As our journey into a vegetarian lifestyle began, my journey to find new quick and easy food options also began. Sure there are plenty of delicious (often complex), nutrient filled vegetarian recipes out there- but weeknights are busy at our house! I needed to find some easy, quick meals that were also nutritious and gave my family the protein we needed to stay healthy.
With chicken nuggets and fish sticks out of the question- I searched the freezer section for an equally easy alternative. I found veggie patties and my life has not been the same since! These amazing, protein and nutrient packed little wonders come in a variety of flavors. I try to limit my families soy intake, so I always scan ingredient labels and choose the patties (often called burgers) that are made with a base of different vegetables rather than soy protein. We love anything black bean, so its no surprise that black bean burgers are our favorite choice when shopping the local freezer section. California Vegetable Medley burgers, Portobello Mushroom patties and Quinoa Crunch patties are also delicious options that we buy frequently.
These veggie patty quesadillas feature grilled veggies, cheese and a veggie patty wrapped and grilled in a tortilla. It’s an easy, handheld weeknight meal!
Veggie Patty Quesadillas
Ingredients: (Makes 4 large quesadillas)
- 4 pack of your favorite veggie patties
- 4 8″ whole wheat soft tortilla shells
- 2 portobello mushroom caps
- 1 bell pepper (any color)
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 2-3 cups of thinly sliced or shredded Monterrey jack cheese (or your favorite kind of hard cheese!)
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional)
- Begin by cooking the veggie patties according to the package. If there is an option on the box to cook the patties on the stove top I always choose this method. It is the quickest method (no oven preheating!) and you can get a nice browned crispy edge on the patties which I love!
- Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium high heat in a large stove top skillet.
- Clean and chop the mushrooms, pepper and onion into approximately 1 inch strips.
- Add the onion and pepper to the heated oil and saute for 3-4 minutes- just until the veggies start to break down and get tender. Stir frequently. Once the peppers and onions have began to soften, add the mushrooms. Stir and add the cumin and if using- nutritional yeast. *Check the notes at the bottom of the recipe for some more info about nutritional yeast
- Continue to cook the veggies for 5 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Remove from heat as you build your quesadillas.
- Heat a flat stove top pan or grill pan over medium heat. Heat the tortillas in the pan for 30 seconds on each side. Begin building your quesadilla by placing a layer of cheese on half of each tortilla.
- Cut each veggie patty in half. Place the patty on top of the cheese. Top the patty with grilled veggies and another later of cheese.
- Fold each tortilla in half and place back on the heated pan or grill pan. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is browned. If your tortilla is browning too quickly, lower the heat on your burner. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite toppings! Enjoy!
*Notes: I always use nutritional yeast when grilling or sauteing veggies. It is packed full of vitamins and nutrients that may be lacking from some vegetarian and vegan diets. The yeast has a cheesy, salty, buttery flavor while being vegan friendly and salt free! It is great cooked with veggies and scrambled eggs and delicious sprinkled on popcorn. It can be found in most grocery stores with the spices or in the health food section.
I like to use a different pan for cooking the quesadillas than I do for the veggies. This way my tortillas are simply cooked in the pan rather than fried in any leftover oil from the veggie pan. I do not add oil to the pan I use for the tortillas. These are personal preferences. I do however almost always use the same pan for cooking the patties and the quesadilla. I also omit oil when cooking the patties.
After reading about wood pulp and other additives being mixed with shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together (YUK!) I decided to invest in a cheese grater attachment for my mixer. It quickly shreds blocks of cheese with ease! If I don’t have the time (or lets be honest- the motivation) to use the shredder I just use a good ole fashioned knife and slice pieces of cheese right off the block for the quesadillas.