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 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr
5 from 221 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.

PS: If you’re looking for more great quesadilla fillings, these Chipotle copycat Sofritas and Mexican Black Beans are excellent in quesadillas!

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 this recipe (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 221 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
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.

Calories: 583kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 781IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 6mg

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357 comments on Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

  1. Kate Pham

    5 stars
    This was amazing!! I couldn’t find unflavored vegan yogurt so I used half an avocado instead and I just had to add more water to the sauce. But followed everything else as instructed and it was delicious! My partner said he could eat this indefinitely :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Kate! We are so happy you two love the recipe!

  2. Hasan

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday, it was delicious. However I still have a lot of the cashew cheese sauce left over, what can I use it for?

    1. Karen

      I used the leftovers in a soup. Made like a southwestern style broccoli soup. Turned out pretty good!

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Hasan, this cashew queso can be used in nachos, tacos, burritos, as a chip dip, drizzled atop veggies and the like. We hope you were able to figure it out, sorry for getting back to you so late!

  3. Katherine

    5 stars
    This flavor combinations in this recipe are amazing. Also I use this queso recipe EVERY time I need queso for something. It is unbelievable and my search for the perfect vegan queso is over. I can’t even buy store bought anymore after how good and easy this one is.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  4. stephanie

    5 stars
    This was so good! Especially the sauce. Thank you for your recipes. You inspire me to eat more plant based healthy meals :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  5. Jo-Anne Vandierendonck

    5 stars
    I made this for tonight’s supper for 3 adults. Turns out there were only four tortillas in the house so I made two quesadillas and a nacho platter. There are so many reasons to recommend this recipe to others; the individual segments of this recipe can be used in a variety of dishes, it’s quick & easy to make and has great, satisfying flavour.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Jo-Anne. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  6. Ansley Cooley

    5 stars
    So delicious!!! Your recipes inspire me to cook vegan & your meal prep ensures I don’t cook 2 meals every week night!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  7. Starr

    5 stars
    If I could marry this quesadilla, I would in a heartbeat! This is the BEST “lazy” dinner/snack that I’ve ever had. I really didn’t think I could fall head over heels for a quesadilla, but this recipe is *chefs kiss* PERFECTION!!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Starr, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  8. Nancy

    5 stars
    Best satisfying vegan quesadilla ever! I didn’t even miss the cheese. And best part of it all was that I could enjoy them throughout the week without spending much time in kitchen. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Nancy, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  9. Myrto

    5 stars
    I gave my boyfriend some of the cheese sauce to try, and the first words out of his mouth were “Holy s***.” And then he told me it tasted like queso. I think that says it all!

    This was my first time making a cashew-based sauce, and it did not disappoint! It was such a good combination with the buffalo chickpeas. Fantastic recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  10. Emma

    5 stars
    Made this for a ladies’ lunch with my mum and sisters, and an absolute hit. Thank you for making veganism so delicious. As my mum’s a bit – what’s that phrase you use, baby mouth? – I swapped out some of the hot sauce for passata and it worked a treat. Best wishes to you and your family.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Emma! We are so glad it was a hit, and we are sending our best wishes right back to you! :)

  11. Taneal

    5 stars
    Omg Nisha! This was so fire! I have gone vegan for a little over 3 weeks and your recipes have so much flavor! I appreciate the work you go through to make these recipes available for us.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for following and making the recipes, Taneal! :)

  12. Kelly

    5 stars
    Turned out delicious. I will make this again. I followed your recipe but did add 2 cans of chickpeas and my familyand I felt that was a perfect amount. Thank you for creating such wonderful recipes!

  13. Rubaab

    5 stars
    Made these last night and they were delicious. These are on the spicy side but really great. With the cooling avocado as a condiment it was very well balanced. Lots of textures. Not filling enough with just one can of chickpeas though I’d probably do two next time— particularly if sharing. The vegan cheese sauce is great and all the flavors work together really well. And that buffalo sauce is just wonderful. Another great recipe! Also loved that the ingredients were mostly already in the pantry, I only had to buy a couple of things.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Rubaab! Glad to hear you enjoyed the quesadillas :)

  14. JD

    This looks incredible! I have a question though…I have a cashew allergy, is there another nut that would work to make the cheese sauce?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi JD, sunflower seeds could work quite nicely! Enjoy!

    2. Melissa

      5 stars
      I can’t eat cashews and I substituted almonds and it tasted great! I poured hot water over the almonds and let them sit a bit so the skins came off easily. As long as you are using a high speed blender substituting almonds for cashews in vegan cheese recipes works well. You don’t have to peel the almonds but it will have little flecks of brown in it if you don’t. Awesome recipe – I am making it again tonight!

      1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

        Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Melissa!

  15. Mary Margaret Phillips

    5 stars
    Sheesh. I just discovered your blog and in the past 24 hours have made your breakfast cookies (went with chocolate chip and walnut with cashew butter! Holy moly!) and now this which was just incredible. I am now having a Rainbow Plant Life themed menu this week – I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    I halved the recipe but kept the chickpeas at a full can to make it more filling and used whole wheat tortillas. I was thrilled with the result and will be using the cheese sauce in my family’s black bean quesadillas from on! Thank you thank you for your hard work in developing these recipes. I love your approach to vegan cooking and will be a subscriber for life.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Glad to hear you’ve been loving the recipes so far, Mary! We are so honored to hear that. Thank you so much for sharing this with us :)

  16. A

    5 stars
    These were insane!! I doubled the chickpeas while keeping the buffalo sauce volume the same. Despite this I found the amount of butter to be very slightly gratuitous (don’t get me wrong – it was delicious, but I might halve it in the future for a slightly lighter meal since the cheeze sauce already brings the richness).

    Yet another Nisha masterpiece.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      A, So glad to hear you loved this recipe! :)

  17. Suma

    5 stars
    Delicious! Nisha you are a genius ! This was amazing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  18. Natasha

    So delicious, a fave in our home. Didn’t have Flatbread on hand so made buffalo Chickpea nachos topped with the scallions and pickled onion and it was 10/10

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Natasha, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! 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!

  19. Mackenzie

    5 stars
    Beloved by everyone in the house (omnis included)! I left out the extra dried spice for those that aren’t a fan and just topped up with hot sauce for personal serves.

    I also used two cans of chickpeas instead of one and used 4 jumbo tortillas folded into semi circles. If you’re serving this to adults and without a side doubling the chickpeas is a must for a solid serving.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Mackenzie, thanks for sharing and we are so glad to hear everyone loved this recipe!

  20. Gena Odland

    5 stars
    These were incredible – every bit of it! I did make with the can and a half of chickpeas and am glad I did. That cheese!!!! I served with some quick guacamole like you did in your video and your cilantro lime cashew cream – yum! This will be made again and again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

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