I am here to proclaim that nachos are a meal. While nachos are typically served as an appetizer or party snack, I like upgrading them to main dish status. With all of their toppings and textures, eating a dinner-sized helping is a thing I certainly have no problem with.
One of my favorite restaurant deals in Los Angeles is super nacho hour at Bar Amá. Instead of your typical happy hour, the Tex-Mex spot offers elevated nachos on discount. And while their standard nachos are delicious, I often go for the vegan nachos. They’re just as satisfying, topped with vegan queso and sprinklings of various toppings.
These vegan nachos are inspired by Bar Amá’s and are fully loaded with toppings. Sure, you can serve them on game day or as a casual appetizer, but why not have a very fun nacho dinner at home?
The Key Components
All good nacho recipes are made up of layers of flavorful ingredients, and this vegan nacho recipe is no exception.
- The Chips: Good-quality, restaurant-style tortilla chips are best for nachos. While thin chips are delicious for snacking, they don’t make good nachos since they don’t hold up against the weighty toppings. Go for thicker but still very crisp tortilla chips and give them a quick bake before adding toppings (a hot tip I learned from our classic nachos recipe!).
- The Protein: My recipe calls for our easy copycat sofritas recipe. The chipotle-flavored tofu is an excellent stand-in for seasoned ground beef or pork. I also like to include black beans for a different texture. Jackfruit, refried beans, and vegetarian meat crumbles are all good alternatives.
- The Cheese: Vegan nachos utilize our vegan queso recipe for an ooey, gooey experience. It’s easy to make and can be prepared up to two days ahead of time. For even more cheese, sprinkle with shredded vegan cheese.
- The Toppings: For the ultimate nacho experience, don’t skimp on the toppings. I use salsa, guacamole, and pickled jalapeños, but it’s easy to swap for your favorites.
Swaps and Substitutions
One of the best things about nachos is their versatility. You can change the toppings and add extras until you’ve created your ideal vegan nachos. Here are some toppings you can swap out or add-on to your vegan nachos:
- Pulled jackfruit
- Impossible or Beyond meat browned with taco seasoning
- Seasoned vegetarian “meat” crumbles
- Refried beans
- Sautéed peppers and onions
- Vegan shredded cheese
- Pico de gallo
- Mole sauce
- Diced avocado
- Vegan sour cream
- Green onions
- Sliced black olives
- Hot sauce
For super quick assembly, some components of vegan nachos be made ahead of time. Make the sofritas up to 3 days ahead and stash it in the fridge. Reheat slightly before adding to the nachos. The queso can be made up to 2 days ahead, and can be gently reheated in the microwave before drizzling over the top.
With the sofritas and queso made ahead of time, all you have to do is arrange the chips, add the toppings, heat, and serve. Vegan nachos are ready to serve in 20 minutes flat.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the chips:
Spread the chips out on a jelly roll or half sheet pan, preferably with sides. They should be in one layer but overlapping slightly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes to crisp them slightly.
Add the queso, sofritas, and beans:
Drizzle about 1 1/2 cups of the warm queso over the chips. Sprinkle the beans and sofritas on top.
Bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining toppings:
Immediately drizzle with another 1/2 cup of queso.
Evenly distribute the salsa, guacamole, and pickled jalapeños on top. Sprinkle with cilantro (if using) and serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.
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