Vegan Southwest Quesadillas

Gah, I’ve been eating so much cheese lately. My mom would not approve. I grew up primarily vegan, as in my mom would attend my friends’ birthday parties and strip the mozzarella from my pizza. And my dad would eat ice cream labeled off limits, and somehow my inquisitive little self actually wouldn’t ask questions. (Though, rest assured there was usually a bowl of Wildberry Tofutti in front of me during these after-dinner occasions).

I don’t really recall when I started assimilating dairy into my diet. Probably once I hit middle school and wasn’t packing my neon purple lunchbox everyday. But I still try to shy away from eating cheese in excess. Even if it doesn’t give rise to more frequent occurrences of colds and sniffles like my mom would claim, and aside from ethical issues, I’ll never consider cheese to be a healthy item in my diet. Dairy items are generally high in fat and cholesterol, which vegan or not, you can’t argue are prime health promoters.

Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually go back to being vegan, but for now, I’m enjoying everything in moderation (meat excluded). Like the occasional mozzarella on my tomato-basil sandwich. Mmm.

Though, in trying to prevent moderation from becoming a daily occurrence, sometimes I’ll buy cheese substitutes. These are best in moderation too, but flavor-wise, there have definitely been some decent ones placed on the market in recent years. I’ve been a big fan of Daiya from its start, and not long ago they released their newest flavor, Pepperjack.

Pepperjack Daiya has been my quesadilla superstar these past few days. It’s the perfect mom-approved, dairy free, cholesterol free cheesy compliment to sautéed peppers from the garden. I’ve also added a few other veggies to make this whole wheat quesadilla A-list quality. Add some fresh cilantro and salsa, and you’ve got an easy meal for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast.

Vegan Southwest Quesadillas

Yield: Serves 4


  • -4 medium-large whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • -1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • -1 onion, thinly sliced
  • -1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • -3 cloves garlic, diced
  • -8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • -1/4 tsp. cumin, or more to taste
  • -1 cup Daiya Pepperjack shredded cheese
  • -1/3 cup cilantro
  • -Salt and pepper, to taste
  • -Salsa
  • -Hot sauce, optional
  • -Vegan sour cream, optional


  1. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add onions and peppers, and saute for 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Saute until peppers are tender, adding cumin halfway through.
  2. Once veggie mixture is finished sauteing, spray another saute pan with oil/cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Add tortilla. Spread 1/4 cup of Daiya cheese across one half of the tortilla. Let cheese begin to melt and then spoon a layer of veggie mixture and Tbsp. of cilantro on top. Fold empty half of tortilla over top of veggie side. Finish cooking until outsides are brown and cheese is melted. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
  3. Serve alongside salsa, and vegan sour cream and/or hot sauce, if desired.

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  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    August 1, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Sounds wonderful! Too bad we don’t sell the pepperjack Daiya cheese where I work. I have been doing a bi-monthly vegetarian demo in our demo kitchen, and it’s getting really popular. I’d love to try this, but maybe I’ll use real cheese….

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  • Reply
    August 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    This looks really tasty!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    This looks delicious!
    I might try something similar with cheese/veggies/mushrooms in a tortilla! I don’t have all the ingredients you listed, but the idea is great!
    I also will use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream.
    I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian, but I don’t feel like I “need” meat in all my meals. 🙂


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