A crispy tortilla filled with refried beans, melted cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, sweet corn, red bell pepper, and juicy, Mexican-spiced ground beef - these Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas are a family favorite. If only restaurant quality was this awesome! Added bonus - they are super quick and easy to make.
This is another one of the recipes I keep in my back pocket for busy weeknight dinners. It's quick, it's easy, and the kids love it!
I made up this silly name for them when the kids were younger. They thought it was funny, but it has stuck over the years. I had a little giggle when my oldest suggest I share the recipe for them. I'm not sure what else to call them! 🙂
We don't even bother ordering quesadillas in restaurants anymore because these Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas are so amazing. They have the perfect balance of flavors and textures. The tortilla is light and crispy. And then there's the gooey melted cheese. Cheddar and pepper jack make a great combination, and using more than one cheese gives a more complex flavor. Sweet corn and red bell pepper add more flavor and texture to the mix as well as beautiful color. The Mexican spiced ground beef filling really takes these Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas to a whole new level.
If you're short on time, you could just use a packet of taco seasoning and ground beef - I have done that many a times, and it still tastes great. Every busy cook needs a shortcut. But if you want really amazing - like the best quesadillas you have ever eaten - take the easy extra steps of sautéing some onion, red bell pepper, and garlic before adding the ground beef and using homemade taco seasoning. It makes all the difference. Try my Homemade Taco Seasoning. It has the perfect blend of flavors. In all the years I have been making quesadillas for my family, they have never tasted so amazing as when using homemade taco seasoning and taking the extra steps for flavor in the beef filling. Tomato paste stirred into the beef filling adds another dimension of flavor and thickens up the juices.
You can use canned refried beans to make these Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, or you can make your own from dried beans. As usual, homemade is the best and has a superior flavor. But, sometimes we need shortcuts. I usually have some homemade refried beans in the fridge for a quick lunch or late night snack. Check out my Refried Beans Recipe if you want to make your own. I've used cheddar and pepper jack cheeses in this recipe, but substitute your favorite cheese. Prepackaged Mexican style cheeses are a great option.
To make the Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, layer the refried beans, the cheddar cheese, the beef filling, the corn, and then the pepper jack cheese on one half of a large flour tortilla. Fold the other half of the tortilla on top of the filling and shallow fry in a large skillet until both sides are golden brown. Cut the tortilla into wedges and serve.
Serve the Beefy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas with Avocado Crema. Its cool creaminess contrasts with the crispy tortilla and spicy filling. And it adds one more layer of flavor and texture. All of the textures and flavors going on in these quesadillas - they are AMAZING.
For the meat:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (or 1 packet)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 15oz can refried beans (or homemade)
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated (8oz)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (8oz)
- 1 cup corn (thawed if frozen)
- 6 large tortillas
- Vegetable oil for shallow frying
- Avocado Crema (click for link)
To make the beef filling:
- Sauté onion and red pepper in oil for a minute or two.
- Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Add bouillon cube and garlic when meat is about halfway done.
- Add taco seasoning and tomato paste, combine thoroughly and cook for two minutes.
To assemble and cook:
- Lay 1 quesadilla on a work surface. Spread ⅙ of the beans (about 2.5oz) on one half of the quesadilla. Layer on top of beans ⅙ of the jack cheese, ⅙ of the beef filling, ⅙ of the corn, and ⅙ of the cheddar cheese. Fold other half of tortilla on top of filling.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add about ½ tablespoon vegetable oil to pan and spread evenly. Place quesadilla in pan and cook until bottom is golden brown. Brush top of quesadilla with vegetable oil and flip. Cook bottom side until golden brown. (You can cook 2 quesadillas at a time if your pan is large enough.)
- Remove from pan and place on a rack. You can place it in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the rest.
- Repeat with rest of quesadillas.
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