My new obsession is nachos. Well, it isn’t that new, I think it was spring when I started to make these. It is all the fault of my friend; we were talking about lunch one day and she said she had been on a nacho kick. It was all over at that point. I came home that very day and started making nachos. It switched to taco salad for the summer, but as soon as it started to cool down again I’ve been back to nachos. I think the ingenious thing she said that made me “have” to try nachos that day was she was putting refried beans in the BOTTOM of the pan, then the chips on top. This, of course, makes the most sense ever as the chips get all crispy and warm, the beans warm up, and they don’t make everything soggy.
This recipe is just for the cheese sauce, but I’ll give you a quick run down of the rest. I heat my cast iron on the stove, saute a few cups of sliced veggies with a little salt and pepper, then dump them in a bowl. In the still hot pan I swirl a tablespoon of oil, then spread refried beans on the bottom. Top the beans with chips and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes until the chips are toasty brown and perfect. I then dump it on a plate, and pile on the veggies, nacho cheese sauce, and salsa. I then eat it all for lunch while watching my husband work out.
The cheese sauce. It is a variation of my cheese sauce from my cashew mac n cheese with some spice added. I made a nice big batch and freeze any I don’t use within a few days.
Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
3/4 cup peeled and cubed russet potato (1 small)
2 TBL sliced carrot (1 very small)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup raw cashews
3/4-1 cup reserved cooking water
3 TBL nutritional yeast
2 TBL tahini
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
additional salt to taste
1 small can diced green chilis
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder or one chipotle in adobo sauce
Place potato and carrot in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.
Add the vinegar and 1 tsp salt to water, bring everything to a boil partially covered, and boil for about 10 minutes.
Add the cashews and continue to cook until the potatoes and carrots are completely tender, about 5 minutes more. They are done when they slide off a fork that is inserted into a piece of potato or carrot.
Drain potatoes and carrots reserving at least 1 cup of the cooking water.
Transfer potatoes, carrots, cashew, and 3/4 cup cooking water to a blender.
Add nutritional yeast, tahini, mustard, and tomato paste and blend until smooth.
Add more cooking water if you want the sauce to thin out a bit.
Add green chilis and chipotle and pulse to combine.
Brunch is in. Especially with two small children, it is much easier time to get together with friends than dinner. So, when in need of a brunch item, here is a trusty quiche. I have done a post on quiche before if you want the ins and out, the dos and don’ts check it out. For this beauty I decided to do crustless for a few reasons. One: I didn’t have time to make a crust; two: we were going to be eating the quiche with lots of buttery pastries and I thought it would be best to cut simple carbs and added fat where it wasn’t needed. I do love a good crust, but for this instance it was unnecessary.
This is a rich, savory quiche, stuffed with vegetables and topped with a bit of cheese. It has an added bonus of being gluten free. It was super fast, one pan, and traveled perfectly to our friends where we were having brunch.
2 TBL olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
A few tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, or a few teaspoons dried herbs
3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables (I used Kale, Mushrooms, and zucchini)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (I used unsweetened plain almond milk)
1 cup grated cheese (I used goat guda)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet.
Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Add the other vegetables and cook until liquid has been released and evaporated, 5 more minutes or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and spread the vegetables evenly across the bottom of the skillet.
In a bowl whisk the eggs and milk together until everything is uniformly yellow.
Add remaining salt, pepper, and any herbs you are using and whisk to combine.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable.
Sprinkle with grated cheese in an even layer over the top.
Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across and it is firm in the middle, it’s fully cooked.
Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.
I’ve been really hungry lately, Truthfully, I’m always really hungry, but it seems especially bad lately. I think it’s because I’ve finally started working out again post baby. Being hungry is good and bad for me. I love to eat, but I actually hate snacks. I pretty much never want to eat snacks. More often than not they aren’t very good, and then you can’t eat something you really want to eat because you’re full. Also, rarely are snacks good for you, at least the ones that taste good. So, I don’ t like snacks. If I do snack (and I do, several times a day) I usually eat a small portion of leftovers because it’s just better food. I’m ranting about this because this Pâté is an exception. I made it for guests, and then ended up eating it for days and looking forward to it!
This delightful Pâté -originally from the Veganomicon– is super easy, and you probably have almost everything in your pantry. I used fresh herbs in mine because I happened to have them hanging around. The original recipe calls for dried so I’m sure that would be fine if it’s what you have on hand.
Vegan Walnut Mushroom Pâté
Originally from Veganomicon
3 TBL olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBL fresh tyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 TBL fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried
3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 LB cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
up to 1/4 cup vegetable broth (I didn’t use any)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent,
Addthe garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and cook another minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are very soft, lowering the heat if necessary to prevent them from burning.
While the mushrooms are cooking, place the walnuts in a food processor or blender and process until very fine.
Add the cooked mushroom mixture to the walnuts in the food processor, along with the balsamic vinegar, beans, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Process until smooth, adding the vegetable broth 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth puree. Note: I didn’t need to use any.
Continue to puree the ingredients until the pate resembles a smooth, thick and spreadable paste.
Scrap mixture into an airtight container and chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow the flavors to meld.
I was going to buy kale chips the other day, and then I was like “why would I do that?” They are so simple, and quick to make at home, and wayyyy cheaper. So here is your very simple kale chip recipe. Feel free to add other seasonings of choice to jazz them up a bit, though they are delicious as is. My toddler loved them! She kept asking for the “crackers” how could I say no? The picture above is her sneaking a few as I was attempting to shot a legitimate photo. I couldn’t keep her out of them long enough to get a good picture, so you have proof these are irresistible to toddlers.
1 bunch of curly kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 TBL olive oil
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 200F.
Place the chopped kale into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands massage the kale with the oil until each leaf is coated with oil.
Place kale in a single layer (very important!) on a baking sheet, or two if needed.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake for 15-20 minutes until the kale is crispy to the touch and the edges are just starting to brown. Start checking around 10 minutes and check every few minutes after to make sure it isn’t burning.
These broccoli tots are a fun way to eat your vegetables. My daughter had a blast helping me make these, and using the mini muffin pan allowed her to help shape the tots. She scooped them in and I patted them down. These were super yummy, and toddler approved. You could also serve these with a yummy dip for an appetizer. My husband and I ate them with pasta as a play on meatballs. A versatile dish to be sure.
Falafels are one of my favorite foods, when done correctly. They can easily be dry or tasteless, but when perfectly crunchy on the outside, light on the inside, and bursting with flavor they are delicious! The trick to perfect falafel is to used soaked, but not cooked, chickpeas. The texture is far superior to those falafels using cooked chickpeas. I also love the addition of lots of fresh herbs in this recipe. These flalafel are also surprisingly easy and quick as long as you remember to soak the chickpeas the night before and you use a food processor to bring everything together.
I suggest making a double batch if you plan to share.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour or chickpea flour if gluten free
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Pita bread or salad
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Using either salad or pita, top with flalafel and any garnishes of your choice.
I had nachos for dinner and they were delicious! I highly recommend that you try a big plate yourself sometime soon. These were topped with a delicious vegan nacho cheese sauce from Serious Eats with a few minimal changes to reduce the spice level for my pregnant self. I also added a saute of onions, mushrooms, and black beans, some perfect homemade guacamole, and a touch of salsa. My only regret is that I am too full for dessert.
By far the most time consuming part of these nachos is the sauce. It is well worth the effort. I am giving you the recipe for the nacho cheese sauce and guacamole. What else you want to add is up to you. I do strongly suggest that you heat your tortilla chips in the oven until warm and crispy (350 for 5-7 minutes watching them carefully so they don’t burn). I heated my chips, then piled them on a plate with my toppings. I find if you heat your toppings on the chips the chips get soggy. So, heat chips, pile with stuff, top with vegan nacho cheese and guacamole. Sit and eat in delighted silence.
Melt shortening in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until completely softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, and garlic powder, Cook, stirring, until fragrant and mixture starts to sizzle, about 1 minute.
Add potatoes and cashews and cook, stirring, until cashews are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add water and nondairy milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are fully tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer mixture to the jar of a high-powered blender. Add hot sauce, 1/2 the green chilies, and a pinch of salt. Start on low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, adding water a few drops at a time as necessary to thin to desired consistency. Season to taste with more salt.
Add the other half of the chilies and pulse to combine leaving some pieces of chili. If you like your sauce smooth feel free to blend to your heart’s content.
Cheese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, or reheat in a small pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly, and adding extra water to loosen sauce as necessary.
2 large perfectly ripe avocados
2 small to medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 TBL red finely minced red or yellow onion
half a small jalapeno, finely minced, about 1 tsp. (optional)
1 TBL minced fresh cilantro (optional)
3 TBL minced fresh tomato (optional)
juice from half a small lime
salt to taste
Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and mash in a bowl large enough to give you some room to work.
After the avocado is mashed to the consistency you desire mix in the rest of the ingredients. Start small with the lime and salt, and add more if you like.
Try to refrain from eating it all before moving it to the table.