Taco Tuesday: Loaded Veggie Nachos with Cheeze Sauce + Quinoa "Meat"

Happy #TacoTuesday, friends!

We're deviating from our usual tacos this Tuesday just a bit and instead, going with loaded nachos! These nachos are piled high with healthy fats from guacamole, protein from the quinoa "meat" and "cheeze " sauce and vitamins A & C from the sweet potato and red and green bell peppers!

I wanted to share these today as a delicious option to bring to any Super Bowl parties you might be attending or hosting this weekend or as a dinner idea to keep in your back pocket. The cheeze sauce is totally optional and you can definitely use the sweet potatoes + quinoa as a base to this meal and mix and match toppings from there, based on your dietary preferences! I've been sharing a lot of sweet potato recipes lately, which is intentional because they have been in season and are an inexpensive item to cook with.

So, let's jump right in to today's recipe. We're gathering a lot of inspo today from my girl Dana over at The Minimalist Baker! If you have yet to check out her blog, go do it! Even if you're not vegan or vegetarian, her recipes are bomb and you won't even realize you're not eating meat. :)

What You'll Need:

For the sweet potato nachos:

  • 1 organic sweet potato
  • 1 TSP olive oil
  • Salt for seasoning

For the quinoa meat:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (can be tri-color, white or red), rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (if you don't have any, just use water)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 TBS of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBS olive oil

For the cheeze sauce:

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in very hot water for at least 15 minutes (the longer they're able to soak, the better)
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 3 TSB nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 - 2 TBS of salsa
  • 1 TBS of olive oil, optional

For the nacho toppings:

  • Diced red bell pepper
  • Diced green bell pepper
  • Green and black olives
  • Guacamole
  • Other ideas for toppings: salsa, pico de gallo, jalapeño, cilantro

Let's Make It:

Let's start with the sweet potatoes since they will take the longest to cook. If you've read my other recipes when I've made sweet potato chips, you know that I swear by this recipe / method from Minimalist Baker. Yes, it does take a bit longer to make these chips, but they ALWAYS come out perfectly crisp, crunchy and never soggy. EVER!

  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  • Thoroughly rinse and dry your sweet potato and slice it as uniformly thin as possible (I used my mandolin and it worked perfectly. If you don’t have one, just use a very sharp knife to get the slices as thin and consistent in size as you can).
  • Toss slices in 1 TBS of olive oil to lightly coat, then sprinkle with salt. Lay out in a single layer (overlapping a little bit is fine as they’ll shrink in size as they cook) on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours (this is the patience part), flipping the chips once at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.
  • Remove the chips once they’re crisp and golden brown. It’s okay if some of them feel a little tender in the middle — take them out and let them rest for at least 10 minutes to continue to crisp up.

While your chips cool, we'll move on to our quinoa "meat."

  • Bump your oven up to 375 degrees.
  • Grab a medium pan and over medium heat, pour your rinsed quinoa into the pan and spread out in an even layer. Your quinoa will begin to sizzle as the water evaporates.
  • Once you hear your quinoa start to snap or pop, pour in your vegetable broth, give everything a stir, turn your heat down to low and simmer the quinoa for about 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork and then transfer to a bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients (salsa, spices and olive oil), stir to combine and pour quinoa onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Making sure your oven is at 375, pop your quinoa into the oven for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking.

As your quinoa hangs in the oven, make your cheeze sauce and dice up your toppings.

  • For the sauce, throw all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smoothy and creamy.
  • Give it a taste for seasoning preferences and then set aside.
  • Dice up your desired toppings and set aside

Once your quinoa is done, it's time to assemble this goodness.

  • Grab a plate or a platter and arrange a layer of sweet potatoes chips.
  • Drop a few dollops of guacamole and cheeze sauce over your nachos and scoop some of your quinoa meat mixture onto the chips.
  • Sprinkle on a bit of your toppings and then layer another level of the sweet potatoes, dollops of guac and cheeze, scoops of quinoa and sprinkle of toppings.
  • Repeat until you run out of ingredients and then serve immediately!