Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos w/ Pineapple Salsa

These vegan nachos are so fresh and delicious! Smoky chipotle cauliflower sauce oozes over tortilla chips loaded with pineapple salsa & black beans!

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

If you made Thursday’s stuffed peppers and have leftover pineapple salsa and leftover chipotles, this recipe is for you! And if you didn’t, well that’s ok, you can still make it anyway 🙂

This is a nacho plate that you can feel good about! Instead of weird boxed nacho cheese, we’re making oozy, spicy cheese-like sauce out of cauliflower. Seriously, is there anything that the mighty cauliflower can’t do?

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

Cook the cauliflower and the potatoes, then blend everything in a blender and voila! The special ingredient (aside from the hidden cauliflower) is the chipotle pepper. You can find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce at nearly every grocery store in the Mexican aisle. These canned peppers are spicy but – most importantly – they also have a wonderful, deep, smoky flavor. That smoky flavor in the sauce is such a delicious contrast to the sweetness of the pineapple salsa.

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

Load these up with black beans, tomatoes, diced red onion, and cilantro and you have a hearty, healthy nacho plate that’s practically meal worthy and definitely party ready.

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos with Pineapple Salsa
Serves: serves 4 to 6
Chipotle Cauliflower “Cheese” Sauce:
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup peeled and cubed Yukon gold potato
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons water, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo*
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
For the nachos:
  • Tortilla chips
  • ½ cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup Pineapple Salsa
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  1. Make the sauce: Place the cauliflower and potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1-inch. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until fork-tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Drain, let cool slightly, then place in a high-speed blender with the cashews, water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, chipotle pepper, garlic, onion powder, and salt. Blend until smooth.
  3. Spread the chips onto a platter, drizzle with the chipotle cauliflower sauce, and top with the cherry tomatoes, black beans, scoops of pineapple salsa, red onion, and the cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
*This sauce is mildly spicy. If you want a spicier sauce, add an extra chipotle pepper or a scoop of some of the adobo sauce, to taste.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Lauren

    Any suggestions for making it but free??

    • Hi Lauren, you can use raw sunflower seeds. It won’t be quite as smooth but will still be very delicious! You might have to add a bit of water to the blender if it’s too thick (1 tablespoon at a time). Hope that helps!

  2. Dori Perea

    I love your recipes and look forward to your next post. Keep up the good work. I am going now to get the ingredients for the Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos. How fun
    is that?

  3. Raf from

    Love your blog and your recipes! Can’t wait to try these.

  4. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite

    I love the creaminess cashews can add to recipes! Can’t wait to try cashews with cauliflower…haven’t tried that for a sauce yet 🙂

  5. Gaby Dalkin

    HOLY MOLY! These look incredible!

  6. Anna

    Do you have any idea how long the cheese sauce will keep in the fridge? A couple days?

    • Hi Anna, it’ll last a few days – 2-3 is best. It thickens in the fridge so you might have to stir in a bit of water before you drizzle it over the nachos. It can also be enjoyed as a dip.

  7. Jessica

    This was so easy to make and delicious! The cheese sauce was so much more satisfying than dairy or whatever that bright orange stuff is they put on stadium nachos. I actually added some nutritional yeast to up the cheesy factor. I’m already thinking of using this sauce for queso dip and vegan chili con queso!

  8. Yogesh from

    It’s looking soo delicious 😋😋😋

  9. Brooke


    Are the cashews supposed to be soaked?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Brooke, I don’t soak mine – I use a Vitamix and they blend super smoothly without soaking. Depending on your blender, you could soak and drain them (30 minutes or overnight if you think of it) prior to blending.

    • ooh, I also want to add that blender-type aside, there is only 1/4 cup cashews in the recipe… the potato and cauliflower provide most of the creaminess so this should blend in a creamy way for you either way…

  10. Liz

    hi, we aren’t fans of Chipotle peppers. can you recommend a sub. pepper? could I use red bell pepper & Tabasco sauce ? (my daughter objects to the smoky flavor)

    • Hi Liz,

      A roasted red bell pepper plus a little hot sauce (to taste) might be a delicious replacement. Or you could try this recipe instead:

      It’s similar but the smoky flavor is less necessary (you can omit the smoked paprika). I think the cauliflower sauce might be a bit bland without the savory chipotle flavor.

      I hope that helps!

      • Liz

        Thanks. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  11. Lisa

    Would it work to use sweet potatoes instead of regular? Thanks! Making for a party tonight.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.