Vegan Nachos with Gooey Cheese + Taco “Meat”
These vegan nachos are easy, healthy, and full of flavor! Between the walnut “meat” and the cashew cheeze, this plant-based version will even have meat and dairy lovers wanting more!
Nachos have it all – the cheese, the meat, the crunch, and the versatility. Want it as an appetizer? Sure! Main entree? Why not!
I love recreating plant-based versions of recipes that are typically made with meat and cheese. And while searching for vegan nachos, I found that most of them used store-bought vegan cheese and soy meat crumbles.
While I do use packaged plant-based substitutes on occasion, I really love making them from scratch when I have time. Not only is it healthier, but the texture and flavor of walnut “meat” and homemade cashew cheese is out of this world.
If you haven’t tried walnut taco meat before, you’re in for a treat. The chewy texture of walnuts combined with lentils, veggies, and spices makes a scrumptious vegan meat. If you’re with me on this, you’ll also love my Vegan Tostadas.
While my tostadas call for black beans, I found that lentils work best for the color, flavor, and texture of this nacho “beef”.
Of course, nachos aren’t nachos without nacho cheese.
To get the gooey texture of this vegan nacho cheese, I used tapioca flour, which just pulls it all together (literally). After you make the taco “meat” and the scrumptious cheese, you can customize your vegan nachos with your favorite veggies. I used bell peppers, corn, spinach, cilantro, and avocado, of course.
The taste, ease, and nutrition of these nachos make them the perfect healthy comfort food, especially for quarantine cooking! I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as I do.
I also love that I can make a big batch of the walnut taco meat and repurpose it for multiple meals throughout the week. It’s great in burritos, tacos, and vegan taco salad. The vegan nacho cheese can also be reused. Just warm it up in a pan and add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out again if necessary.
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- Vegan Taco Meat
- Vegan Nacho Cheese
- 2 cups toppings of choice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 can lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup diced tomato with juices (can use fresh too)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cashews, soaked*
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ¼ cup tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- yellow corn, fresh or frozen
- bell pepper, diced
- onion, diced
- tomato, diced
- jalapeño, sliced
- spinach, shredded
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
- In a food processor, pulse walnuts and lentils until crumbly and no large chunks of nut remain. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
- Add lentil walnut mixture to the skillet along with tomatoes in their juices, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder (optional), oregano, and salt. Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
- While "meat" cooks, prepare cheese sauce by pureeing all ingredients in a high-powered blender.
- Pour cheese sauce into a saute pan and warm over low heat for 3-5 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Add half of the chips to a baking dish. Layer with 1 cup of veggies, half of the taco meat, and half of the cheese sauce. Repeat.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 5-8 minutes, until heated through.
- Serve immediately with salsa, guacamole, or fresh avocado.
Want more healthy vegan Mexican recipes? Try these! >>
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Weigh-in: Have you had vegan nachos before? What are your favorite nacho toppings?