I was craving something salty and finger-licking good after a hot summer training ride this last weekend. We’d gone out for about four hours on gravel, and I’d dang well earned some Vegan Backyard Nachos!
Through some experimenting, I landed on a great vegan jalapeño “queso” sauce that looks like velveeta but doesn’t clog your arteries (you’re welcome)! It’s cheesy, full-bodied, and a great sauce for topping nachos.
Keep an open mind when it comes to the “queso”. Some of these ingredients may make you crinkle your forehead, but trust me, then end result is damn delicious. The latino in my house said it was “pretty good”…and he’s a very harsh critic of plant-based Mexican food!
So…here’s the Vegan Backyard Nacho’s Jalapeño “Queso” ingredient list at a glance:
- pumpkin puree
- apple cider vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- nutritional yeast
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- juice of a lime
- salt and pepper
Pumpking puree? Turmeric? I can hear you thinking, “Yikes, are you sure about this?” The proof is in the pudding…or, in our case, the “queso”.
Not Just Any Chip Will Do!
I used Zack’s Mighty Chips. They are DANGEROUSLY delicious — you’ve been warned. I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes that I would suggest spending that much on tortilla chips…
But these are no ordinary nachos! Who wants GMO chips? Not me.
If you’re going to eat nachos, eat them right. Enjoy a sturdy, salty, non-GMO, organic heirloom corn chip, so you can mop up all of the tasty toppings.
Assembling the Nachos
Please don’t let the long ingredient list distract you from making these nachos! Most of it just goes straight into a Vitamix. I promise, it’s low stress and no mess!
If you have one of the nicer Vitamix high speed blenders, it will even heat the queso for you after you’ve whipped up all the ingredients!
Making these Vegan Backyard Nachos with Jalapeño “Queso” takes under 30 minutes. Because we’re not melting dairy cheese, these don’t need to be heated unless you just want to give the chips a quick oven toast.
A quick note on pickling the red onions: all you have to do is let thinly sliced pieces of red onion sit in apple cider vinegar (+ salt and pepper) while you’re prepping everything else. They add mega flavor.
Back to the ordering: first, lay out the chips. Then, add whatever sautéed fajita veggies you’d like. I used green bell pepper, black beans, and onion, caramelized for extra flavor with taco seasonings.
Next, using a cake decorating icing bag (or a ziploc bag with a small hole cut in one of the corners), squeeze the jalapeño “queso” allllllll over the nachos, as liberally as you’d like. Load ’em up!
Last, top it off with fresh green onions, cilantro, jalapeño slices, limes, and pickled red onion!
Ernie and I shared this tray, but I’m 100% sure I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.
The Jalapeño “Queso” recipe provided below makes enough for four people to enjoy. Just for reference, I only used half of it on this large tray.
This would make a fantastic party tray (maybe when COVID is said and done), a yummy meal for two, or an appetizer to go with some Jackfruit Tacos with Fresh Salsa Verde!
It definitely hit the target for a post-ride “recovery” meal. Wink wink.
Vegan Backyard Nachos with Jalapeño “Queso”
- 1 bag Zack's Mighty Tortilla Chips, or any tostada chip of your choice
- Servings of any optional toppings: green onions, cilantro, fresh jalepeno, lime wedges
For Jalapeno "Queso"
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 T nutrition yeast
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/2 t ketchup
- 1/2 t mustard
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- 1/8 t turmeric
- 1 whole lime, juiced
For Veggie/Black Bean Sautee
- 1 whole green bell pepper
- 1 whole onion
- 1 can black beans
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/4 t cumin
- 1 dash salt and pepper, to taste (there will be ample salt in the chips and queso)
For Pickled Red Onion
- 1 whole red onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper
- First get your pickled onions going: combine all the picked red onion ingredients in a mason jar or bowl, and let the onions sit while you're prepping everything else.
- Chop the green bell pepper and onion into fajita-sized slices. Sautee those in a frying pan with water or a little oil, and when they've begun to carmelize, add the drained can of black beans. Add the veggie/black bean sautee spices listed above, and stir to let those combine, just for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add all the ingredients for the Jalapeno Queso in a high speed blender, EXCEPT for the water. Let it puree until VERY smooth (there should be no texture). If your mix is too thick, then begin adding water slowly until you get the consistency you like (it should look like melted queso). If you have a high speed vitamix, turn to the heat setting and let it process until heated through.
- Line a large baking sheet or large serving dish with parchment paper. Lay out the tortilla chips first. Next, distribute the sauteed veggies and black beans evenly over the chips.
- Fill a pastry/icing piping bag with the "queso" (or make your own icing bag by clipping the corner of a ziplock baggie). Squeeze out the sauce liberally over the nachos. Then top with your favorite fresh things — cilantro, green onions, jalapenos, and lime wedges! Don't forget to top it all off with your pickled red onions, which by now, should now be a beautiful bright pink! Enjoy.