July 27, 2014 | Posted in:Dinner, Gluten-Free, Lunch

I have been going a little crazy over cashew cheese lately. I was avoiding it for a little while. I think that’s because perfecting the taste of cashew cheese takes a lot of experimentation, and I’m someone who likes to get it right the first time.

About a week ago, I decided to put my ego aside and took a stab at making the first vegan quesadilla I’ve ever attempted to make… with cashew cheese. DUN DUN DUN. My first attempt created the texture I wanted, but the quesadilla as a whole was a bit dry. Next time, I added more cheese to moisten it up, but the taste didn’t wow me.

The third time was a charm with this one, which is what you’ll be viewing today (and hopefully trying yourself later)! I have to give it up to my once aquaintence, now friend, Nutritional Yeast. You really pull your weight in creating the cheese flavor. I must say, however, that the true star of this post goes to Smoked Paprika. Smoked Paprika was the key ingredient I needed to make me say, “Oh my God. This tastes like a real quesadilla.” out loud.  Nutritional Yeast and Smoked Paprika, you two make a GREAT COUPLE, and you have earned a permanent spot in my spice collection! Congrats!

Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cashew Cheese

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 whole quesadillas



For Monterey Jack Cashew Cheese:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews (soaked for 8 hours, then drained, OR milled)
  • 4 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil

Other Ingredients Needed:

  • 8 flour tortillas (for GF, corn tortillas and GF tortillas both work perfectly)
  • 1 15oz can of organic & vegetarian refried beans
  • red onion, diced
  • tomatoes, diced
  • red pepper, diced


Step 1: Blend the raw cashews.

Let’s get the most difficult part out of the way first, and that’s the cashew cheese. I have a NutriBullet, which has a milling blade that grinds cashews to a flour without the need for soaking. (Seriously people, buy a NutriBullet. They’re the best.) I believe a coffee grinder will do the job, as well. For the non-soakers, blend your cashews first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Pre milling

Pre milling

Post milling

Post milling

For most of you, you will need to soak your cashews for 8 hours prior to making this meal. Once the soaking is over, drain your cashews. Make sure you have a strong blender or food processor to avoid chunks of wet cashews (ew). For the soakers, you’ll probably need blend the cashews and coconut milk first before adding the rest of the ingredients.


Step 2: Blend the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients.

Blend ingredients until you have a smooth, thick consistency. This cheese is really thick and oozy. It makes a huge mess in whatever it’s being blended in!



Put the cashew cheese to the side.

Mmmm… I can't wait to eat you.

Mmmm… I can’t wait to eat you.


Step 3: Prepare tortillas, refried beans, and vegetables.

Start with the bottom tortilla. Add 1-2 generous spoonfuls of refried beans on top, spreading it around evenly with the back of the spoon.


For non-GFers, I am currently in love with Trader Joe’s Habañero Lime Tortillas!

Next, add your vegetables. I didn’t specify specific amounts because it’s your preference!



Step 4: Spread cashew cheese on top tortilla.

Add 2-3 generous spoonfuls of cashew cheese on top of the tortilla that hasn’t been used yet.


Now, take the top tortilla and make it “kiss” the bottom tortilla. Pat it down gently so everything sticks.



Here was Matt's gluten-free corn tortilla. :)

Here was Matt’s gluten-free corn tortilla. 🙂

Step 5: Bake.

Bake your tortillas in the oven at 400 degrees for about 7-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on your quesadillas, as every tortilla is different and unpredictable.

Just ask my toaster oven, which is now covered in soot after a tortilla incident a few weeks ago. It caught on fire while toasting a tortilla. I swear, sometimes, I wonder if I really should be the person behind a food blog.

Anyway, just make sure the tortillas are crispy enough to hold their own, but by no means burnt. Okay?


Step 6: Slice and serve!



Look at the oozy cheese! It’s so exciting!


I enjoyed these quesadillas with a Mexican side-dish favorite, Fiesta Potatoes. Click here to get the recipe.

If you happen to try this recipe and have Instagram, take a picture of your quesadilla and use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see your wonderful creation. Don’t forget to add me at thisvegangirl, as I update my IG every day.

This is just the beginning of my cashew cheese journey! Stay tuned, everyone!


Happy cooking,



  1. Karen
    August 3, 2014

    Sounds delish! I just pinned it in my vegan recipe file – can’t wait to give it a try!

    • This Vegan Girl
      August 3, 2014

      Yay! I know you’ll love it! 🙂

  2. rex mills
    October 10, 2014

    Is that coconut milk (like soy) or the milk you use in Thai dishes? Thank you

    • This Vegan Girl
      October 11, 2014

      I use the coconut milk in the box, similar to soy milk. Good question!

  3. Deese
    December 18, 2014

    I just made this and it is fantastic! I think I used too much cashews. I could figure out how many cups 4 hand fulls equaled. My hands are tiny and my wifes are giant so we went with 1 1/2 cups. The cheese was very thick but very good! 🙂 We used it for chili cheese fries and will be making quesadilllas tonight!

    • This Vegan Girl
      December 18, 2014

      Oops! Your story is hilarious. I guess I didn’t realize that people have different-sized hands when I wrote this thing, which sounds pretty stupid looking back, lol. My handful is about 1/2 cup, so this recipe requires 2 cups of cashews. Thanks for the compliment! Oh, and chili cheese fries with this cheese sounds amazing.

  4. Christina
    January 21, 2015

    I just made this today and it was so good! I’ve never tried cashew cheese and was a bit wary of how it would taste, but combined with all the veggies and beans it was DELICIOUS.

    • This Vegan Girl
      January 21, 2015

      That’s great news, Christina!! Cashew cheese, and nut cheese in general, can be pretty amazing stuff. Thanks for trying it out!

  5. Jilly
    May 6, 2015

    Eating the cashew cheese dip with chips right now! So good! I only soaked the cashews for 30 minutes & it blended fine in my Ninja.

    • This Vegan Girl
      May 8, 2015

      YUMMY! I’ve never tried it as a dip before, but I know it’d be delish! I’m happy that your Ninja blended it in such a short amount of time. Thanks for the comment!

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