Turkey and black bean quesadillas are quick and easy to make for lunch or dinner and are a cheesy, hearty meal the whole family will love. Also a great way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey!
Turkey is always center stage for the Thanksgiving meal. And sure, I fully support that.
However, I think I love the turkey more for the leftovers. Getting creative and using up mass quantities of leftover turkey is kind-of my jam.
(Yes, I realize that might be strange. So be it.)
My Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and cream cheese is something I dream of all November long. And nobody better get between me and my beloved Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast hash in the mornings.
Those are my absolute must haves every year.
Today though, we’re making turkey and black bean quesadillas for a really quick and easy lunch or dinner, and a way to give a totally new flavor to your leftover turkey.
These cheesy, hearty quesadillas are loaded with chopped turkey, black beans, bell pepper, cheddar cheese and plenty of southwestern style spices to bring it all together.
Just some simple ingredients and seasonings and even better, they take less than 20 minutes to make, start to finish.
That’s a great thing after Thanksgiving when you really don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. (I’m a food blogger and I feel you on that one!)
Final bonus: My kids cheer anytime quesadillas – of any variety – are on the menu, so this is a sure-fire pleaser in our house. And I think it will be in yours, too.
OK, let’s get to cooking.
Now, I’ve got some notes and substitutions coming up on how to make turkey and black bean quesadillas. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making turkey and black bean quesadillas:
- You’ll need 3 cups of cooked turkey for this recipe. You can use leftover Thanksgiving turkey, roasted turkey, slow cooker turkey breast or store-bought cooked turkey.
- The recipe calls for a can of black beans, but you could substitute pinto beans as well. Or use black beans that you cooked yourself.
- A red bell pepper is called for and adds great sweetness – and color – but you can sub another color of bell pepper. Or skip it if you prefer.
- We love these with a sharp white cheddar, which is our favorite. But you could use regular cheddar, Monterey Jack or even a Pepper Jack cheese for a little kick. Or use a pre-shredded Mexican style cheese mix. Whatever you’ve got!
- We always go for whole wheat tortillas – I love the whole grains! – but any kind of tortilla will work. You could even substitute a gluten-free tortilla if you want this recipe to be gluten-free.
This recipe is fabulous just as it is. Really. But I do so love giving you ideas for ways to customize a recipe to make it work just perfectly for you. And I have a few more ideas coming up on that.
Want to add some extra veggies? You know I love that.
Additional vegetable add-ins for quesadillas:
– You could sauté some onions and/or a zucchini to go with the turkey and bean filling.
– Or, grate a zucchini and add that to the skillet with the beans. It pretty much melts in but adds some extra nutrition.
– Use a small can of diced green chilies.
– Add some canned or frozen corn to the skillet to mix in.
You can also crack open a can of refried beans and spread some of those on one side of your quesadilla for an extra layer of creaminess if you want.
Like it spicy? Totally do-able.
We make our turkey quesadillas on the mild side for the kids but if you want a kick to yours, you could add any or all of the following to the recipe.
Additions for making spicy turkey quesadillas:
– Sauté a chopped jalapeño pepper with the bell pepper.
– Use 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in place of or in addition to the black pepper.
– Choose shredded Pepper Jack cheese instead of cheddar.
– Toss a few dashes of hot sauce into the black bean and turkey mixture.
– Serve with some pickled jalapeños.
Speaking of, you can really customize these quesadillas with how you serve them. I like to let everyone pick their favorite toppings and customize their own plate.
(That’s always a good way to help ensure everyone comes to the table happy!)
Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking.
Topping ideas for turkey and black bean quesadillas:
- Diced avocado or dollop of guacamole
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Salsa or fresh pico de gallo
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce or sriracha
- Pickled red onions
- Pickled or fresh jalapeños
Gotta love endless topping options, right? A little something for everyone. Or maybe a lot of things. 😉
So there you go. I think quesadillas need to be on your post-Thanksgiving lunch or dinner plans. It’s an easy way to make a totally new meal – with a southwestern flair for a new flavor – and one the whole family can enjoy.
Happy holidays and happy cooking!
P.S. Stay tuned because I have several more recipes for leftover turkey coming up this month. I told you it’s my jam. 😉
You can also sign up for my free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups leftover chopped cooked turkey
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 tortillas (8-inch diameter), whole wheat or regular
- Diced avocado or dollop of guacamole, Greek yogurt or sour cream, salsa or fresh pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce or sriracha, pickled red onions, pickled or fresh jalapeños, etc.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the red pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until tender.
- Add the black beans, turkey, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until everything is heated through.
- Turn off the heat, transfer the bean and turkey mixture to a bowl, wipe out the sauté pan and set aside.
- Place 4 tortillas down on a clean counter or cutting board. Divide the bean and turkey mixture among them. Top each one with 1 cup shredded cheese and cover with another tortilla.
- Reheat the earlier pan over medium heat. Add one quesadilla at a time and cook over medium for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.
- Serve hot with desired toppings and enjoy!
Turkey: You’ll need 3 cups of cooked turkey for this recipe. You can use leftover Thanksgiving turkey or other roasted, slow cooker, Instant Pot or store-bought chopped turkey.
Beans: The recipe calls for a can of black beans, but you could substitute pinto beans as well.
Pepper: A red bell pepper is called for and adds great sweetness - and color - but you can sub another color of bell pepper. Or skip it if you prefer.
Cheese: Sharp white cheddar is our favorite, but you could use regular cheddar, Monterey Jack or even a Pepper Jack cheese for a little kick. Or use a pre-shredded Mexican style cheese mix. Whatever you’ve got!
Tortillas: We always go for whole wheat tortillas but any kind will work. You could even substitute a gluten-free tortilla if you want this recipe to be gluten-free.Want to add some extra veggies? You know I love that.
Additional vegetable add-ins:
- You could sauté some onions and/or a zucchini to go with the turkey and bean filling.
- Or, grate a zucchini and add that to the skillet with the beans. It pretty much melts in but adds some extra nutrition.
- Use a small can of diced green chilies.
- Add some canned or frozen corn to the skillet to mix in.
Ways to spice it up:
- Sauté a chopped jalapeño pepper with the bell pepper.
- Use 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in place of or in addition to the black pepper.
- Choose shredded Pepper Jack cheese instead of cheddar.
- Toss a few dashes of hot sauce into the black bean and turkey mixture.
- Serve with some pickled jalapeños.
Serving Size:1 quesadilla
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1203Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 1465mgCarbohydrates: 103gFiber: 14gSugar: 2gProtein: 75g