I love pinto beans whether they’re from a can or I’ve soaked dried pinto beans overnight to cook and serve alongside cornbread. Refried beans are no exception to my love of pinto beans and I especially love them sandwiched between a flour tortilla and topped with melted cheddar cheese.
These Bean and Cheese Quesadillas are a quick and inexpensive lunch or dinner option for busy families on the go, or anyone who wants to add a few more meatless meals to their menu. Although I usually buy refried pinto beans for these quesadillas refried black beans work well too.
I use refried beans from a can most of the time when I’m making a batch of Bean & Cheese Quesadillas. They’re fast and tasty, but often times the refried beans are a little thick. I prefer a thick but spreadable consistency, so to achieve it I add a little water to the pot or microwaveable bowl, and stir them up until the consistency that I’m looking for is achieved. You don’t want the beans too thin or they will seep out of the sides of the quesadillas. If you accidentally have this happen, add some shredded cheese to the warm beans to thicken them.
I usually buy taco or fajitas size flour tortillas, but use whatever size that you have or that you prefer. Although many people stack two flour tortillas for the top and bottom of a quesadilla, I don’t. I find that it’s too hard to flip the tortilla so I always fill half of the tortilla, fold it in half, and then cook it.
If you’re looking to save calories then don’t melt butter in the pan only brown the outside of the tortilla in the warmed skillet. It will be just as tasty and toasty. Most restaurants cook the tortillas in a lot of butter so if you want a more authentic taste don’t skip the melted butter.
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I usually make 2 quesadillas per person depending on the size of the tortillas so the cook time of 5 minutes is enough to cook 2. If using the burrito size tortillas I will only eat one since they’re larger. Also, I have used all different types of cheese (preshredded or shredded in my kitchen). Use what you have or your family’s favorite. Pepper Jack, Monterrey, or Taco Seasoned Cheese are great options.
Warm the beans (with a little water if needed to achieve a thick spreadable consistency). The beans will pop as the warm so cover them with a lid or paper towel and stir often.
I like to assemble a few quesadillas and keep assembling them as the first few cook, but you can make them all ahead of time. To assemble the quesadilla, place a tortilla on a plate. Spread a thin layer of beans over half of the tortilla, sprinkle cheese over the beans and then fold the tortilla in half. (I assemble a couple as my skillet warms)
Warm a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Melt a little butter in the skillet (I slice the butter into 1/4 inch thick slice but add more butter if you want the outer layer to be more like a restaurant style quesadilla).
Place the quesadilla in the skillet over the melted butter and cook on the first side until it starts to turn a golden brown color. Flip the quesadilla and continue cooking until both sides are browned and the cheese is melted. If more butter is needed add a little more when flipping it to the uncooked side. Tortillas absorb quite a bit of butter.
Cut the cooled quesadilla into triangles and serve with taco sauce or salsa, and sour cream. We like to use the Taco Bell brand sauces that are found in the Latin food aisle.
Refrigerate any leftover beans for day two. I don’t make too many quesadillas because I prefer to cook the tortillas as we plan to eat them.
Note – You may need to adjust the temperature between medium high and medium. The more quesadillas you cook, the hotter the pan will become. Don’t let it become too hot or the cheese won’t melt and the tortilla will become too brown.