Being a vegan is such a blast because when I learn how to make my “old” favorite foods in plant-friednly form, I can enjoy them pretty much guilt free! Nothing in my Cheezy Vegan Nachos is processed (with one tiny exception that I’ll explain, and can be avoided) and it’s got protein, omega-3s and plenty of veggies!
Okay so let’s dive into the nachos. For me the Perfect Nachose have 3 Main Components, Chips, Cheese Suace, and Meat! After those important pieces you can take liberties and add whatever you want, olives, jalapeños or even beans! But for vegans the toppings aren’t usually the issues, the meat and cheese are!
The Chips – Complements of The Rawtarian
When it comes to corn tortilla chips, good luck finding one in the store that’s fresh, affordable, and has less than a billion (okay maybe like 15) ingredients! I decided that with my dehydrator I was going to make my own Chips! They look and taste a little different, but somehow better. The recipe for the chips comes directly from The Rawtarian!
Next Time I make my own chips I’ve got a few plans, like including some jalapeños in the base, a few additional spices, and even trying out different colored corn!
The Cheese – Complements of Minimalist Baker
Okay so when it comes to vegans and plant-based people (I think most of us can agree) making cheese is a blast, because we still miss the oey gooey taste of cheese! HOWEVER, lots of vegan cheese recipes call for nuts, and with my walnut taco meat recipe, I didn’t want a recipe with an overkill of nuts and a high fat final product!
The Minimalist Baker blog is run by a genius who figured out how to make creamy queso dip without nuts! I’ve made it a few times and each time it’s amazing! This time I forgot the dang salsa which would have only made my nachos like 100x times better, but no big deal. I’ll add some salsa when I have the leftovers! The secret to nut free queso? EGGPLANTS, but we’ll get into that a little later!
Okay so I’ve only seen vegan taco meat online like a million times and never took the time to make it! But, for my first attempt I decided to give it my own little twist. Using pre packed taco seasoning (I could have made my own and avoided the processed ingredients) and chipolte peppers in adobe sauce, I was able to create a delicously spicy, tangy, and satisfying meat.
The Recipe – Cheezy Vegan Nachos
- 3 cups fresh raw corn kernels (cut 'em off the cob, of course!)
- 1½ cups yellow bell pepper
- ¾ cup flax seed meal (finely ground, so use ground flax seed or grind some whole flax seeds yourself in a coffee grinder)
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 7-9 rounds of eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick (~half of a medium eggplant)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1.5-2 cups unsweetened original almond milk
- 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see instructions)
- ¼ tsp finely minced fresh garlic (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cornstarch (optional for thickening | sub another thickener if desired)
- ¼ cup chunky medium salsa, slightly drained (OR ¼ 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies)
- OPTIONAL: Smoked paprika and hot sauce for added color and flavor upon serving.
- When I made this I just used a small eggplant and did about half the recipe but kept the spices in normal amounts - I like a strong spice flavor but didn't need a full recipe! I would also add turmeric in the future to get that nice yellow cheesy color.
- ½ Cup Walnuts
- ½ - 1 Small Can of Chipolte Peppers in Adobo Sauce (the more you use the spicier the final product)
- 2 tsp. Taco Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp. Plain Almond Milk
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- This one was super simple, I just threw it all in a food processor and mixed it up! Don't over mix it - you don't want a paste, more like a batter, but a little more runny. You still want to see little pieces of flax seed meal!
- After you have the batter, you spread it out into little chip-like pieces on a dehydrator rack (I don't have the nice paraflexx sheets yet so I used parchment paper) and dehydrate for 1 hour at 115 degrees. After an hour you want to do another 8 hours at 105 degrees, flipping them halfway through if you can!
- Finally, take out the chips and you've got your base. For reference I used about ¼ of this recipe in my nachos!
- Slice the eggplant and salt them lightly on each side to draw water out. After about 20 minutes or so the slices will be sort of damp on the outside - rinse the salt off with cool water and then dry the eggplants with a paper towel.
- Arrange them on a baking sheet and broil them for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. You can coat them with a little olive, but I didn't because I'm trying to cut back on my oil intake.
- Take them out of the oven and wrap them up in foil. Allow them to steam themselves for 10-15 minutes.
- After that the skin should peel right off the eggplant. Peel all the eggplants and throw them in the blender with everything EXCPET the salsa! Start with a small amount of almond milk and increase it as you need to, it should be a smooth velvety liquid, not to thick, but not too runny.
- Take the blended mixture into a small pot and heat it over medium heat, this will allow the cornstarch (or other thickening agent) to go to work and make the mixture thicken up into a more queso-like consistency.
- Once you have the desired consistency fold in the chunky salsa.
- Enjoy your queso, in our recipe it's going over the nachos!
- In a food processor chop the walnuts up to the desired size. They are going to act as a ground meat so the size of the pieces is complete preference. Once you have them chopped place them in a bowl.
- In the same food processor put the can of peppers and taco seasoning and blend into a sauce. Then transfer your sauce to the bowl with the walnuts and mix together.
- Place the meat mixture into a pan on medium heat, you're not looking to cook anything you're just going to heat it up and combine the flavors.
- Once it starts to bubble add the almond milk and the lemon juice. The almond milk helps to give it some smoothness and spread easier over the nachos, while the lemon juices helps to disarm some of the spice but keep the flavor of the chipolte and adobo!
- Let the entire mixture combine into a final meat topping!
- Last but not least, assemble your nachos and ENJOY!
I hope you enjoyed that recipe – I had a great time finding the pieces and brining it together! The final product was full of flavor and I’ll definitely be enjoying some leftover nachos!
Please comment below and tell me what recipes you would like to see, what foods you want veganized, or what ingredients you want to cook with more! I can’t wait to take you all on my new food journey!