Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

It sounds silly to say, but the first vegan “dish” I really fell hard for was nachos. It was years ago at Native Foods where the Native Nachos were a revelation to us. They weren’t a snack, they were our dinner late one night. They were piled high with taco “meat,” black beans, cashew cheese (a crazy concept at the time), salsa, and guacamole… we scarfed them down saying (with our mouths full) “how are these vegan?!”

I came home with their cookbook and every night later that week, I made nachos.

My version here is quite a bit different, but the concept is the same – pile on loads of fresh ingredients and nachos can be healthy. Or at least healthy-ish. (If you baked your own tortilla chips these would be a tad healthier).

Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

Instead of using fake-meat products, I make a version of ground taco “meat” with walnuts, shiitake mushrooms, spices, and black beans. As for the cashew cream, it’s made with pumpkin puree which gives it the classic nacho cheese-like color. From start to finish, this recipe is a bit long, but you should definitely use a few of these components for other recipes. For example, the cashew cream here was left over from the night we ate these tacos. If you have leftover taco meat, save it for, well, tacos later in the week.

Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

But lets get back to the healthy part – there’s kale in here! It’s thinly sliced and conveniently hidden in the middle layer so no one will notice. I also added a layer of crispy radishes because their crunch factor helps you get away with a few less tortilla chips. Top it all with diced avocado and a few generous squeezes of lime. Game on.

Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos
 
Author:
Recipe type: snack
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Mushroom-walnut taco "meat” (this can be made ahead)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups de-stemmed and diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
For the nachos:
  • several big handfuls of tortilla chips
  • 1 kale leaf, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • ½ cup (or more) pumpkin cashew cream, from this recipe
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • hot sauce or a scoop of salsa (optional)
Instructions
  1. Make the mushroom-walnut taco “meat”: In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring only occasionally, until they begin to brown and soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and lightly toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tamari, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir again. Turn the heat off and stir in the black beans. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more tamari if desired.
  2. Assemble the nachos: On a large platter, arrange half of the tortilla chips in a single layer, top with ¾ of the taco “meat,” the kale, half the scallions, and half the pumpkin cashew cream. Add another layer of chips and top with the remaining taco meat, remaining cashew cream, radishes, avocado, remaining scallions, diced red onion, and cilantro. Top with a squeeze of lime juice and serve with the remaining lime slices.
  3. Serve with salsa or hot sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you are gluten free, be sure to look for corn tortilla chips that are certified gluten free.

 


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

23 comments

  1. I am intrigued by all the fun things being put into vegan cheese sauces. The pumpkin cashew cream looks amazing, and perfect for nachos! I can’t wait to try it, Thanks!

  2. These are the ultimate vegan nachos. I like that you included black beans in the taco meat and all those spices to give it a rich umami flavor. I like crumbling up tempeh and I bet a tempeh black bean combo might be good too.

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  4. Randle from weekofplenty.com on said:

    Oh man. Right now I drive 2 hours to Dallas for vegan nachos at Spiral Diner. If I start making these at home?? :O

  5. Synnøve from itadakimat.com on said:

    Looks soo good! nachos are one of my favorite foods, but I’m craving vegetables a lot more than meat these days so I’ll definitely give these a try. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Cecilia on said:

    This looks amazing. I’m not supposed to eat mushrooms. Do you have any ideas for an alternative?
    Please let me know.

  7. Kari from sweetteasweetie.com on said:

    Nachos are totally my go to splurge when I’m on vacation. I love the creamy cheese and crunchy chip combo!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  8. Alex on said:

    Made this tonight. Delicious. I’ve been trying to make more vegan choices (as opposed to just vegetarian) and this dish was right on time. We loved the pumpkin cashew cream, and made it with blue corn chips and it was a nice contrast of colors. Thanks for another amazing recipe! 4-year old approved too. 😉

    • Ha, I’m so glad it was a hit and also 4-year old approved :)

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  10. Brandie from 2flirtygirlsandajuicer.com on said:

    Oh my, those look fantastic! I know what I’m making for our movie night snack tonight! Thank you for sharing.

  11. fiona mackay on said:

    An amazing supper. Husband loved this dish too. Took us back to ‘Indie Joe’s’ Mexican restaurant, in Leeds, around time we first met. The taco ‘meat’ was so delicious and filling. A brilliant idea that is clever and every ingredient just works together beautifully. Thank you!

  12. Dan from mydailyq.com on said:

    So glad I came across this! I’m a sucker for nachos and since and this reminds me of my college days. I appreciated how you put your own little twist to the dish. I can’t wait to make this! Thanks!

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  14. Erin on said:

    Don’t want to be a hater, but having to click through two sub-recipes to get all the info on the cashew cream was real annoying. In the future, it might be worth just re-creating the recipe in one place.

    • thanks for the feedback, I’ll re-post the recipe in one place next time…

  15. Hannah on said:

    These look delicious except I don’t like mushrooms. 😉 Any suggestions how I could adjust the recipe to make it without? Thanks!

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