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.
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.