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Friday November 17, 2023


Crafting Wholesome Vegan Nachos: A Symphony of Flavor and Nutrients

Discover the unexpected delight of healthy nachos with our version, adorned with walnut-mushroom taco “meat,” cashew nacho “cheese,” and a vibrant array of veggies.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Snacks & Dips: Healthy Loaded Vegan Nachos

It might sound amusing, but my first love affair with a vegan dish was nachos. Many moons ago, at Native Foods, the Native Nachos dazzled us. They weren’t just a snack; they became our dinner one late night. Piled high with taco “meat,” black beans, cashew cheese (a groundbreaking concept at the time), salsa, and guacamole – we devoured them, marveling, “how are these vegan?”

Inspired, I returned home with their cookbook and spent the week making nachos every night. While my version differs, the concept remains – load up fresh ingredients, and nachos can indeed be healthy. Well, at least healthy-ish (baking your own tortilla chips would nudge them a tad healthier).

Healthy Nachos Unveiled

Instead of opting for fake-meat products, I concoct a ground taco “meat” with walnuts, shiitake mushrooms, spices, and black beans. The cashew cream, tinted with pumpkin puree, mirrors the classic nacho cheese color. While this recipe may seem a bit extensive, each component is versatile for other culinary endeavors. For instance, the leftover cashew cream from taco night can be a star player in your nacho assembly.

Now, let’s dive into the healthy elements – behold the kale! Thinly sliced and cleverly nestled in the middle layer, it blends seamlessly. Crispy radishes make a guest appearance, their crunch allowing for a few less tortilla chips. Crown it all with diced avocado and a generous squeeze of lime. Game on.

Healthy Nachos Recipe

Ingredients: Mushroom-Walnut Taco “Meat” (can be made ahead):

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups de-stemmed and diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

For the Nachos:

  • Several big handfuls of tortilla chips
  • 1 kale leaf, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • ½ cup (or more) pumpkin cashew cream (from this recipe)
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • Hot sauce or a scoop of salsa (optional)


  1. Mushroom-Walnut Taco “Meat”:

    • In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned and softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Stir in walnuts and toast lightly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tamari, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
    • Incorporate balsamic vinegar and stir. Turn off the heat, then add black beans. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  2. Assemble the Nachos:

    • On a large platter, arrange half of the tortilla chips. Top with ¾ of the taco “meat,” kale, half the scallions, and half the pumpkin cashew cream.
    • Add another layer of chips and top with the remaining taco meat, remaining cashew cream, radishes, avocado, remaining scallions, diced red onion, and cilantro.
    • Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and serve with the remaining lime slices.
    • Serve with salsa or hot sauce if desired. Enjoy immediately.


  • If gluten-free, ensure the tortilla chips are certified gluten-free.