There are just some foods that evoke the term “junk food” - a greasy slice of pizza or a bag of potato chips. Without a doubt, a plate of nachos makes that list. Fried tortilla chips topped with fatty ground beef, mounds of sour cream, and often smothered with a bright yellow, processed cheese sauce, it’s not a dish that you should be eating on a regular basis. It doesn’t help that this ballpark staple is full of unnecessary fats and it can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.
Before we get into the recipe specifics, I’d like to talk about quality ingredients. Whenever possible, I try to buy organic products, particularly when it comes to vegetables and animal products. Though it’s often more expensive, the cost is worth it. “Organic” refers to the way that the food is grown - without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or added hormones. Unlike conventional produce, organic products must pass strict standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is warming, prepare your vegetables. Chop a ½ cup of pitted olives (green or black), slice your mini bell peppers into rings, and mince two cloves of garlic. Dice 2 avocados and pull the organic corn from the freezer to thaw.
Spread the non-GMO, blue corn tortilla chips across a cookie sheet. Once you have your base, spread the lentil taco meat evenly on top. In no particular order, scatter your olives, corn, garlic, and bell peppers on top of the meat. Sprinkle an optional 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese on top and pop these bad boys into the oven for 5 - 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the vegetables have softened.
When it comes to the cheese, it’s really up to you to customize this dish with your favorite flavor. These nachos are just as finger-licking good with or without it, so if you’re aiming for vegan nachos, just skip this step.
Though I’ve got to tell ya, habanero cheese is where it’s at! It adds a real kick to the nachos that I just can’t pass up!
Whenever possible use local, pasture raised (also called grass-fed), unpasteurized dairy. Any combination of these terms will be superior to conventional cheese. I’m lucky here in Michigan, I am surrounded by dairy farmers who I love to support!
This recipe makes enough for 4 - 6 hungry people and is perfect for sharing with friends, especially meat eaters!
Almost Vegan Lentil Loaded Nachos
1 bag of organic, blue corn tortilla chips
½1/2 bag of mini bell peppers, sliced in rings
1 cup organic sweet corn
1/2 cup of olives, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of lentil taco meat
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded*
2 avocados, diced
1/2 cup fresh salsa
⅓ cup of lemon cashew cream
3 lemon wedges- squeezed on top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread chips on a baking sheet. Slice 1/2 bag of mini bell peppers, chop ½ cup of olives, and mince up 2 cloves of garlic.
To assemble, layer the lentil taco meat on top of the chips. Follow that with the bell peppers, corn, olives, and garlic. Top with shredded cheese and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the vegetables have started to soften.
When it comes out of the oven, top with the diced avocado, fresh salsa, lemon juice, and the lemon cashew cream. Share with your hungry friends and enjoy!
*Omit to make vegan
Hi! I'm Lacie, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach turned Food Blogger. Welcome to The Vegetarian LunchBox where I celebrate my passion for vegetarian cooking.