Vegan Nachos

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Vegan nachos with all the fixings

I’m lazy and I’m vegan. These things have already been established. So no one will be surprised when I post another easy recipe of what I have for dinner sometimes.

I love nachos. But when I stopped eating dairy I stopped eating them and have been sad ever since. It’s one of the only things I miss about going dairy-free. That and a tall glass of milk with my popcorn. I’ve learned to live without these treats and I admit my life has been a wee bit less because it it. Until now.

I have learned to enjoy popcorn sans milk, but I couldn’t live without nachos. I could use that fake cheese but don’t like to each much processed food, so I wanted to find an alternative. I found it with another raw foods-like recipe from Post Punk Kitchen.  I changed it up to suit my needs (and my cupboard) and came up with this yummy concoction. I usually serve it over tortilla chips with homemade refried beans, guacamole and store-bought salsa.

Cashew Queso (adapted from this recipe) 

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hrs or overnight

2 cups veg broth

2 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbs olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

4-6 jalapeño stuffed olives, diced (I buy mine at TJ’s, but have seen them at QFC)

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 Tbs nutritional yeast (I buy mine in bulk from PCC)

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs lemon juice (I get mine from a squirt bottle, not fresh but to each her own)

Drain the cashews. In a blender or food processor, puree them with vegetable broth and cornstarch until very smooth. This could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your blender. Rub between your fingers to test; slight graininess is okay, but try to get it as smooth as possible.

In the meantime, preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion and olives in oil with a pinch of salt until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about a minute more.

Transfer vegetables to the blender where the cashew mixture is. Add cumin, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend again until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula to make sure you get everything.

Transfer mixture back to the pot. Whisking often, turn heat up to medium until the queso comes to a slow rolling boil. Lower heat so that it doesn’t burn and cook for about 20 minutes. Whisk often and check to see that it’s thickening, if it’s not, then turn the heat up a bit. It should become nicely thickened but velvetty and pourable.

Stir in the lemon juice at the end. If the queso seems too thick, drizzle in a little water and whisk to desired consistency. Taste for salt, spices and lemon juice and adjust as you like.

Serve hot!

I make a big batch and refrigerate it for about a week. I wouldn’t keep it longer than that and mine usually doesn’t even last that long!

Refried Beans

1 15-oz can of pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander (dried cilantro)

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Saute onion about 5 min or until slightly soft. Add garlic and saute about 30 more seconds. Add beans and spices and saute until fragrant and well combined. Use a potato masher or big spoon and mash the beans, leaving a few unmashed for texture. Or alternatively, place beans in a food processor or blender and mash before adding to onion/garlic saute.

Just another version of a lazy dinner for me. Sure, it take awhile to make this stuff initially, but the leftovers are fast and easy!

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