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 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Total 1 hour
5 from 265 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!

More Delish Chickpea 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 265 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 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Diet Vegan
Serving size: 4


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 (see Note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup (115-130g) salsa of choice (see Note 2)
  • 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 (see Note 3)
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional; I don’t use it when I use 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 (see Note 4)
  • 1 small bunch of scallions (4-5 scallions), white and light green parts only, sliced thinly)

For serving

  • 8 large flour tortillas****


  • 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, 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.
  • 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 and they have a little color, 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. Add the scallions and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and 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 slightly 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 or just press down on the skillet with my hands (using a kitchen towel so I don't burn myself).
    Cook the quesadillas for 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, or until both sides are crispy and nicely browned. Repeat with the remaining sauce, filling, and tortillas.


Note 1: 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. 
Note 2: use mild or medium salsa unless you looove spicy food since the buffalo sauce is already spicy. 
Note 3: 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.
Note 4: 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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420 comments on Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

  1. Theresa

    Do you think Sriracha would work as the hot sauce?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Theresa, yes!

      1. Theresa

        5 stars
        Thank you! I tried this with Sriracha and it was delicious!! Definitely putting this into the regular rotation. Thank you Nisha!

        1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Awesome :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jada

    5 stars
    OH EM GEE! This was delicious! I am not vegan but I am dairy free and tend to try finding vegan recipes to help with that, this was absolutely delicious! I definitely will make again!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jada, we’re happy to hear you loved the quesadillas :)

  3. Kyle

    5 stars
    I added your tempeh bits from the tempeh taco recipe and the combination made the texture amazing. Great recipe as always!

  4. Danielle

    5 stars
    I have made this countless times, best vegan cheese by far! looove this recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Danielle, So glad to hear you love this recipe!

  5. Alan

    5 stars
    Long time fan here! I almost exclusively use your recipes because I have yet to come across anything less than 4 stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟
    One question here, would the boiling of the soaked chickpeas beforehand be problematic? I ask because my friend and I both experienced some tummy tremors throughout last night and attributed it to not boiling them. She has a slight intolerance to chickpeas anyway but was still keen to try it (in fact she chose the recipe 😅).
    You really have up-ed my vegan game significantly, and now I virtually exclusively cook vegan at home 😊 Thank you, Nisha! Can’t wait for your second cookbook!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Alan, so glad you enjoy the recipe!

      Just to be clear – did you use canned or dried chickpeas for this recipe? If you use dried, if you soak them overnight you should dump out the water and rinse the chickpeas. Then you would need to cook them after in a new pot of water until they’re clearly cooked all the way through and not hard anymore.

      & We can’t wait for you to see the new cookbook either! :)

  6. Caylin Mc Farlane

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I added some hot sauce to the cheese sauce as well and it took it over the top. So good. Thank you Nisha and RPL team

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Caylin! You’re very welcome!

  7. Bree

    5 stars
    I used two cans of chickpeas. I also halved the sugar and nutritional yeast. The queso was a bit hit and will definitely be in rotation for other meals. I topped mine with plain unsweetened yogurt. I was initially bummed to not have avocado or vegan sour cream but that would’ve been too rich for me anyway. The yogurt was perfect.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Bree! :)

  8. Beth

    5 stars
    These were AMAZING!!! I made everything exactly as specified, and they were so easy and such a hit. We will definitely be making these again (vegan sour cream from Trader Joe’s was really good as well!)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  9. Amy

    5 stars
    So indulgent but not actually deadly! I love!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  10. Natalie

    5 stars
    Amazing! My meat-eating husband admitted he was very skeptical and was actually looking to find flaws but loved it so much he asked to add it to our weekly rotation :) Wouldn’t change a thing about the recipe but we will make sure to dice the onions smaller and mash the chickpeas more next time for a smoother texture per personal preference.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Natalie!

  11. connie

    5 stars
    thank you for the wonderful recipe. so far I made it twice. even my nonvegan husband loves it. it is in my rotation

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  12. Kim

    I am following a vegan low fat, whole foods plant based diet so can’t use even vegan butter. Do you think the recipe will work if I omit the butter and don’t add additional nuts? Thanks!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Kim, the butter helps cut some of the heat of the dish so if you decide not to use it, it will be quite spicy and sharp tasting. As long as you use the mexican cheese sauce the recipe calls for, it should taste fairly good!

  13. Alexandra

    5 stars
    I loved this! I made the recipe exactly the first time and was really impressed with the cheese sauce. I added shredded carrots, diced celery, caesar dressing and lettuce to make into a wrap with the leftover chickpea mix.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Alexandra!

  14. Kimberly

    5 stars
    This is amazing! I’m not vegan (yet) but watched you on you tube and was inspired to try this. So many flavors – and really easy to make. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you for taking the time to share your talent.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Kikmberly!

  15. Samidha Joglekar

    You are a flipping genius! I just made the queso sauce and the flavour is outstanding! Making the rest of the quesadilla now and am so looking forward to it!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Samidha, 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!

    2. Samidha Joglekar

      I made the whole thing today and it was delicious! Everyone in my family loved it! I have been trying several of your recipes and all of them have been great! Thank you!

      1. Samidha Joglekar

        5 stars
        Forgot to leave a star rating. Here is my star rating of this quesadilla recipe. It is absolutely superb!

        1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

          Samidha, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  16. Laurie

    5 stars
    Wow! These were awesome! I have to admit that I am not a vegan, so I used non vegan butter and yogurt, but everything else was as written. Loved them, and so did my very non-vegan husband! I have been sharing with all of my friends!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Laurie!

  17. Vicki

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh – this was incredible! Great blend of spiciness and very filling. I didn’t change a thing and will definitely be making this again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  18. Pepper

    5 stars
    This was so satisfying. The flavors are perfectly balanced. I added sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime. This is a perfect lunch.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Pepper, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  19. RBBW

    5 stars
    OMG comfort food all the way. So good.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

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

  20. Nicole

    5 stars
    Big thumbs up from my roommates and I! Super tasty and has a nice kick of spice. I didn’t have hot sauce, so I used 3 tbsp of sriracha and 1 tbsp of salsa. Worked just fine. I’ll definitely be making this again :-D

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Nicole!

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