Quesadillas de Papa

two vegan quesadillas that are decorated like bear faces, served on a table with small bowls of dip

♫ Listening to: Vacation by Crying ♫

These quesadillas are easy to make. They have a crispness when you bite into them, but have a warm, gooey, soft middle. Quesadillas de papa is what they’re called in Mexico, but they’re basically just quesadillas with vegan cheese and mashed potatoes inside. You can even omit the cheese and they’re still delicious. If you want to make your quesadillas healthy, you can add spinach or kale too. Making these quesadillas vegan is easy: just use vegan cheese instead of breast milk cheese and use vegan butter (I use organic earth balance) in the pan. Also watch out for the tortillas, because once in a while, you’ll come across flour tortillas that contain lard (animal fat).

When I was a latchkey kid, I would come home from school every day and have one of two main after-school snacks. One was cereal. The other was quesadillas. I thought how to make them was to slice cheese, set it on a tortilla, and melt in the microwave. They came out soft like quesadillas from taco bell. Now that I’m a sophisticated grown up, I make my quesadillas on the stove and then I decorate them to look like bears. I know…the epitome of maturity, right?

This recipe makes 4 vegan quesadillas or 2 quesadilla bears (plus scraps).

Vegan Quesadillas de Papa Ingredients

Dollhouse Shortcut

If you don’t have mashed potatoes already made and don’t want to make any, other quesadillas ideas include fillings like refried beans, guacamole, and just cheese. I really like quesadillas with refried beans.

  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 4 cups of mashed potatoes
  • ½ package (4oz / 100g) vegan grated cheddar cheese (I prefer violife epic mature)
  • 1 (16oz/450g) can of refried beans (optional for decoration)
  • 2 olives (optional for decoration)
  • ¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (I like the organic whipped earth balance) for the pan

Vegan Quesadillas de Papa Directions

prep time: 5 min + cook time: 20 min = total time: 25 min

Easy Quesadilla Recipe

Heat a cast iron pan (or other large frying pan) over medium heat.

Add a spoonful of organic earth balance (or any vegan butter or margarine) to the pan, and when it starts to melt, move it around with a spatula to coat the entire bottom of the pan.

Spread mashed potatoes all over one side of a flour tortilla. If you prefer quesadillas with corn tortillas, just substitute organic corn tortillas for the flour ones. As a teenager, my friend and I ordered quesadillas from Mexican guys (Rodrigo and Martin), and they were always made with flour tortillas, but I’ve seen quesadilla de papa recipes that use corn tortillas.

Lay the tortilla with the mashed potatoes on it into the cast iron or frying pan, potato side up.

assembling a vegan quesadilla de papa in the pan

Sprinkle the vegan grated cheddar cheese all over the mashed potato covered tortilla.

Place another flour tortilla on top of the potatoes and cheese, aligning it with the other tortilla.

Cover the pan with a lid to help the cheese melt.

Spread mashed potatoes all over one side of a second flour tortilla while the first quesadilla is cooking.

Flip the quesadilla, carefully, once it starts to brown on the bottom. I usually slide my spatula under it and take a peek. The reason I say to flip carefully is because I miiiight have gotten a little carried away with one of my flips and flung mashed potatoes all over part of my stove. Please learn from my mistake and make small calculated movements when you flip.

vegan quesadilla de papa after it’s been flipped

Transfer the quesadilla from the frying pan to a plate, once the cheese has melted and the tortilla has browned on both sides.

Add a spoonful of earth balance to the pan, and move it around with a spatula to coat the entire bottom of the pan.

Lay the second tortilla with the mashed potatoes on it into the cast iron or frying pan, potato side up.

Sprinkle the vegan grated cheddar cheese all over the mashed potato covered tortilla.

Cover the pan with the lid.

Repeat the same steps until all 4 quesadillas are cooked.

At this point you can cut them into triangles and serve them or you can continue with the following directions if you want to make quesadilla bears.

Quesadillas for Kids Recipe

Cut 3 circles out of each of the last 2 quesadillas using one of your biscuit cutters or an empty can or whatever you have, so you end up with 6 circles.

cutting 3 circles out of each vegan quesadilla using a biscuit cutter

Set the circles on the large quesadillas to make ears and a nose for the bear.

Cut 2 olives in half to use as the bears’ eyes.

Add some refried beans or guacamole to the nose.

vegan quesadillas de papa, decorated to look like bears

Serve with organic salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce. If you have leftovers, these can be reheated in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer for a few minutes.

For other recipes that use leftover mashed potatoes, check out this recipe.

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* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter - when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.

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