Really Very Good Vegetarian Nachos
This recipe started out with the most vegan of intentions.
I scooped nutritional yeast from the bulk bins at the grocery store, feeling like… yea it looks and smells just like fish food… we could totally turn this into a creamy, cheese-ish bechamel-type sauce. I sautéed garlic in avocado oil, like a very good vegan (?) (I dunno). I added flour and spice and stirred in the nutritional yeast. Blended in the blender to a brown-ish orange sauce type sauce. I tasted my creation and friends… Friends. I wish you could look me in the eye right now because they’re tearing. It was not good. It was so so so very not good. If anyone ever tries to tell you that nutritional yeast tastes enough like cheese to pour over well deserving chips, run away… so fast so far.
Now listen. I like vegan food very much. I can be way into it, with maaadd respect, yo. But the problem is… I know what cheese tastes like, and it’s really one of Earth’s finest creations when melted with other dairy into a smooth sauce and ladled over freshly made chips. So. Once you know what that tastes like, fish food and almond milk just isn’t going to cut it.
So anyway. If you’re vegan and you want to yell at me, I half expect it. I’ll just be sitting here eating a block of cheese waiting for your thoughts.
First things first. Chips come from tortillas… which I totally don’t mean in a condescending way, but I do mean as a reminder to both of us because sometimes I forget.
So! In the spirit of tortilla to chip transformation, we’re making our own chips! Tortillas, sliced into wedges, sprayed with a bit of nonstick cooking spray, sprinkled with coarse sea salt, and baked until well-crisped and browned.
Now, let’s make this cheese sauce.
These nachos aren’t just melted cheese atop chips. We’re making a spiced queso dip and pouring it over our chips.
We’ll need butter, minced garlic, flour, a bit of milk, and a big handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese.
The garlic is sauteed in the melted butter until lightly browned and fragrant.
The flour is slowly whisked into the fat until smooth. The flour will help the sauce thicken once the milk is added so it’s key. I also have a whole post about whisks coming soon… I know, hold onto your pants. The phrase is hold onto your hats but I’m not hitting backspace so… here we are.
Milk is slowly added to the butter and flour mixture over low heat and whisked until slightly thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Finally, cheese!
I added a dash of ground cumin and chili powder to boost the intrigue and whisked the mixture to melted and smooth.
Nachos are all about layering.
Homemade chips / warm cheese sauce / warmed black beans / more chips / more cheese sauce / more of any of the other stuff you want as a grown adult human who makes awesome decisions for themselves ie: salsa, sliced black olives, raw corn, cilantro, smash avocado.
Pull up a chair. Welcome. It’s a fine day because cheese sauce!
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoon pickled jalapenos, coarsely chopped
- 18 corn tortillas, sliced into wedges
- nonstick cooking spray
- coarse sea salt
- 3/4 cup black beans
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/3 cup raw corn kernels
- 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 ripe avocado, smashed with a bit of lemon juice and salt
- salsa, pickled jalapeno slices
- To make the cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and stir, sautéing until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat a bit if the garlic begins to burn.
- Gradually whisk in the flour. The mixture will foam a bit but stir until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a low simmer and whisk until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and spices until melted and smooth. Sprinkle the top with pickled jalapenos.
- To make the chips, place two racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread tortilla wedges in a single layer on two baking sheets. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Flip the wedges and spray with more cooking spray. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip all of the chips. Return to the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 6 more minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
- To assemble the nachos, layer chips on a plate or in a dish. Drizzle with warm cheese sauce (you may have extra left over). Sprinkle with half of the beans, half of the olives and corn and tomatoes. Layer over more chips, more cheese sauce, and the remaining toppings as you'd like. Top with guacamole, salsa, and whatever else feels super yummy.
- Enjoy immediately!