as a guide rather than following exactly. Example: I always cut chili powder amount at least in half in any recipe. For salsa often times a diced tomato can be subbed which doesn’t bother my heartburn. And the jalapeño… ha ha… no way but it does say optional.

Kim Gill

Recipe says only 1 sweet potatoe?


Our family's favorite dinner!


Very tasty and flavorful


Really delicious. I always have cooked rice on hand and I just microwaved the sweet potato and it massively cut prep time.


Looks amazing, though I'm prob gonna use a pitta bread-done in the toster instead of tortillas as i'm lazy and also frozen spinach. And obviously a mountain of Nooch! :) And yes, hummus! Need more crunch in my WFPB life and these look like just the ticket! Thankyou, Rip, you're an inspiration!


To cut down on time I take a sweet potato and slice it into half inch rounds and steam it in the microwave so it’s just ready in minutes instead of the oven

Mark Atkins

Loved these, and my non-WFPB bride did too!


I just made these and they are delicious and very filling! I used a whole can of refried beans and skipped the black beans, and added lots of fresh cilantro and lime juice. I froze 3 individual servings of the filling and have my tortillas frozen, so I will enjoy them 3 more times. They are a keeper!

Kedyn Apelu

Add a couple of bay leaves, lime zest and cilantro to the rice and it tastes like chipotle rice in your quesadilla twooooh!

Susan Packwood

The filling was really good. I used a low carb tortilla which was not good and very dry. Not sure if regular tortilla would have been better. Rather labor intensive


I used chickpeas instead of black beans and hummus instead of refried beans because it was what I had. But I did not enjoy it. However I'm giving this a 4 star rating because surely the original recipe is better haha.


Best new recipe I’ve tried in a long time!

Bob K

Does anyone know if you do not finish it all if it can be frozen. I have quite a bit left over and do not want to toss it. It is so delicious.


I am pretty shocked... I wanted to try these because I love sweet potatoe and black beans. They go so well together. The problem is I have tried lots of forks over knives recipes and they just fall short every time in the flavor dep. However these are amazing. Even my super picky son loved them!!! Huge hit and will make these again. Also super easy to throw together. We did use white rice and the tortillas you cook from Costco.


We have vegetarian refried beans in cans here but they have some type of oil in them so it would seem you are suppose to make it yourself. We can also buy salsa in jars at the grocery store but it’s really easy to make in a blender. I only came upon this site trying to see what kind of recipe I might want to try; sorry no one answered you.

Amie King

These are excellent! Very easy, tasty, and filling.


This may be because I am not American or live in America but do you make the refried beans from scratch? And salsa, is that something you buy from a store or do you have to make that too? We don't use these ingredients in Australia.


Refried beans come in a can here. You could just mash a can of pinto (or white) beans as a replacement. There's also an easy slow-cooker no-refried beans recipe on if you want to cook them from dry beans. (It makes the equivalent of 4 cans... You can freeze excess.) No salsa? As a Texan, that literally blows my mind. You could use just chopped fresh tomatoes (with the juices), a bit of minced onion, some cilantro (I think outside the US you just call it coriander), and a minced jalapeño if you want some kick... Or just a can of fire-roasted tomatoes... (Maybe drain the liquid into a bowl, use the tomatoes, then add some of the juice back into your quesadillas mix if it's too dry.)


You can buy refried beans and salsa in every supermarket large or small in Australia in the Mexican food section. Including in rural areas.


So delicious!!! My family also loves it!!


I froze the leftover filling. Later I thawed and heated the filling in the microwave, then made the quesadillas. Quick and delicious dinner!


Good eats, not to hard to make, I substituted refridge beans with a can of pinto beans. I really enjoyed it !


This was so filling and delicious. I used sautéed collard greens from the night before instead of spinach. I switched to a Cauliflower burrito wrap. I will be making this again. Great introduction as I slowly make a transition to this new healthy lifestyle.


Delicious and satisfying. Easy to make. Enjoyed by the whole family.

Chel Ladida

I am completely shocked and happily surprised how delicious and satisfying these were when I ate them. Excellent recipe and easy.

Michael Williams

I'm not a vegan, far from it. But this meal made me consider batting for the vegan team. Full of flavour and yum yums. Would recommend to anyone wanting to cleanse the toxins. Definitely something to make for your family as there is plenty to go around. If I had a restaurant this would definitely go on the vegan menu. Feeling Blessed

Nannette Gonzalez

Thank you for this delicious recipe! I'm so amazed how this quesadilla was so much tastier than a gross cheese quesadilla!


It’s taken me 5 years to put sweet potatoes in my Mexican dishes…always thought it would taste too sweet. I cannot believe I waited that long. This is seriously one of my favorite things I’ve tried in my wfpb journey.


This is a favourite in our household. All the kids enjoy it too! Easy to make, really filling and you can easily add more to make extras for lunches etc too.


This is a favourite in our household. All the kids enjoy it too! Easy to make, really filling and you can easily add more to make extras for lunches etc too.


Making this for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, it’s so good! We use corn instead of rice and usually do burritos, but there’s no wrong way to do it.

Mary Ann

This was excellent. It makes a lot so I put some in the freezer. We’ll see how well it warms up later. I like mine spicy so I used some jalapeños on top.


Did you take any out of the freezer yet? If so, how was it? I made some yesterday and my family truly enjoyed it.


You are right, there is no wrong way to make this recipe. I have used different beans as well as greens, I've left some things out and added others. It is always tasty and filling and healthy! It gets my thumbs up!


This was great. I made the sweet potatos in the instapot and thawed frozen brown rice, black beans and refried beans. I make big batches of beans and rice and cook and vaccuseal them in 2Cup portions. This way I can throw together a meal alot quicker. I use my instapot and rice cooker alot. Otherwise yes- this would have taken a long time. But what great taste! I added a can of tomato paste, real onion instead of the powder, more of the spices and a jalapeno in the mix. I didn't have spinach so I threw in some kale. Spinach would be better but the kale was not bad. But the flavor is fantastic. This recipe is a keeper.


Outstanding! My picky family ate this up: omnivore wife, 11, 8 & 3 year olds kids all loved it. We doubled the recipe and froze it for later. We've had it twice. So good. Changes I made: half salsa. This was an attempt to keep spiciness down for kids. Flavor and consistency was all good. Also, wrapped the sweet potatoes in foil for baking w skin on. Super juicy after an hour plus. I also added sweet corn. I had a bag of frozen and it seemed appropriate. We garnished w pickled red onions. Live this recipe.


Very good! The sweet compliments the spicy! I would double it next time so that I could use the whole can of beans. I make my own Pico de gallo, so I used that. I like spicy foods, so I added another jalapeño. Even my meat eating fiancé went back for seconds!


This has become a regular in my house. We like it topped with salsa and avocado. It satisfies that junk food craving in a healthy way.


So good! My husband and I loved them. Subbed sweet rice for corn as someone suggested to make it a bit “crunchier”. Next time I’m going to put them in the tortillas and air fry for crunchier tortilla!

Ryan & Joanna

Delicious. Made with cauliflower rice as mentioned in another comment and boiled the sweet potato as I prefer it that way. Salt and pepper to taste and my wife and I were very impressed. Next time I won’t use black beans though unless I process them as I really enjoyed just the nice texture of the dish without the chewy crunch of black beans. Will be a regular dish for us!


Delicious! I just made these! I substituted cauliflower rice for the brown rice. Mmmmm.

Deborah Likens

These were very yummy. And very filling. In my case I put too much filling in my Ezekial tortillas. So next time I will use less. I also think I would like them crunchier! So just some tweaking on how I put them together. This will be a staple for us$

amy wing

I use my Instant Pot to steam sweet potatoes every weekend, I cook 5-6 in a batch, this allows me to use them throughout the week in recipes, this is the perfect recipe to use some for.


Delicious!! Super easy!


Can’t eat spinach. Any other suggestions for a replacement ?

L. March

My husband and I enjoyed this recipe and found it both tasty and filling. However, I doubt I would make it again because it is too much fuss and mess for a pretty simple meal. Three pots and pans were to cook the rice, one to heat the mash, and one to heat the actual quesadilla. The kitchen looked like I had just made Christmas dinner Lol. There has to be an easier way to make a healthy quesadilla.


I am thinking about making the filling ... but then dehydrating the filling... to rehydrate for a quick quesadilla for camping.... probably would work for home also.... make a 4x batch, dehydrate... and store in jars until ready for a quick meal?

Barbara R.

This did not disappoint! So delicious and flavorful. I added some smoked paprika which is my go-to seasoning when I'm making tacos or fajitas and I loved it!

Heather D

Ohhhhh yes - I will add the paprika - perfect!


Quesadilla's are my all-time favorite and this recipe did not disappoint. I didn't have jalapenos on hand but I swapped it with sweet peppers and it was so good!

ian h.

A restaurant I used to work at had the most delicious sweet potato black bean quesadilla that got topped with a jicama slaw. This is the closest I've ever gotten to recreating it. I usually add a dash of cinnamon for that extra little something.


Excellent hearty snack


Two of my favorite things come together - delicious!


This dish is delicious, nutritious and so easy! I made it exactly as the recipe says, for I feel that is the only way you can review a recipe. Next time I will try adding tomatoes and red onions to get more veggies in and serve with more salsa on the side. Definitely going into my rotation! I will also double it so I have something quick in the fridge to heat up. Tastes just as good warmed up in a bowl without the tortilla. Great healthy dish my whole family enjoyed! Thank you!


Make the whole batch and reheat throughout the week! So easy, affordable, and delicious.

About the Author

Headshot of Rip Esselstyn

About the Author

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn, son of Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, was a firefighter in the Austin Fire Department when he discovered dangerously high cholesterol levels among his firefighter comrades. He led a stationwide revolution of dietary change that resulted in markedly better health, which he detailed in his bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet. Visit and follow him on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
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