I cannot begin this post without first acknowledging the tragic bombings in Boston yesterday afternoon. My heart goes out to everyone affected, directly and indirectly. I feel pulled to write something heart-wrenching, something as equally dramatic as the event itself was. But words, here, cannot change what happened or bring back anyone or anything that was lost. Without forgetting and simultaneously without glorifying, I leave yesterday’s horrors with the hope that today and tomorrow will bring healing and a more peaceful world.
I’ve acknowledged the fact that I’m not so good with transitions, and this might be proof. How do you gracefully transition from the above paragraph to a nacho recipe that will blow your taste buds clear out of your mouth?
By sharing an experience, I guess, since that tends to be a characteristic of humans, proof of our shared existence.
When I was a kid I had two favorite foods. Chinese and Mexican. Yes, I considered entire countries to be two distinct dishes, that, in my head, were the best in the world (and I, sadly, don’t even mean ethnic cuisine. I mean your stereotypical run of the mill, Americanized versions). Every birthday we would get Chinese take-out and the few times we would eat out, I would always opt for Mexican.
My go-to Mexican dish, every time, without fail, was nachos. Cheesy, gooey, meaty, piled high tortilla chips. There was nothing better than digging into a mountain of melted cheese and seasoned meat atop salty, crispy wafers of heaven. Even after I went vegetarian, meatless nachos was definitely on the top of my fix list.
Brett and I had attempted to make vegan nachos numerous times. We tried piling on vegetables sauteed in spices, or beans cooked down to a silky consistency. But nothing could rival those gigantic plates of nachos I often gorged on as a kid.
And to be honest, even though it didn’t make me so much as consider giving up on veganism, it did make me a little sad.
Until these came into my life.
As a people pleaser, I get a little bent out of shape whenever someone comes over for dinner. What do I make them? Do they have allergies? What if they don’t like it and they’re left to starve on my watch, wasting away in the corner into a pile of nothingness as I dig in to what I perceive to be great and they’re just suffering….
Not that that ever happens.
Sometimes I don’t learn my lessons.
Anyway, Brett’s long time friend from elementary school, high school, and undergraduate spent a few days with us and I whipped this up one night. He, by the way, is the one who helped me come up with the name for this blog. So the pressure was really on.
Pretty sure they had no idea they were both guinea pigs. Typical Annie fashion, I just threw a ton of stuff I thought would work into a blender and said a little prayer.
Someone was listening The three of us devoured them in no time flat.
The best part? Just like being a kid, we got to get our hands dirty. By the time you’ve worked your way to the other end, you will be covered in spices and “cheese.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I lied. The best part is how fast and easy it is. Approximately 15 minute prep time, depending on your skill at chopping, and 10-15 minutes in the oven. Need I say more?
I might have lied again. I think the best part is eating it.
Heavenly Baked Nachos
Melty, Goo-ey Cheese:
*1 clove garlic
*1/2 block silken or soft tofu
*~6tablespoons nutritional yeast
*1/2 tablespoon olive oil
*1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
1) In a food processor, grind garlic until chopped into fine pieces.
2) Add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
bits of nutritional yeast clinging to the sides.
Seasoned, Meat-y Vegetables
adapted from allrecipes.com
*2-3 cups vegetables of choice (I used cauliflower and mushrooms – both really give a meaty texture – as well as peppers and onion).
*1 tablespoon chili powder
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/4 teaspoon onion powder
*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
*1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon black pepper
*1/4 cup olive oil
1) Chop vegetables up, very small.
2) In a large tupperware (or other type of container), combine spices and olive oil. Stir to combine.
3) Put vegetables in tupperware with spice-oil mixture. Shake, mix, or stir until all vegetables get completely coated.
mushrooms, in pieces.
vegetables coated in spicey goodness.
*1 can black beans
*Seasoned Vegetables (See Above)
*Cheese (See Above)
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Do NOT spray.
3) Spread tortilla chips in as thin or thick a layer as you’d like.
4) Top tortilla chips with vegetables, beans, and cheese. Spread the cheese around a bit.
5) Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Mine came out perfect at 15 minutes.
spread your chips
add your veggies
close up! too delicious looking not to.
another close up. why not.
post-baking close up
serve with salsa, and/or homemade guacamole!