Monday, April 4, 2016

Vegan Loaded Nachos

We love tacos in the Surznick house, but since we don't eat meat, we have to get creative with what goes in our tacos. Our go-to is a delicious combination of lentils, chopped walnuts, and our homemade taco seasoning. It looks pretty similar to ground beef and it's dang good in a tortilla.

Okay, pause for a sec. Remember our Mac & Not Cheese recipe? Well a reader left us a comment on that post saying she used the recipe for the cheese on vegan nachos - how genius is that?! Then a few days later I had a genius moment myself. Vegan cheese sauce + lentil/walnut taco "meat" + other delicious toppings = a bomb recipe for vegan loaded nachos! And here we are!

This recipe is perfect for a game day afternoon, a loungy Friday night movie marathon, or even a weeknight dinner (which we've done on more than one occasion.) You can use as many or as little add-ons as you want and it'll be a vegan nacho party for your taste buds!

Here's what you need!
For the cheese sauce (from our Mac & Not cheese recipe) - You could cut this in half, it makes quite a bit!
- 1/2 cup butter (we use Earth Balance)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cups non-dairy milk (we recommend unsweetened almond milk!)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar

For the "meat" (using our Homemade Taco Seasoning)
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper

Addition toppings (optional)
- Tomatoes
- Jalapenos
- Black beans
- Salsa
- Sour cream
- Guacamole
You'll need chips too, of course.

Here's what you do!
Prepare the cheese sauce:
- In a medium sauce pan, melt your butter. Once it is melted, whisk in your flour to form a roux.
- Add in remaining ingredients except for the agave and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes to thicken.
- After it thickens, stir in agave nectar and lemon juice. Set aside.

Prepare the "meat":
 - In a medium pot, add 1 cup dry lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, tilt lid, and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, until desired tenderness is achieved. We like a bit of texture to our lentils, but not too much!
- Drain any excess water off the lentils and place in a large sauce pan.
- Finely chop your walnuts (all hail the slap chop!) and add to the pan with your lentils.
- Add your taco seasoning spices and about 1 cup of water.
- Simmer and stir until the water boils off, and the lentil mixture is thick like taco meat.
 - Assemble chips, cheese, "meat", toppings and eat!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Happy eating!

Sarah & Nick


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