Caramelized Onion & Pepper Vegan Quesadillas

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  • Serves 4
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Catering for Whole Foods Market was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Not only was it a great company to work for, but also I was able to enjoy mouth-watering dishes. One of my favorites was their vegan quesadillas—the inspiration for this savory recipe. With a creamy plant-based cheese, a little spice and fresh greens, these vegan quesadillas have flavor and texture that I think is even more delicious than traditional quesadillas!

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By Katie Mae,


  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ tablespoon stoneground mustard, no-salt added
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 8 100% corn tortillas, no salt or oil added
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, loosely packed


  • Make the cheese sauce: Add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lime, stoneground mustard and water to a blender. Blend until it the sauce is creamy. Set it aside.
  • Make the onion-pepper filling: Place a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and bell pepper. Stir in the cumin and chili powder. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the veggies don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Then stir in a tablespoon of water and continue cooking uncovered. When the water evaporates stir in another tablespoon of water, continuing to sauté until the onions are caramelized.
  • Turn the heat to low. Pour the cheese sauce into the onion and peppers. Stir well and then cover with a lid so the mixture doesn’t dry out.
  • Make the first quesadilla: Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Let it heat for 5 minutes. Then place one of the tortillas into the pan. Set a timer, letting the first side toast for 2 minutes and then flip. Set the timer for another 2 minutes. As you wait, carefully scoop about ¼ of the filling onto the tortilla and spread it evenly, forming a single layer of peppers and onions. Layer ½ cup of spinach across the onions and peppers. Place the second tortilla on top of the spinach.
  • Once the timer goes off or the bottom side is toasted, use a large spatula to carefully flip the entire quesadilla. Toast the second tortilla for 2-3 minutes.
  • When the quesadilla is done transfer it to a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining filling to make a total of 4 quesadillas. Note that subsequent quesadillas may require less cooking time because the pan will be hotter. You may want to turn the heat down slightly after the first couple. Slice the quesadillas into triangular pieces and serve.

    Chef's Note: Soaking the cashews softens them so they become creamy when blended. If you’re using a high-powered blender such as a vitamix, the nuts do not need to be soaked.

Comments (9)

(4 from 9 votes)

Recipe Rating

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These were great! Added some salsa for added flavor. Will make again.


This is by far my favorite vegan recipe!!


The recipe makes a lot of quesadillas. It made 8. I loved the amount of food it made. It served me for two meals. I was full. I would next time add more cumin.


Mexican boyfriend says these should be called tostadas, not quesadillas. I made this with oil and salt to make it palatable. And then, still, it wasn't a recipe I'll make again. End result is not worth the effort. However, I do appreciate packing in so many vegetables into dinner. Recipe made 8 tostadas in total, enough to feed two adults.


Simple snack recipe to make. I added some extras like cilantro and a dash of vegan hot sauce.


Easy and healthy recipe but I didn’t enjoy the taste of the vegan queso. It was a bit too tangy from the lime. I have made nicer vegan cashew queso. It was also a bit too spicy for me. Personal taste I know, but I don’t think I will make this exact recipe again.

James Paroline

Does not taste like any cheese I have ever tasted... blaghech! Gave it 2 stars because it is better than most vegan foods.


Nothing will ever be the same as real cheese but there are alternatives like this recipes shows that’ll give it a cheesy favor. I use these ingredients or Daiya cheese all the time in my recipes and it works wonders because I can’t eat real cheese. This is a great tasting and healthly.

Scott L

I totally agree about the "cheese." They need to stop using the word cheese or tuna "tu-no." Don't give people expectations about the WFPB recipes. They are delicious in a different way. Make up new words for these things and they will be more enjoyable.

About the Author

Headshot of Katie Mae

About the Author

Katie Mae

Chef Katie Mae is the founder of The Culinary Gym, an online hub for learning, practicing, and mastering whole-food, plant-based cuisine. Since 2011, she has been teaching at TrueNorth Health Center and Dr. McDougall’s residential health programs. Witnessing patients radically transform their health inspired her to create an in-depth culinary curriculum to help people embrace a whole-food, plant-based diet at home. With a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University and a personal passion for flavor science, Mae teaches how to prepare food that’s both health-promoting and mouthwatering. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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