Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

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These Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas are the absolute best vegan quesadillas you’ll ever try! Made with a spicy buffalo sauce, chickpeas, and a Mexican cheese sauce, this is the ultimate comfort food! 
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
5 from 121 votes

These Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas are a fan favorite for a reason. Despite being mind blowingly tasty and flavorful, they’re made with mostly pantry ingredients and easy to make. And they’re extremely popular with vegan skeptics, omnivores, and picky kids.

Check out the video on Youtube for a look at how to make these (including the trick to getting crispy, not soggy quesadillas). And some, err, cooking mishaps and awkward outtakes lol. There’s also a short food-only video at the end of this post :)

Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas: Recipe Video

These quesadillas were so freakin’ delicious that I’ll never be going back to my simple cheese quesadillas. Sure, they take a little more effort and time than plopping some vegan cheese on a tortilla. But they are SO worth it. And they really don’t take thaaat much effort and time. As long as you’ve got your cashews soaked in advance, you can make these spicy, cheesy quesadillas in a half hour.

Woman pouring vegan buffalo cheese sauce onto quesadill

Ingredient Rundown

Buffalo Sauce

Hot Sauce: For these quesadillas, I married the oh-so-popular Buffalo flavor that people associate with hot wings with my favorite plant protein (chickpeas). The result is a hearty and delicious mashed chickpea buffalo sauce filling. Then I combine this filling with an irresistible Mexican cheese sauce for a match made in heaven.

I wanted the “buffalo” flavor to be pronounced but not overwhelming, which is often the case in buffalo-flavored foods. I use Frank’s Xtra hot sauce for that traditional, spicy “buffalo” flavor because I like things xtra spicy. If you’re okay with spice but want a slightly more moderate heat, I recommend Frank’s original sauce.

If you can’t find Frank’s hot sauce, you can make your own hot sauce (this is a copycat recipe for Frank’s hot sauce). Or use Cholula, Tabasco, or any hot sauce of your preference. Since the hot sauce gets mixed with (vegan) butter, you’ll want a hot sauce that’s pretty vinegar-y to balance out the butter.

Vegan Butter: Buffalo sauce is typically made with a hot sauce and melted butter. But, obviously, we’re going to be using vegan butter! I’ve made this with both Country Crock Plant Butter and Earth Balance vegan butter with great results.

close up shot of vegan buffalo chickpea quesadillas on a plate

Chickpea Filling

Chickpeas + Aromatics: Once the hot sauce is mixed in with the melted vegan butter and some spices, it gets folded into the mashed chickpea mixture. I rely on canned chickpeas make this recipe a quick, weeknight-friendly meal. And to give them extra flavor, I first sauté an onion and minced garlic in a bit of oil before adding the chickpeas.

moody close up shot of buffalo chickpea quesadillas on a plate being picked up by woman's hands

Mexican cheese sauce

This is the EASIEST cheese sauce ever, and it really tastes like a Mexican-flavored cheese dip. It features raw cashews, vegan yogurt, salsa, a few spices, and nutritional yeast.

The hardest part of this recipe is remembering to soak your cashews in advance. If you find that you’ve forgotten to soak your cashews overnight, you can soak them in boiling water for 1 hour.

Simply add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender and whiz until creamy. Even if you don’t make these quesadillas, you should definitely add this cheese sauce to your recipe repertoire because it’s insanely good (and healthy!). It’s great with burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and nachos!

Tips for making these quesadillas 

For the chickpeas, the recipe calls for one (15-ounce) can of chickpeas because that’s the most convenient amount to use. But if you have extra chickpeas on hand, I like to add about 1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans (about 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas). It makes each quesadilla a bit more filling. If you do increase the amount of chickpeas to 1 1/2 cans (2 1/2 cups), you shouldn’t need to make more of the buffalo sauce because the mixture is already so flavorful.

To achieve that perfectly crisp, crunchy texture on the outside of the quesadilla, follow this step. Weigh down the quesadilla with another skillet while it cooks in the pan. After a few minutes, flip the quesadilla and do the same for another minute or two. You’ll be in quesadilla heaven, I promise!

Watch! How to Make Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas (short video)

More Mexican(-ish) Vegan Recipes

In the mood for more Mexican recipes that are not 100% authentic but are 100% delicious? Give these a try:

I hope you try out these Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas! They’re incredibly delicious and I guarantee you will fall in love with them! If you love them, please rate and review them below :)

Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Queasadillas

5 from 121 votes
These Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas are the absolute best vegan quesadillas you’ll ever try! Made with a spicy buffalo sauce, chickpeas, and a Mexican cheese sauce, this is the ultimate comfort food! 
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Diet Vegan
Keyword: chickpea, gluten-free, quesadillas
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

Mexican Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup (130-140g) raw cashews, soaked overnight (or soaked in boiling water for 1 hour)
  • ½ cup (115g) vegan unsweetened plain yogurt*
  • 2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup (115-130g) salsa of choice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Buffalo Chickpea Filling

  • ¼ cup (56g) vegan butter (1/2 stick)
  • 4 tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce, original cayenne or Xtra hot, or hot sauce of choice**
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional; I don’t use it when I use the Xtra hot sauce)
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce /425g) can chickpeas***, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small bunch of scallions (about 6 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly)

For serving

  • 8 large flour tortillas****

Instructions

  • Prepare the Mexican Cheese Sauce. Drain the soaked cashews and pat dry. Add the cashews, along with the remaining sauce ingredients, to a high-powered blender. Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth. The sauce should be quite thick and creamy, but if you’d like it to be even thicker, add the sauce to a saucepan over medium-low heat for a few minutes to thicken up slightly.
  • Next, prepare the Buffalo Chickpea Filling. First make the buffalo sauce. Melt the vegan butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave (or in a saucepan on the stove). To the melted butter, add the hot sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and sugar. Whisk until the hot sauce and butter are completely incorporated.
  • Then make the Chickpea Filling. Pour the drained and rinsed chickpeas in a medium bowl and roughly mash them with a fork or a potato masher, leaving some beans intact.
  • Heat the 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and once the oil is shimmering, add the diced onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • To the onions, add the buffalo-butter sauce and the mashed chickpeas, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat. Mix in the sliced scallions and stir to combine. Wipe out the skillet so you can reuse it for making the quesadillas.
  • Assemble the quesadillas. Spread an even layer of the Mexican Cheese Sauce (1/4-1/3 cup) onto one of the eight tortillas. Arrange about 1/2 cup of the Buffalo Chickpea Filling on top. Place another tortilla on top to cover.
  • Lightly grease the large skillet with a bit of oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the prepared quesadilla to the skillet. Place a smaller skillet on top of the quesadilla so that it presses down on the quesadilla, resulting in a nice crispy exterior. I also like to weigh the smaller skillet down with a couple cans of beans/tomatoes.
    Cook the quesadillas for 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes, or until both sides are crispy and nicely browned. Repeat with the remaining sauce, filling, and tortillas.

Notes

* If you use a very thick, creamy coconut yogurt, you'll need to add more water or broth to slightly thin out the cheese sauce. 
** If you are sensitive to spicy food, use less hot sauce. Also, keep in mind that each hot sauce has a different level of spiciness. If your hot sauce is very spicy, use a smaller amount.
*** The recipe calls for 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas because that’s the most convenient amount to use, but if you have extra chickpeas on hand, I like to add about 1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans (about 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas) because it makes each quesadilla more filling.
**** This recipe is gluten-free if you use gluten free tortillas.

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215 comments on Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

  1. Heather

    I love this recipe!
    I was wondering how long the filling/cheese sauce will last in the fridge?

  2. Melita

    Will Sriracha work as a hot sauce substitute?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Melita, you’re welcome to use any hot sauce of choice in this recipe, but you definitely will not taste the “buffalo” portion of this recipe if you use Sriracha. Sriracha is also significantly spicier, so if you’re sensitive to heat I would use a smaller amount of it. If you try using Sriracha please let us know how it goes!

  3. Jo

    Hi
    Can I freeze the cheese sauce?
    Thanks so much for this recipe. LOVE IT!!

    1. Vallie

      I would also like to know how well the sauce freezes.

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Hi Vallie, this cheese sauce freezes well on its own, but make sure to store it in an airtight container. After defrosting, place it in the blender with a little extra plant milk or vegetable broth to help thin it out and get rid of any excess chunks. Hope that helped!

        1. Vallie

          5 stars
          Thank you! The sauce is wonderful! There are so many different ways to enjoy it.

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jo, this cheese sauce freezes well on its own, but make sure to store it in an airtight container. After defrosting, place it in the blender with a little extra plant milk or vegetable broth to help thin it out and get rid of any excess chunks. So glad you love this recipe and I hope that helped!

  4. Marty

    5 stars
    I really love this recipe. I have made it twice now and can’t get enough of it. I am live on my own, so the recipe is BIG but gives me plenty of leftovers. The other night when I made it, I didn’t turn up the spice enough, but it was still good.

  5. Peter Thiessen

    5 stars
    Just made these for the first time. AMAZING.

  6. Daniella

    5 stars
    OMG i just want to eat them all!!

  7. Amanda

    Hi, what is the volume of the vegan buffalo sauce if I were to just sub it for store-bought buffalo sauce?

  8. Kellie Quinn

    5 stars
    These are SO good I make them once a week. I also use the nacho sauce on everything. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Kellie. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  9. Delnora

    5 stars
    These were amazing! Next time I’ll double or triple the batch. Would be a great make ahead dish, too. Just do the final step of toasting in the skillet when ready to eat.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Delnora!

  10. Dhivya

    5 stars
    This recipe absolutely hit it out of the ballpark!!😍 It was so unbelievably good, easy to make and something all the quesadilla enthusiasts in my family LOVED!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Yay, Dhivya! That’s so lovely to hear.

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