Baked vegan quesadilla stacks are loaded with all our favorites – savory chipotle refried beans, quick pickled carrots, and jalapenos plus, vegan sour cream all baked up between potato flatbread.
It’s not fair to refer to refried beans as glue, but they are essential for making stacks that stick together. Whereas traditional and some vegan quesadilla use cheese to melt all the ingredients and secure they don’t slip out until they hit your mouth, beans can do the same.
Nope, they don’t melt, but they give you a base to build from. You can even use a layer of beans on both the top and bottom if you're so inclined. Besides, they taste so good, you might just be inclined.
Tips for making chipotle refried beans
Although I sometimes vary a few of the ingredients depending on what I have available, I always use a combination of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce along with black beans and some kind of mashing liquid when I make them.
If you’ve not had chipotle peppers in adobo, it’s time to stock up. These hot chilies packed in a zesty sweet sauce of tomato, onions, garlic, vinegar, and a few other spices are a great way to fire up your taste buds.
You’ll want to pay attention to labels when you look for them and avoid those that are heavy on the oil. The other thing you might notice is that some will be made with smoked and dried jalapenos while others are made from dried chipotle peppers. The taste preference is entirely up to you.
The main difficulty with chipotle in adobo is that unless you are feeding a mega-crowd, you never use an entire can – even though the cans are usually only 7 ounces (199 grams). No worries, we won’t be wasting them. They freeze!
I used to diligently fish out a few peppers, chop them, resist the urge to touch my eyes, and then use a few tablespoons of the sauce.
No more of that.
If you simply puree the contents of the entire can, you can then use as much as you like. Then, use an ice cube tray or small freezer bags to freeze the rest in 2 tablespoon batches. That way, the next time you want some heat, just head to the freezer and it’s all there waiting for you. Learning this simple time-saver has completely opened up quick eats like saucy chipotle beans and you won’t believe what can happen when you add a tablespoon to a cooked grain or dare I suggest – hummus anyone?
These dudes can be hot, so my advice is that you use 1 tablespoon initially and then add more as you start mashing the beans. I almost always end up using 2 tablespoons, but not everyone shares the same tolerance for spiciness.
Besides the refried beans, we load our quesadillas with:
Spicy Escabeche – Mexican pickled vegetables (jalapenos, onions, and carrots)
Plant-based, dairy-free sour cream
Mashed avocado with lime juice
Both the Escabeche and sour cream can be made days ahead of time, so that means you are ready to roll at a moment's notice.
Thinly sliced zucchini
Quick pickled onions
Salsa or pico de gallo
Perhaps it was the call of the spicy refried beans that got me hungry at the idea of quesadilla stacks. Certainly, I was longing for an to make yet another bowl of crunchy Escabeche. And let’s be honest, anything with avocado and a bit of sour cream and I'll be at the table. But what made these baked bites of goodness really happen were potato flatbread. They make the best stacks! And seriously, now we’ve got potatoes? Oh my, oh my.
Most certainly, you can use another kind of tortilla or wrap. In fact, I’ve made this very same combination with corn tortillas and they are crunchy and wonderful. But today I’m advocating full-on for the potato flatbread because they were made for this. The potato gives them enough substance that you can stack and back or you can load and fold. They bake up crispy, and they carry the weight – no matter how high you stack them.
I can also assure you that should the thought of all this deliciousness cause you to make far more stacks than you can eat, they reheat. True story. After baking up far too many one day, I wrapped 2 leftover stacks individually in foil and kept them in the fridge overnight. To reheat, I just unwrapped them and left them on the foil and tossed them into the oven. After 15 minutes, they were delicious. Not at all the soggy mess, I thought they’d be. Successful leftover experimentation.
Efficient timing – Read this
There are four main ingredients required to make this recipe, so let’s talk timing, assuming you are making everything from scratch.
Start by boiling the potatoes you need for the flatbread. In the time they boil, you can make the Escabeche and the sour cream. Get those done.
Next, make the flatbread, cover them to keep them warm. Move to the refried beans. Finish by mashing the avocado. It’s not multi-tasking I’m advocating, just using cooking inactive time wisely.
Foundation – cement – stackers – essential ingredients in delicious veggie stacks. They can be as individual as flour versus corn, black beans versus white, Escabeche versus pickled red onions. Different flavor experiences to suit the individual.
Although the players might change depending on our needs, building a recipe, or a building or a lifestyle it all comes down to those three essentials. Without a good foundation, it collapses, without the cement, the stacks can abandon at will. Without interesting stacks, we lose the color and flavor that brings joy. Be mindful of each individually, pay attention to how they play together, and from time to time, mix it up. That’s the flavor of life. Peace.Print
baked vegan quesadilla stacks
Baked vegan quesadilla stacks are loaded with chipotle refried beans, Mexican pickled vegetables plus, vegan sour cream baked up between potato flatbread.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 70 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 8 quesadilla halves 1x
- Category: Burgers & Wraps
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
Chipotle refried black beans
- 1 small onion, diced (½ cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. cumin
- 1 -2 Tbsp. pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 – 15 oz. (400 gm.) can black beans (1 ½ cups), rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- ½ - 1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
Spicy Escabeche (Mexican pickled vegetables)
- 5 carrots peeled and sliced thin
- 1 -2 jalapenos, sliced thin (the amount depends on the level of heat you want)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano (use 1 ½ fresh minced)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. agave syrup or other liquid sweeteners
- ¼ tsp sea salt
Whole wheat potato flatbread
- 1 cup mashed potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp. salt
Plant-based sour cream
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ - 1 cup of water
- 1 avocado
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
If you are making everything from scratch, start here:
Peel and get the potatoes boiling for the flatbread. While that happens, make the Escabeche and sour cream. Next, finish up the flatbread and then make the refried beans and mashed avocado.
- Place all the vegetables and the oregano in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, agave syrup, and sea salt.
- Add the vinegar to the vegetable and mix everything thoroughly.
- Allow to pickle while you make everything else.
Plant-based sour cream
- Use a spice grinder or high-speed blend to grind the cashews into a powder.
- Add the ground cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt, plus ½ cup of water and blend everything, adding more water if needed to make a creamy consistency.
Whole wheat potato flatbread
- Peel and dice the potatoes and add them to a medium pot filled with water. Boil the potatoes until they are very tender when pierced with a fork.
- Once done, drain the potatoes, transfer them to a medium bowl and mash them with ½ tsp. salt.
- Add ½ cup flour to the potatoes and mix with a spoon. Start adding the rest of the flour until you can form a dough ball that will stick together.
- Lightly flour a rolling surface and flip the dough ball a few times so it won’t stick to the board. Using your hands, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Cut the dough into 8 pieces (more or less depending on the size of the flatbread you want).
- Pause to heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium or, if you are baking the flatbread pre-heat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
- Form a ball with each piece, then roll into a round flatbread, about ¼ of an inch thick (use can also use a tortilla press for this).
- If you are baking the flatbread, roll them, and add them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 2 minutes until they start to brown and then flip them and bake them for another 2 minutes until brown.
- To pan-fry, we find it easiest to add them one-at-a-time to a heated skillet. Flip them after 1 ½ minutes (when they are brown on the bottom) and fry until they are browned on both sides.
- Wrap the cooked flatbread in a dry cloth to keep them warm.
Chipotle refried black beans
- Empty the contents of the chipotle chilis in adobo sauce into a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the can. Set aside.
- In a deep skillet or pan, sauté the onion for 5 minutes until it becomes tender and translucent. Add a few tablespoons of water if they begin to stick.
- Add the garlic, and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Add the cumin, 1 Tbsp. chipotle pepper puree, beans and ½ cup vegetable broth to the pot. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes to help the beans soften. Taste and mix in another tablespoon (or more) of the chipotle puree if desired.
- Turn the heat to low and then, using a potato masher, start mashing the beans. Add more vegetable broth as needed until you get a smooth consistency with a few whole beans left if desired. Remove from the heat.
Assemble and bake the quesadillas
- Before you start assembling the quesadillas, peel and remove the pit from the avocado and add the flesh to a small bowl. Mash it with 1 Tbsp. lime juice.
- Preheat the oven to 4000 F (2000 C).
- To assemble the quesadillas spread a flatbread with the refried beans and then layer on a hearty portion of Escabeche, top with sour cream. Smear another flatbread with mashed avocado and add on top. Lightly press on the top. Add the quesadilla to a baking tray.
- When you have assembled all the quesadillas, bake them for 10-15 minutes until the flatbread is a bit brown and crunchy.
- Slice them in half for easier handling and serve.
- Cooking time accounts for boiling the potatoes. You can also do this ahead of time. If you like, you can substitute white potatoes for sweet potatoes. You may need extra flour due to the higher moisture content of the sweet potatoes.
- The Escabeche, sour cream, potato flatbread, and even the refried beans can be made a day or two before. Just leave the avocado mash to right before you assemble the quesadillas.
- If you want folded quesadillas, then start with a flatbread, smear it with refried beans, stuff it with the Escabeche, sour cream, and mashed avocado, fold it over and press lightly. Then bake as directed.
Keywords: baked vegan quesadilla stacks