Recipephany Test Kitchen’s Chief Taster, Dan, likes to call these “Yummy Chongas” or “Tacodilla Grandes.” But their developer, Raegan Sales (also known for the best No-Knead Focaccia), calls them “Quesabeanas,” and that sums them up pretty well.
Refried beans sweetened with caramelized aromatics and spiked with hot sauce bulk up the humble quesadilla. A soft bean filling fuses with melted cheese so when you bite into the toasty flour tortilla, you taste nothing but delicious squishiness inside. And while it masquerades as fun food, the Quesabeana—especially with lots of toppings—includes all manner of healthy food groups.
While Raegan came up with the Quesabeana, her husband, our son Andrew, inspired the crispy cheese crust.
“He declared that the part where cheese leaked out and formed a crust was his favorite, so I started manufacturing bigger and bigger cheese spills,” she said. “Finally I thought, ‘screw it!’ and put the cheese directly in the pan.” As the cheese crisps, it also adds a hint of caramelization.
We’ve included this crispy-crust revelation into our recipephany. But if you prefer a straight toasted tortilla—or more importantly, if you don’t have a nonstick cooking utensil—do not sprinkle any cheese onto your pan or griddle. And it will brown up very nicely just the same.
But feel free to add any toppings right into the tortilla along with the bean filling, especially if you want to pick up and eat the Quesabeana without having anything fall off. Since Dan likes to eat it this way, also feel free to call it a “Torta Tostado,” or whatever else comes to mind.
- Flour tortillas (size of your choice)
- 1 16-ounce can refried beans
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 or 2 onions, chopped (we like lots of onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- Hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula style) or chopped jalapeño or serrano chilis, to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups Mexican blend, Monterey Jack, or other quesadilla cheese, shredded
Toppings: Chopped tomatoes, pico de gallo, queso fresco, chopped cilantro, sour cream, yogurt, guacamole, sliced scallions, lime juice, etc.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in pan. On medium heat, sauté chopped onion and carrot until slightly caramelized, then add minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until garlic gets fragrant. Mix in refried beans, hot sauce and/or chilis and stir until well combined and heated through. Add salt if you think it needs it.
- For each Quesabeana, spread some bean and veggie mix onto half of a tortilla and cover with shredded cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling.
- For a crunchy cheese coating on top, sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheese onto a nonstick pan or griddle.
- Place one or two (depending on the size of your pan) filled, folded tortillas onto the shredded cheese and heat on medium-low. Turn when bottom lightly browns and the cheese on the bottom gets golden and crispy. Heat until the inside cheese melts and bottom browns.
- Serve crispy-cheese side up with your favorite toppings.