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Doubling as a quick and easy weeknight dinner and a fabulous casual party appetizer for game day and beyond, refried bean quesadillas with spinach are packed with flavor, comfort, and nutrition. Don’t miss them.

a refried bean quesadilla topped with avocado, sour cream, pickled onions, and sour cream on a blue background
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Why we love this recipe

In the spirit of, “You can’t please everyone — you’re not tacos,” there’s not much in the world more consistently crowd-pleasing than a quesadilla. It’s quick, easy, satisfying, full of flavor, and in this case also vegetarian and packed with nutrients. This recipe is:

  • Ready in about 20 minutes
  • Easy to scale up or down to suit your crowd
  • Equally at home as a main dish or an appetizer
  • Ready to dress up or dress down, whichever you prefer

As I said when I first published this recipe here back in 2018, things don’t have to be fancy to be good. But sometimes they have to be NOT fancy to be good. (Scroll down below the recipe card to see what else I said, if you enjoy vintage food blogging.)

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Flour tortillas make great quesadillas, though you can use corn or other gluten-free ones if you prefer. The recipe calls for burrito-sized tortillas to cut into wedges and share, but you can use 6- or 8-inch ones for individual servings if you prefer.
  • Grab a can of refried beans or make your own. To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetarian beans.
  • Mexican-style shredded cheese blend makes things easy and tasty, but you can use jack or pepper jack, cheddar, or any other cheese that melts well and has an amenable flavor profile.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make an easy and fabulous batch of refried bean quesadillas. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Spread some beans and sprinkle some cheese onto half the tortillas.
  2. Sauté the garlic and spinach in a bit of olive oil until just wilted. If there’s any liquid, drain it.
  3. Divid the spinach among the quesadillas and top with the other half of the tortillas.
  4. Cook in a dry pan until the cheese is beginning to melt and the underside is toasty, then flip once and cook until cheese is fully melted. Cut into wedges and serve with your preferred toppings.

Expert tips and FAQs

How should I top them?

You’ve got two great options for topping this quesadilla: awesome it up with pickled onions and cilantro sauce, or make it super easy with jarred salsa. Either way, add some sliced avocado and sour cream if you feel like it. You can’t lose.

Can I make these in advance? What about leftovers?

Refried bean quesadillas will be at their best shortly after cooking, but you’ve got options. You can prep and assemble them in advance and store, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for up to a couple of days or in the freezer for a few months, then cook and top right before serving. (To freeze, wrap well and place on cookie sheets until frozen solid to preserve their shape.)

Or you can cook them up to a few hours in advance and reheat in a 300°F oven right before serving.

Leftovers (especially if not topped) will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can reheat them in a toaster oven or 300°F oven before serving.

More easy Mexican-inspired favorites

a refried bean quesadilla topped with avocado, sour cream, pickled onions, and sour cream on a blue background

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a refried bean quesadilla topped with avocado, sour cream, pickled onions, and sour cream on a blue background
5 from 5 votes

Refried Bean Quesadillas with Spinach

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This easy and satisfying vegetarian quesadilla recipe is equally at home as a family dinner or a party appetizer.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

For the quesadillas

  • 4 12- inch flour tortillas, burrito-sized
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) canned vegetarian refried beans
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 ounces (280 grams) baby spinach

To serve, optional

Instructions 

  • Place two of the tortillas on work surface. Spread each with half of the refried beans and sprinkle evenly with half of the cheese, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the edge to account for melting. 
  • In a 12-inch skillet (nonstick or cast iron), warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. If there is liquid in the pan, drain it before proceeding. Divide spinach between tortillas and arrange over cheese.
  • Place one of the remaining tortillas on top of each quesadilla. 
  • Wipe out the skillet and set over medium heat, then cook quesadillas one at a time until lightly browned and crisp on the outside and melty on the inside, flipping once, a few minutes per side. (Or see below for oven instructions.)
  • Cut into wedges, top with pickled onions, cilantro sauce, sliced avocado and sour cream if you want to go nuts like I always do. Otherwise, they’re great with sour cream and your favorite jarred salsa.

Notes

  1. Flour tortillas make great quesadillas, but you can use corn or other gluten-free ones if you prefer. If you prefer, use 6- or 8-inch tortillas for individual dinners.
  2. Here’s how to make your own refried beans. To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetarian beans.
  3. Mexican-style shredded cheese blend makes things easy and tasty, but you can use jack or pepper jack, cheddar, or any other cheese that melts well and has an amenable flavor profile.
  4. To cook quesadillas in the oven, preheat oven and two sheet pans to 400°F. Spray hot pans with cooking spray. Place one quesadilla on each sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake about 5 minutes more. I(f you’re the type of cook who likes top-secret pro-tip life hacks, you can bake your quesadillas between two sheet pans to crisp both sides at the same time and not have to flip them.)
  5. Quesadillas will be at their best shortly after cooking, but you’ve got options. You can prep and assemble them in advance and store, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for up to a couple of days or in the freezer for a few months, then cook and top right before serving. (To freeze, wrap well and place on cookie sheets until frozen solid to preserve their shape.) Or you can cook them up to a few hours in advance and reheat in a 300°F oven right before serving.
  6. Leftovers (especially if not topped) will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can reheat them in a toaster oven or 300°F oven before serving.
I first published this recipe here in 2018. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcal, Carbohydrates: 43.9g, Protein: 25.1g, Fat: 16.9g, Fiber: 5.8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Mexican-Inspired
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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P.S. A bit of the original text from 2018

Well, hello there. It’s Tuesday, and Tuesdays are not usually new recipe days on Umami Girl. But we had these quesadillas over the weekend, and Sunday is the Super Bowl, and it just seems crazy not to share this easy vegetarian happiness right this minute.

Why hoard happiness, right? That’s not how it works. That’s DEFINITELY not what the Superb Owl would do. WWTSOD? Not that.

Happy weeknight dinner or game day party. May the peace of the Superb Owl be with you always.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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