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. Caitlin

    5 stars
    Made them twice this week — very, *very* good!

  2. Colleen

    5 stars
    Delicious! I love that this is almost all pantry basics for me, so was easy to throw together tonight. I cooked the quesadillas on a comal (using no oil) instead of in a pan and did just 2 minutes each side on medium-low heat. We did 1.5 cans of chickpeas, which means it will probably be more like 5-6 servings total. Very excited to make this again and play around with the heat/salsa flavors.

  3. Cheryl

    5 stars
    Easy and tasty

  4. Caryn

    5 stars
    This is my first attempt at a vegan recipe, and I was very pleasantly surprised! My approach to veganism was to try a recipe that I’m not crazy about “in the real world”, so you can imagine my surprise at how much I enjoyed this recipe.

    I still don’t prefer the fried tortilla in a pan thing, but am thinking the buffalo chickpeas might be very tasty as a filling for a stuffed and roasted bell pepper!

  5. Marcie

    I love this recipe!! I have made it sooo many times! The cheese sauce is now my go-to recipe for any recipe where I want some queso, its so much better than the store bought stuff and ridiculously easy to make. It’s such an easy and filling meal and very easy to add in any leftover veggies you may have at the end of the week, or you can easily adapt it to a bowl. I am so happy I came across this recipe, it’s a weekly staple now!

  6. Ly

    5 stars
    It was amazing. My vegan sceptic parents loved it.

  7. Sonya

    5 stars
    My omnivore partner, who is the best chef I know, just told me that this is the best thing they’ve ever had in their whole life. And that they never want to eat anything else. Honestly I feel the same. This was delicious!!!

    Small deviations I made that still worked: Because I didn’t have vegan butter I just used extra v olive oil for the Buffalo sauce. Also I made my own salsa and had leftovers which I put on top, and used wild garlic instead of scallions.

  8. Kristen

    5 stars
    I’m becoming that person that comments the same thing on every single one of your recipes, but for real, this is so good. My husband ate it (happy hour snack) and came downstairs and saw me eating it and asked if it was vegan. He was sure there was cheese in it. Excellent recipe!

  9. Randee Parsons

    5 stars
    So so so good! Storage tips for the homemade queso sauce??

  10. Jen J-N

    5 stars
    Quick, easy, healthy and yummy. We used store bought southwest vegan cashew cheese and sprinkled some vegan shredded cheddar. We look forward to playing w the recipe and customizing based on tastes we feel for. Thinking we can adapt to make it into samosa flavored filling. Nothing wrong w this recipe just love the ability to adapt to.

  11. Kim

    5 stars
    I have been cooking vegan for a long time and this is possibly the best recipe I’ve ever tasted. Can’t sing its praises enough!! We make it often and cook two batches so that we can freeze half and always have some on hand.

  12. Erika

    5 stars
    These are amazing. My husband didn’t even realize there wasn’t any *real* cheese in them! I used 1 can of chickpeas but would probably use 2 next time. I used Ezekial sprouted grain and their brown rice tortillas (both tend to be a little smaller than ‘large’ tortillas) and got about 3.5 of those with 1 can. Either way, for 2 people, it was plenty, and we had leftovers.

    Thank you for another great recipe!!

  13. Dhanashree Pillay

    Made this quesadillas and they were amazing. My 11yr old’s favorite.

  14. Lucy

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious

  15. Isabel

    5 stars
    My husband and I loved the recipe. We used 2 cans of chickpeas and were able to make 3 full quesadillas. It is great to save for leftovers and assemble quickly for a lunch or dinner. Next time I will make a bigger batch so it last longer 😁. We used the Jack’s original hot sauce and the amount of spice was perfect (4 tbs) without adding extra cayenne pepper.

  16. Hannah

    I cannot eat cashews what can I replace it with and how much of it?

    1. Amanda

      5 stars
      I’d experiment with macadamia nuts or oats. Soaking cashews and blending them is just making a milk or cream based on how much water you use. So I don’t see why you couldn’t sub either one of those. Just do a little research on how long to soak them and if you’d need to strain the end product. If you have to strain I don’t think they’re good candidates. Good luck.

  17. Grace

    5 stars
    WOW!! These are so flavorful and rich!! I’ve made this probably 5 times :) but I think there’s a little too much onion for me (or maybe I’m using too big of an onion) so I usually do half of an onion. Im not really sure what’s too big and what’s not so it would be really helpful if there was a conversion to grams. I also thinks it’s a little bit too sweet for my liking, so I reduced the coconut sugar from 2 tsp to 1/2 tsp and it really allowed the other flavors to shine! And lastly, I felt like it was missing something. So I added some like juice to the chickpea mixture and it was perfect!!! THANK YOU for sharing this recipe with me Nisha!! These are wonderful <333

  18. Ron

    4 stars
    I made these for our family gathering on game night. They were a hit! I served them with vegan sour cream, Salsa and guacimoli.

  19. Jeff Cooper

    5 stars
    I made this last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have the Frank’s brand of hot sauce and did wonder if it might have added a bit more of a kick than the brand I used. My totally carnivorous son asked when I was making this again. Thanks! See you in the kitchen!

  20. Nicki

    5 stars
    Made this recipe 3 times this week — SO good! I am also definitely spoon eating the nacho cheese sauce, just unreal. (Reminds me of the taco bell quesadilla sauce flavor too.) Thank you for making such a delicious and EASY recipe! Love your content!

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