There’s something so perfect about a quesadilla – how the soft tortilla folds around tender veggies and melty vegan cheese. Unlike tacos, quesadillas are ideal for dipping in salsa, guacamole, or creamy avocado sauce without spilling the contents everywhere. I just realized this is starting to sound like a love letter to quesadillas, and I’m completely fine with it.
Beyond its compact size and convenient shape, the quesadilla is a perfect medium for testing out fun new ingredients and flavor combinations. I recently got really into plantains, so of course I had to try them in a familiar format. If you’ve never cooked with plantains, don’t be intimidated. They’re kind of like bananas, but denser. You can find them in the produce section along with the mangoes, peaches, and other fruits. Unlike buying bananas, you’ll want to select a plantain that’s pretty brown. Riper is definitely better.
In this recipe, I paired plantains with roasted red pepper, vegan cheese, and fresh arugula for a sweet/savory/spicy effect. It’s seriously drool-worthy. If you’ve had terrible luck with vegan cheese in the past, I recommend trying the Daiya brand. The key here is to buy a block of Daiya cheese, not the shreds. For some reason, shredding the block just before assembling your quesadillas provides a much more gooey, melted result.
You can serve these quesadillas with the condiment of your choice. If you’re in a pinch (or just feeling lazy), some store-bought pico de gallo or salsa works perfectly. I like eating mine with a side of the creamy avocado sauce from our latest vegan taco recipe. But to be honest, I like eating that stuff on everything. It’s really that good. These quesadillas are pretty hands-off. The longest part is waiting for the red pepper to roast, but if you multi-task you won’t be in the kitchen too long.Print
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 ripe plantain
- 2 whole wheat flour tortillas (taco sized)
- 1 cup vegan cheese, shredded (I used the Daiya Monterey Jack block)
- 1 cup fresh arugula or baby spinach leaves
- Creamy avocado sauce, for serving (optional)
1. First, roast the red pepper. Preheat your oven to 450F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the top off the red bell pepper and discard. Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise; remove the seeds and white membrane.
2. Place the bell pepper halves cut side down on the baking sheet and brush with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the skin is blistered and loose. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. When cool enough to handle, peel the bell pepper halves and discard the skins. Slice the pepper halves into ½-inch strips and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the plantain. Peel and slice the plantain into thin ¼-inch pieces. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over a medium flame. Cook the plantains for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. To assemble the quesadillas, heat your tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave or in a dry pan to soften them up. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the vegan cheese on half of each tortilla, followed by the plantain slices, roasted red pepper, and arugula or spinach. Divide the remaining ½ cup of vegan cheese between the two quesadillas and fold in half to close.
6. Carefully wipe out the pan you used to cook the plantains and return to medium heat. Place the quesadillas in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the tortilla is slightly crisp and the vegan cheese has melted. Remove from heat and slice each quesadilla into four triangles. Serve with creamy avocado sauce, if desired.