These easy, healthy Vegan Kimchi Quesadillas are perfect for a light lunch or dinner!
When I first went vegan, I thought it would be really hard (read: impossible) to eat out at restaurants. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to go out anymore; or if I did, I would be a huge drag on my friends / family / whoever I was with. But I couldn’t have been more wrong in that assumption. It’s actually way easier to eat vegan at restaurants than I thought it would be. I think in all the time I’ve been vegan, I’ve only had one mishap – where the restaurant put cheese in a veggie burger without saying so on the menu (which is a lawsuit waiting to happen if a customer had a severe dairy allergy…. just saying).
I’m very fortunate that my two favorite cuisines – Mexican and Japanese – are both extremely vegan friendly. At Mexican restaurants, I almost always order fajitas so I can make my own little tacos, with guacamole on the side OF COURSE. (Taking a quick second to thank God right now that guacamole is vegan). And then at Japanese restaurants it’s even easier. The options are so great – vegetable tempura (which is traditionally made without eggs, but I always ask), vegetable sushi, edamame, brown or white rice, vegetable dumplings, miso soup, salad with ginger carrot dressing… JAPANESE FOOD, I LOVE YOU. However, getting to go to a restaurant where everything on the menu is vegan is a very rare treat.
This past weekend, I went up to New Hampshire with my parents to go to the Keene Music & Arts Festival. My parent’s house is in New Hampshire but just on the border of Vermont. For lunch we stopped at Superfresh Café, a local vegan, gluten-free, and farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Brattleboro VT. And oh. my. gosh. IT WAS AMAZING. Just the feeling of knowing I could get anything I wanted on the menu was enough for me to go bounding in with a huge smile on my face.
Normally when I go to restaurants I don’t take pictures of the food – I’m a food blogger and I need a break sometimes!! But I made an exception for Superfresh Café because I just knew the food would be good.
This is what we ordered:
1// Fresh Pressed Lemonade with spring water and VT maple syrup
2// Chocolate Mylkshake with coconut mylk, ice, cashews, frozen bananas, vanilla, and dates
3// Oven-Baked Fries with herbs and a chipotle aioli
4// Kimchi Quesadilla with a brown rice tortilla, black bean spread, greens, and daiya cheeze
5// Fancy Avocado Sandwich with house-baked bread, avocado, greens, tomato, and sprouts
6// Hash Browns with a raw carrot + cabbage slaw and a creamy dill sauce
Unsurprisingly, everything was SCRUMPTIOUS. It’s hard to choose, but if I had to pick my favorite thing that I ordered it would be the hash browns. If you look at the last photo in the sequence of the restaurant pictures above, you’ll see that the white plate is completely devoid of hash browns. Somehow they got into my belly before I could take a cohesive photo. But seriously, these were the best hash browns I’ve ever had, and that accolade is even going back into my non-vegan days. It also should also be noted that I’m a bit of a potato fiend and have thus sampled a large variety of hash browns. But these easily took the cake.
My two other favorite things were the kimchi quesadilla and the chocolate mylkshake. Being lactose-intolerant growing up, I never really had a lot of milkshakes. But I do remember what they taste like, and I was amazed at how much the mylkshake tasted like a true chocolate milkshake. It was creamy, thick, chocolately, cool, and perfectly sweet. The experimentation with cashew-based mylkshakes (especially after getting this recipe under my belt!) will commence shortly.
The kimchi quesadilla was also mindblowingly good, to the point where I just had to recreate it at home. The components in here are so genius together – a thick, umami-rich black bean spread, crunchy fresh greens, spicy and tangy kimchi, and a perfectly crispy brown rice tortilla. This last ingredient was fairly new to me – I don’t have gluten sensitivity, so I’ve never really tried gluten-free products. But this brown rice tortilla was so crazy good that I don’t think I can ever go back to their flour-y counterparts. Seriously, if you’ve never tried them before, GO FOR IT. The texture, the taste – it’s just different, but when you sauté them up in a pan with a little olive oil, you get this crunchy, satisfying bite.
Vegan Kimchi Quesadillas
Black Bean Spread
- 1 15 oz Can Black Beans preferably organic
- 1/8 Tsp Chili Powder
- 1/8 Tsp Cumin
- Pinch of Salt
- Two handfuls of arugula
- Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Juice from 1/2 a Lime
- Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
- Your Favorite Kimchi I like Mama O's Super Spicy!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the pan
- Brown Rice Tortillas
Black Bean Spread
- Pour can of black beans into a small saucepan (liquid and all!), and mix with chili powder, cumin, and salt.
- Let beans cook, covered, on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 10 minutes, remove beans from heat and let cool slightly.
- Pour beans into a food processor or blender, and blend until a fairly smooth consistency is formed.
- In a bowl, combine two handfuls of arugula, a small drizzle of olive oil, juice from 1/2 a lime, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix with hands. Taste and adjust as needed.
- To make the quesadillas, spread as much black bean spread onto half of the tortilla as desired. Then, layer some fresh arugula (not the salad you just made!!). On top of that, layer your kimchi, as much as you like.
- Bring a little olive oil in a sauté pan to medium heat on the stove. When your quesadillas are assembled, fold in half and cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until just a bit brown.
Putting it All Together
- Serve quesadillas on a bed of the arugula salad, with a few slices of avocado on the side (if desired).
- Because quesadillas are subject to personal preference, the yield will differ from person to person. However I estimate that this recipe will serve four quesadillas.
Song of the Day:
Everything is Moving So Fast – Great Lake Swimmers
Rebecca @ Strength and SunshineSeptember 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm
Eeeeee! Well these look and sound mindblowing to me!!! I want some!!! <3 Fabulous flavors all around!
SarahSeptember 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm
I actually thought of you when I posted this, because I know you’re gluten-free!! :D How AMAZING are brown rice tortillas, right?!
Kathryn @ The Scratch ArtistSeptember 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm
These look so good Sarah! My sister was allergic to wheat (the allergy amazingly disappeared) and we had similar restaurant challenges. I am surprised that you have had a relatively easy time finding vegan options. Yikes about the cheese in the veggie burger (you’re right lawsuit waiting to happen)! Similar thing happened to my sister once too. We told the waiter about her allergy and he brings out a dish with some hidden battered ingredient (can’t remember now what it was). We discovered the problem half-way through eating it. We had to leave he restaurant immediately because she had seriously unpleasant physical effects. I quickly went to pay the check and saw that the offending dish was on the bill! Take a guess whether I made a scene?! Needless to say, we never went back. Happy to hear that you found such a prefect restaurant!
SarahSeptember 10, 2015 at 10:33 pm
Oh no that sounds awful!! I’m glad you stuck up for yourself though, when the waiter kept the offending food on the bill. What if your sister was deathly allergic to wheat (or anything, for that matter), and the restaurant was negligent in its menu descriptions?! I actually really respect that you said something. You go girl!! <3
Little Vegan BearSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:02 am
These look easy and delicious! I always have kim chi in my fridge, so I’m going to remember this for a quick throw together meal!
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 7:59 am
I always have kimchi in my fridge too! It’s the best :)
Taylor @ Food Faith FitnessSeptember 11, 2015 at 7:25 am
Seriously how genius are these! I would have never thought to put Kimchi in a quesadilla, but now that’s all my taste buds can think about! Totally need to get on this for lunch! Pinned!
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 8:00 am
Thanks girl!! :D
Abby @ The Frosted VeganSeptember 11, 2015 at 10:41 am
When I first went vegan, I thought quesadillas were going to be a ‘I can never eat them again’ food. NOPE! I haven’t tried kimchi in anything but rice, but now I’m excited to!
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:44 pm
I thought the same thing, going vegan!! But it’s crazy how satisfying the black beans are in this quesadilla. And spicy kimchi just makes anything better! :D
Sharon RichatdsSeptember 11, 2015 at 11:42 am
Too bad you didn’t go to the country life restaurant in Keene. You would had gotten equally if not better food.
You must try it the next time you visit our great state.
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm
I didn’t know there was a vegan restaurant in Keene!! I will absolutely be going next time!! :D Thanks for pointing it out to me :)
Sarah @ Making Thyme for HealthSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm
I can completely relate to how you feel when you find a restaurant that’s entirely vegan! It’s the best thing ever. And it also takes me like 30 minutes to decide what I want, lol.
I can see why the kimchi quesadillas were your favorite. They look incredible! I’m always looking for ways to incorportate more probiotics in my diet and these sound like the perfect way to do it!
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 12:44 pm
That’s actually how I got into kimchi in the first place!! My doctor recommended that I eat more probiotic foods so that’s what I did :D
Kathleen | Hapa Nom NomSeptember 11, 2015 at 7:03 pm
These look so bright and vibrant! And I LOVE kimchi! Though I’ve never tried vegan kimchi, so thank you for the Mama O’s recommendation! This is a perfect for a quick lunch – pinned for sure!
SarahSeptember 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm
Thanks Kathleen!! :D
thefoliaSeptember 12, 2015 at 1:51 am
It does look yummy…will have to give it a shot…happy feasting!
SarahSeptember 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm
Thank you, you as well! :)
AlenaSeptember 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm
This is awesome! I actually follow Superfresh Cafe on FB because i went there this past winter and I absolutely LOVED it!! I saw that they posted something about your blog so I came here to check it out. I love your writing style and this recipe is definitely a must try! I’ve been wanting to make some kimchi for a while so right now seems to be a good time so I can try this recipe! Thanks Sarah :)
SarahSeptember 13, 2015 at 11:03 pm
Thank you Alena!! :D
Audrey @ Unconventional BakerSeptember 15, 2015 at 12:45 am
Wow. These look unbelievable! I haven’t had quesadillas in ages too — need to change that ASAP. And I can totally relate to that feeling of freedom when you know you can order anything on the menu — it’s a rare occurrence for me because I’ve got a lot of food sensitivities, but when it happens I’m smiling ear-to-ear :)
SarahSeptember 15, 2015 at 7:53 am
Isn’t it the greatest feeling?? And an extra bonus too when the food is delicious ;)
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Johanna WoodburyMarch 28, 2016 at 2:38 am
I know it’s been awhile since you’ve been to Brattleboro but I’m just seeing this blog post I live right up the street from Superfresh, and if you go again you should get the baked Burrito.
SarahMarch 28, 2016 at 10:38 am
Next time I go to Superfresh I’ll have to try it!! Thanks for the recommendation :)
jessica norrisMay 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm
I find that if I warm up the brown rice tortilla in a pan for about 2 minutes each side, then add ingredients & proceed with cooking it in the pan again, my fold does not tear.
SarahMay 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm
Thanks for the tip, Jessica! I’ll definitely have to try it! :D
ChloeMarch 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm
I love this recipe and the idea you made quesadilla with kimchi. One thing, as a Korean, Kimchi is Korean traditional food . I just can’t skip without sayung it :) . Thank you for sharing this recipe, really appreciate!
SarahMarch 8, 2019 at 11:30 am
Thanks so much for your note, Chloe! I love kimchi and it’s delicious in this recipe :) I hope you like it!
Sujin kimMarch 9, 2021 at 12:25 pm
Hi I love your recipe and looks so heavenly good. But I would like to let you know Kimchi is not Japanese food . It is korean traditional food. We have thousands types of kimchi and know it gets popularity but some people still misunderstand about Kimchi . But hope you don’t mistaken its origin. Thanks
SarahMarch 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to comment this. I am aware that kimchi is Korean, and did not say anywhere that it is Japanese. As an introduction to this post, I described Mexican and Japanese restaurants because they are two of my favorite cuisines, and were accessible to me while I was vegan. I made the point that it was easy to eat vegan at those types of restaurants.
But in the next sentence, I made the distinction: “However, getting to go to a restaurant where everything on the menu is vegan is a very rare treat.” Superfresh Café is not a Mexican or Japanese restaurant, it’s a completely vegan restaurant. I did not refer to kimchi as being Japanese anywhere in the post, so I was a bit confused by your comment. In addition, in the recipe I recommended using Mama O’s kimchi, which is a Korean-owned brand. Thanks again for sharing your concern, but I have not mistaken the origin of kimchi.