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 160 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

BUFFALO CHICKPEA QUESADILLAS | must-try vegan quesadillas
BUFFALO CHICKPEA QUESADILLAS | must-try vegan quesadillas

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 160 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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275 comments on Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

  1. Ajay

    5 stars
    Ended up making this for my vegan girlfriend, and we both loved it. Adding guac provided a really nice freshness and every bite tasted a little bit different. The cashew based sauce was so effortless and so tasty. Thanks for making the recipe so easy to follow.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Ajay, So glad to hear you two loved this recipe!

  2. Lauryn

    5 stars
    I make these every time I remember they exist! They are so good, and the cheese sauce alone I like to make double of just to snack on with chips. They’re easy and delicious and overall one of my favorite recipes!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Lauryn!

  3. Ciara

    5 stars
    Really good! It impressed my meat eating roommate.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great, Ciara! We are so happy to hear that. Thanks for the review!

  4. Demi

    5 stars
    My boyfriend addressed marriage for the first time after making this yesterday evening lmao

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      LOL what a compliment, Demi! So glad you two loved the quesadillas!

  5. Zep

    For the sauce I had to sub some of the cashews for sunflower seeds, smoked paprika for paprika, and the vegan yogurt for kite hill cream cheese and it still turned out great. My parents were very impressed and said they never liked quesadillas until trying these, and my dad said it tasted just like cheese. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So glad to hear that, Zep! Thanks for sharing Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  6. Carla A.

    5 stars
    Best quesadilla, ever! Move over, Chili’s, Nisha is in town!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, thank you so much Carla! Thanks for trying the recipe!

  7. Danyeal

    5 stars
    OMG these were so delicious!!! I have made them multiple times and they are just as good as the first time! I used a store bought vegan cheese sauce and it was good but when I made the mexican cheese sauce it took it up a notch. The mexican cheese sauce is beyond delicious! I have eaten these multiple times in a week!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  8. Marcia

    5 stars
    I loved this. Even my kids loved this. They now beg me to make it all the time. This and the breakfast burrito. Thank you so much.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Marcia, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  9. Terrance

    5 stars
    If I could give you more stars I would, I have been making Quesadillas at least once a week since finding the recipe a few months ago my family LOVES this meal.

    Good work.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Terrance! Glad you enjoy the quesadillas!

  10. J

    5 stars
    I made these for my non-vegan friends and all of us loved them. They even said that this recipe made them want to eat vegan more often which made me really happy. Thank you Nisha for spreading such positive content!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That makes us happy too, J! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

  11. Wanabe Vegan

    5 stars
    I just made these. We are a not a vegan household. But I try to do as many meatless meals as my family will allow. This meal was delicious. It was more work than a normal meal, but the taste was great! I will make it again. I would also say the chickpeas was only enough for 2 adults.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing!

  12. Mike

    4 stars
    Excellent!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Glad you enjoyed the quesadillas, Mike!

  13. Ana

    5 stars
    Decided to try this. I been a vegetarian for 8 years and decided to try the vegan queso sauce. I was surprised on how good it was . I’m so glad I decided to double the recipe :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great, Ana! So happy you enjoyed the queso sauce!

  14. Kay L.

    5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful! This will be on rotation once a week – so flavorful and I was so amazed by the cheese sauce! Yum & thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Kay!

  15. Mary Farradj

    Another big hit! Thank you❤️

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Mary! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  16. zig

    5 stars
    I made the cheese sauce the night before and had nachos and it was really good!! the next night i did the quesadillas and with every bite it got better. i appreciated that it wasn’t super complex. i would definitely advise doing the extra chickpeas especially if it’s more than one person. i made one and i only have the mixture left.

    highly recommend!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Zig!

  17. Mary J.

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. I was pleasantly surpised. As most reviews state, that cheese sauce is super delicious. And for the latest negative comment on the amount of oil/ butter used: just omit it. I’ve made the recipe with and without the added oil and butter it is absolutely fantastic either way. Thank you for this recipe. I’ll keep making this delicious recipe.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Mary, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  18. Jenn J

    5 stars
    Ok transparently, we are not fans of buffalo sauce items. Nothing against this recipe, just not our cup of tea. BUT. Big BUT. This Mexican cheese sauce is A-MAZ-ING. We are not proud of how often we make this cheese sauce. Crunchwraps, quesadillas, breakfast burritos, nachos?! I mean come on. Thank you for sharing this cheesy goodness!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Jenn, So glad to hear you loved the cheese sauce! We do agree it is incredibly addictive! :)

  19. Greens

    5 stars
    So yummy! I had to make some adjustments based on allergies etc… so I used corn tortillas and some store bought vegan “cheese” sauce…. But the filling was amazing !Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great, so glad you loved the quesadillas!

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