Cheesy vegetable quesadillas are a Tex-Mex favorite in our home! They are easy to make any time, but we especially enjoy them on Cinco de Mayo—May 5! You can make them with or without cheese and lots of veggies of your choice. Preparation methods are also versatile. Try the stovetop or baked in the oven or toaster oven.

Throughout May, we’ll delve into lots of tasty sides to go along with your quesadillas such as dips and easy margaritas (virgin or regular!).

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

To Healthy Eating!


P.S. Remember to follow me in the Power of 5 Test Kitchen and join in the happenings!

Vegetarian Chili and Cheese Quesadillas

Blending of these two recipes makes a healthy fantastic combo filled with fiber and flavor!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Vegetarian Chili 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Anytime!, Appetizers/Starters, Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 Servings


  • 12" skillet or griddle
  • Spatula
  • Paring knife
  • Dutch oven pot


  • 2 tsp Butter or vegetable oil Divided. Vegan butter if you do not eat dairy.
  • 4 Large flour tortillas 9"-10"
  • 1-2 cups Shredded cheese Such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, or any favorite melting cheese. Low-fat or vegan cheese also works.
  • 3-4 tbsps Vegetarian Chili Make recipe below (you may make this as a full meal, then use the leftovers for the Cheese Quesadillas)

Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 large Sweet Onion Chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic Can use minced - 1 tsp = 1 small clove. Add more to taste.
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 large Bell Pepper Red or Yellow, cored and diced
  • 1 14.5oz Diced tomatoes Canned or fresh seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar You can use other vinegars of your preference
  • 1 14.5oz Can, Black Beans Rinsed and drained
  • 2 14.5oz Can, Trio Beans (365 Whole Foods Brand) Rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika Regular or smoked
  • ½ tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Corn Frozen or canned
  • 1 ½ cup Water I prefer vegetable broth. For added flavor, also use to sauté veggies instead of oil.
  • 1-2 tbsps Sour cream Regular or non-dairy, dollop for the top when served.
  • Cilantro or Parsley Chopped for garnish


Making the Quesadillas

  • Ironically, the key to a crispy quesadilla is less fat in the pan, not more. Too much fat will make your quesadilla soggy instead of crispy. Use just enough to coat the bottom of your skillet—about 1/2 tsp. of butter or oil. Warm it in the skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Place one tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle all over with 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Spread about 1/2 cup of the filling in a single layer over half the tortilla. Don't use too much or the filling or it will fall out as you eat it. Spreading the filling over half makes the quesadilla easier to fold, and adding it as the cheese melts gives the filling time to warm if it has cooled.
  • Watch for the cheese to melt. Once the cheese starts to melt, lift a corner of the tortilla to check the underside. When the cheese has completely melted and you see golden-brown spots on the underside of the tortilla, the quesadilla is ready for the next step.
  • Place another tortilla on top of the one in the pan, wait a few minutes for the tortilla to stick. Or, to use one tortilla only, fold the quesadilla in half with a spatula to sandwich the filling.
  • Transfer to a cutting board with a spatula. If serving immediately, let cool for a minute or two for the cheese to set, then cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. If preparing several quesadillas for a crowd, slide the un-cut quesadillas onto a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200°F oven, then slice into wedges just before serving.
  • Wipe the pan clean if needed, melt another dab of butter, and continue cooking quesadillas as described above.

Making the Vegetable Chili

  • In a large Dutch oven, sauté the chopped onions and garlic with a little veggie broth until all the smells begin to permeate.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chopped pepper and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add all the rest of the ingredients, blend well, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the vegetable chili is done, serve with a dollop of sour cream and add chopped cilantro or parsley as garnish.

Building the Chili and Cheese Quesadillas

  • Add the cheese to the tortillas and partially pan fry open-faced as indicated above.
  • Add the vegetable chili on top and either fold over one tortilla and flip to cook both sides, OR add a full tortilla on top and proceed to finish.
  • Add sour cream, cilantro/parsley on top...salsa and guacamole.


Melissa’s Modifications:
Combining these two recipes offers an easy option for a another delicious meal. Vegetable Chili as the filling and Cheese Quesadillas! 
Another modification that we love is to serve the hot chili over fresh greens & spinach.  
Nutritional Value:
Cheese Quesadillas: One Serving: 280 Calories; 12g Fat, 2g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 690 mg Sodium; 40g Carbs, 14g Fiber, 2g Sugar; 8g Protein
Vegetable Chili: One Serving: 372 Calories; 5g Fat; 0 Cholesterol; 15g Fiber; 39g Carbs; 19g Protein
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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