Let’s do nachos today. I know the title says vegan nachos, but whether you’re vegan or not, when you need a nacho fix, this is how you should roll. At least once. To see if you like them. I mean, nachos are always a crowd pleaser, and this is no exception, I promise. Chances are, you won’t even miss the classic cheese bomb version. On the flip side, your body will thank you because the "cheese" in this version is non-dairy, vegan, packed with beneficial spices, cashews, garlic, and grated sweet potatoes, and lasts up to a week refrigerated.
Sweet potato nacho cheese is a thing for good reason, it behaves a lot like a classic nacho cheese, it’s the right color even, but(!) its arguably more delicious, and made from natural ingredients. I incorporate a bunch of short-cuts in my version to speed things along, like grating the sweet potato. Also, if you make the sauce a day or two ahead of time, you can have a pan of nachos ready to go in a flash. Ready? Let’s do this.
Nacho topping suggestions: I’m including two different versions here. Option one is your typical pile-it-on semi-classic approach (pictured above): baked tortilla chips, black beans, sweet potato nacho cheese, olives, salsa, guacamole, chiles, etc. The other? Option two (pictured below) is what I like to think of as my hippie version: baked tortilla chips, sweet potato nacho cheese, chickpeas, roasted broccoli, guacamole, hemp seeds, pickled serrano chiles. The only things that would make it more hippie-ish would be to sprinkle it with nutritional yeast, and perhaps do a green version of the cheese (which I’ve considered ;)…If you’re trying to make a meal out of the nachos, a good approach is to pile them high with an added sheet pan of simple, roasted vegetables. Broccoli and cheese is a classic combo (that even a lot of kids like), so I tend to go that route, but experiment! Roast a pan of vegetables while you’re making the cheese. Easy.
Choosing chips. Is it me, or are baked tortilla chips increasingly hard to find? I look for baked chips (and sometimes fail). And/or ones with added heirloom corn, added quinoa, maca, etc. I also look for lightly-salted (some are SO salty!).
The cheese: Any extra cheese is also tops as a sandwich spread, crudité dip, or keep it on hand anytime you’re grilling or roasting.
Oven to table: Bake and serve on the same plate (or pan). I use an oven-proof platter here. A baking sheet or sheet pan also works. It makes it simple to go from oven to table. Pile as many chips as you like on your platter/pan, top with beans, top with cheesy dollops, and bake for a few minutes. Don’t worry that they don’t look particularly nice, everything changes when you add your finishing toppings! No need to dirty another plate.