close up of kimchi in quesadilla

Kimchi Quesadilla

This kimchi quesadilla idea was born after perusing non-vegan items on menus, looking for interesting dishes, one too many times. A year ago I saw a vegetarian kimchi quesadilla in a taqueria in San Juan. Since then I have been haunted by the need to make it vegan. As an extra “challenge,” I also wanted to make it simple and easy to throw together. So no homemade plant-based cheeses here from scratch. You can add it if you have it.

Enter the kamote

The sweet potato’s natural sweetness and mashable texture provides a perfect contrast to the crunchy sourness of the kimchi. As a fan of this nutritious rootcrop, I get excellent kamote from the organic farmers in Benguet and Tarlac, which are almost candy-like in their sweetness.

I realized though, after several friends tasted these varieties, that no all sweet potatoes are equal. So if you will make this recipe, look for sweet varieties of kamote, or you can use steamed squash. (You can even use kamote-que that you can roughly chop or mash, but this version is deep fried with loads of sugar.)

Some tips

It’s best to use kimchi that’s a week or two weeks old, so that the lactic sourness is not overpowering. You can add some sugar to the kimchi if it’s a little too sour to your liking, or the kamote lacks sweetness.

You can also add the bulgogi tofu from our tacos recipes as extra filling. Sprinkle some nori flakes or drizzle sesame oil. These work really well given the Korean flavor profile of this dish.

If you are in the mood or have time, make some kimchi cheese sauce or garlicky mayo as dip.


  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potato
  • 1 cup of kimchi
  • Bulgogi tofu (optional)
  • 2 large tortillas
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped


  1. Steam the sweet potato until you can easily pierce it with a fork. Peel and mash to a spreadable consistency.
  2. While the sweet potato steams, squeeze the brine out of the kimchi and roughly chop.
  3. To assemble, spread the mashed sweet potato on one side of the tortilla. Add a layer of bulgogi tofu and a layer of chopped kimchi. Add plant-based cheese if using. Garnish with chopped spring onions.
  4. Fold tortilla in half and place quesadilla in a skillet over low heat. (Use no oil if it is a non-stick skillet.) Toast both sides.
  5. Cut in half or quarters and serve.

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