If you’ve tried my Grilled Potato Spinach Quesadillas, then you probably already know that one of our favorite meals to enjoy as a family is quesadillas.
MJ in particular is a quesadilla fan. And when you look as cute as this little girl does in a face mask, you can understand why I have a hard time saying no to her quesadilla dinner requests!
So that means I’ve got to be creative with our quesadillas. That way Andrew and I don’t get sick of them, and I can sneak some nutrition into this simple meal.
And those were my two motivating factors behind the creation of these Crispy Quesadillas with Smoky TVP.
TVP, or textured vegetable protein [aff. link], is the same size and texture as ground beef. If cooked and seasoned well, this incredibly healthy plant-based protein is a delicious and nutritious (yep, I went there, just couldn’t resit the rhyme) ground-beef substitute.
My secret to making excellent TVP is crisping it up in the frying pan before adding it to your dish. So, rehydrate the TVP with some boiling water, add it to a frying pan with some seasonings, crisp it up, and you’ve got a versatile plant-based protein the whole family will enjoy.
For these quesadillas, I season the TVP with liquid smoke and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos [aff. link] to give it a really smoky flavor. Mix the TVP with some rice, add some corn, black beans, and cheese, and put it all in a tortilla before frying. We’ve had this meal once a week for the past few months, and it’s still a dinner we all look forward to each week.
My Favorite Condiments for Smoky TVP Quesadillas
You may already know that we are a family of hot sauce lovers. Our favorite hot sauce is the Habanero Sambal from Pain is Good [aff. link], and it pairs beautifully with these quesadillas. This is a pretty spicy hot sauce, and the flavor!!!!! It’s absolutely amazing, and the heat does not distract from the delicious flavor.
We just discovered a new hot sauce that has quickly become another favorite. Bravado Spice Co.’s Pineapple Habanero hot sauce [aff. link] is incredibly unique, as you’d probably guess from the name. And it’s not that spicy at all. I definitely recommend this hot sauce if you’re not a fan of HOT hot sauce, but are feeling adventurous. Even little MJ can handle this one, and it’s a great flavor combo with these quesadillas.
An Addicting Meal!
Hot sauce lover or not, make my Crispy Quesadillas with Smoky TVP this week! And if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself making them once a week. Or more…!!!
Crispy Quesadillas with Smoky TVP
For the rice and TVP:
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups TVP, textured vegetable protein
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1-2 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed (optional)
- Tortillas, whatever size/type you’ve got! (my favorite tortillas here are either the large burrito-style tortillas, or the small, street taco-sized tortillas. This recipe will make about 8 large burrito-sized tortillas, or 14 street taco-sized tortillas)
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
- 1 15 oz can corn, drained
- 2-4 cups cheddar, freshly grated (use more or less cheese to preference, and use vegan cheddar to keep this meal vegan)
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
Make the TVP
- Place the TVP in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Now bring two cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, carefully pour the water over the TVP. Stir the water/TVP mixture a few times with a spoon to make sure the water is evenly distributed, then cover the mixing bowl with a plate. Let the TVP sit for 10 minutes.
- Note: if your rice isn’t cooked yet, get it cooking just before you make the TVP! Put it in the rice cooker, and the rice will be done at just about the same time as your TVP. For reference, in my rice cooker, 1 ½ cups dry rice makes just over 4 cups cooked rice, and this recipe calls for 4 cups cooked rice.
- After 10 minutes, the TVP will have absorbed all the water.
Crisp the TVP!
- In a medium-sized skillet, add the olive oil, and heat over medium for 30 seconds.
- Now transfer the TVP to the skillet. Add the garlic powder, onion salt, liquid smoke, aminos, and 1/2 tsp of the sea salt to the skillet. Stir with your spatula so that all the seasonings evenly incorporate into the TVP.
- Cook the TVP over medium heat for 10 minutes, until it’s no longer soft, and has a bit of a crispy texture to it. Stir frequently to keep the TVP from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and turn the heat down to medium-low if the TVP begins to cook too quickly.
Mix the rice and TVP together
- Once the TVP has crisped in the skillet, add it to a medium-sized mixing bowl, along with the cooked rice. Stir until the rice and TVP are completely mixed together, then add the remaining ½ tsp sea salt, and lime juice, if desired. Taste, and add another ½ tsp sea salt if needed.
Compile the quesadillas
- Regardless of the size of tortillas I use, I prefer to take one tortilla, put all the fillings on one side of the tortilla, and fold the other side of the tortilla over the filling.
- Note: you will most likely have leftovers of the rice/TVP mixture, especially if you use smaller tortillas for your quesadillas. With the leftover rice/TVP mixture, I like to make a deconstructed version of these quesadillas—all the filling ingredients make a really easy and portable lunch for work.
- Place a generous amount of the TVP/rice mixture on half of a tortilla. Spoon some beans and corn over the top, followed by the cheese. No hard and fast rules here, do as much or as little cheese as you feel like!
Fry the quesadillas
- In a medium-sized skillet, heat a few Tbsp of olive oil for about 30 seconds.
- Now add a quesadilla to the skillet, and fry over medium heat until the side in the pan turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Carefully flip the quesadilla over, and fry the other side until golden brown. (Adjust the heat to medium-low if the pan gets too hot, and the tortilla is browning too quickly.)
- Remove the quesadilla from the skillet, and place on a paper towel-covered plate to remove excess oil.
- Repeat the frying process with the rest of the quesadillas.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve these quesadillas with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or your favorite hot sauce. (See my recommendations above!)
Those are some mighty fine looking quesadillas you have there, Shannon. I can see why MJ likes them. Honestly, I’ve only tried soy protein once that I recall and I wasn’t impressed. But, I never thought of treating it as you have in your dish. I’ll just have to give it another try. Man, that habanero sambal looks might hot…
Thanks Ron!! Yes, there are definitely some tricks to making TVP delicious. My main trick is crisping it in the frying pan after rehydrating it. That step alone makes a world of difference! Definitely give TVP a try with these seasonings and a quick crisp in the frying pan, and I’m confident you’ll be a fan. 😋 Haha, this habanbero sambal is pretty spicy, you are so right!
Fabulous. When my husband was a vegetarian, I used TVP a lot, and also soy granules. I love tofu, but neither of us liked tempeh. Anyhoo, I hadn’t thought about TVP for years. I bet these quesadillas are fabulous! Your daughter is so cute.
Awww thanks Mimi! ♥️. Oh that’s awesome that you and your husband both enjoyed TVP and tofu! Both are definitely staples in our house. Tempeh can be hit or miss for sure haha, I’ve had it prepared exceptionally well, but I’ve also had it disappointingly bland!
I’ve never had textured vegetable protein before, but these quesadillas make me want to give it a try. They look delicious!
Thanks so much Jeff! TVP is so so good when prepared right, and this is definitely one of my very favorite ways to prepare it!
MJ really does look adorable in her mask! Robbie has adapted to his mask quite well, too. Speaking of Robbie, he also loves quesadillas…and he probably gets that from his Dad! I love a good ‘dilla, and the smoky twist on this one sounds fantastic, Shannon!
Thanks David! That’s so awesome that Robbie is doing great with his mask as well! It’s quite amazing how quickly our little troopers adapt, isn’t it?