Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, and of course, your weekend snacking, we’re serving up some Loaded Vegetarian Nachos! They’re hearty, spicy and full of fibre and healthy fats!
Vegetarian Taco Meat
If you’re anything like my husband, you’re going to be a bit skeptical as I start to describe these nachos. That’s because they aren’t vegetarian in the sense that they’re loaded with lots of lentils, black beans or chick peas (although that would be super delicious too!).
No, these nachos are actually loaded with a walnut/mushroom mixture that resembles the taste and texture of ground beef.
Seriously, I was even skeptical as I set out to make these, but I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious and convincing walnuts and mushrooms can be as taco meat. And fyi, my husband was sold on it too!
While I would love to take credit for this genius and delicious idea, faux taco meat is not a new idea. If you search Google or Pinterest, you will find all sorts of recipes for vegetarian taco meat. In fact, the recipe I’m sharing today was actually inspired by Pinch of Yum’s recipe for Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat, which has cauliflower and walnuts as its base (obviously) and is absolutely delicious!
Unfortunately, when I got a craving for nachos last week, I didn’t have any cauliflower. And truth be told, after eating cauli pizza crust and cauli rice the week before, I had my fill of cauliflower.
I did, however, have a package of cremini mushrooms that were calling out to be used (which actually means they were a day away from being thrown out). So I chopped them up and threw them in the food processor with some walnuts, and after a few pulses, the mixture actually resembled ground beef.
Texture is one thing, but what about taste? Well, that’s where some trusty spices, lime juice, red onion and jalapeño pepper come into play. Just add these ingredients to your skillet with the walnut/mushroom mixture and cook it for a few minutes until the onions and peppers soften.
The result is a pretty convincing and tasty vegetarian taco meat that’s perfect for nachos. You can even add it to salads, wraps, or tacos. I’ve tried them all in the last week!
This mixture makes an awesome topping on a bed of greens with some guacamole and tomatoes. If you’re not into nachos, then you definitely need to try this mixture in a taco salad!
How to make Loaded Vegetarian Nachos
While these Loaded Vegetarian Nachos are pretty easy to make, I do have a few tips to help you out:
- Vegetarian taco meat. To avoid mushy taco meat, try not to cut your mushrooms too small or over-process the walnut/mushroom mixture.
- Choose your toppings. For these nachos, I used red and green pepper, roasted corn and tex mex cheese. But you can add anything you like! Green onions, tomatoes or black beans would also work really well.
- Tortilla chips. You can go a few different ways here. Store-bought is obviously the easiest, and although they aren’t typically clean eating, if you’re in a rush, just go for it. I do this sometimes, especially when I’m serving a crowd. But if I’m making these for myself and hubby, I usually make Sea Salt Lime Tortilla Chips, which are just corn tortillas baked with a little bit of evoo, lime juice, sea salt and pepper.
- Nachos two ways. The first time I made these, I layered the corn tortilla chips in the skillet and loaded on the taco meat, veggies and cheese (see pics above and below). I love my nachos this way, but if you’re using the homemade tortilla chips they can get a bit chewy under all the toppings. So the second time I made these, I baked the taco meat and toppings on their own and then used the chips to scoop out the mixture. Either way works great, it just depends on your preference, and whether you use store-bought or homemade corn tortilla chips.
No matter how you plan to make these Loaded Vegetarian Nachos, you should definitely serve them up with some homemade guacamole, salsa and/or pico de gallo, and of course, your favourite margarita! 😉
If you make these, I would love to hear about it in the comments below, or take a pic and tag @crumbtopbaking on Instagram. And if you’re looking for some other recipes featuring nachos, be sure to check out these Pork Carnita Breakfast Nachos! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day brunch!Print
Loaded Vegetarian Nachos
These Loaded Vegetarian Nachos are made with a blend of walnuts, mushrooms, veggies and spices. So they’re hearty and flavourful, but also full of fibre and healthy fats. Perfect for weekend snacking or a get together with friends!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Nachos for two 1x
- Category: Appetizers; Snacks
For the vegetarian taco meat:
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups raw walnuts, halves or pieces
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
- Half medium-sized red onion, chopped
- Half jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp crushed chipotle peppers
For the nachos:
- Tortilla chips
- Red and green pepper
- Tex mex cheese
- Other toppings as desired
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the oil to a cast iron skillet and pre-heat on low on the stove top.
- Add the walnuts and mushrooms to a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture is crumbly.
- Add the walnut/mushroom mixture to the pre-heated skillet and add the chopped onion, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder and crushed chipotle peppers. Cook on low until the onions and peppers have softened (about 10 minutes).
- Remove from heat. If you’re using store-bought tortilla chips, spread them out on the prepared baking sheet (or in another skillet), and top with the taco meat, red and green peppers, corn and cheese (and other toppings as desired). Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the cheese has melted.
- If using homemade tortilla chips, leave the taco meat in the skillet and top with the veggies and cheese. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and stick the tortilla chips into the nacho mixture and serve!
- You can either use store-bought tortilla chips or make these Sea Salt Lime Tortilla Chips. If you decide on the homemade chips, I would definitely double the recipe.
- I roasted two ears of fresh corn for these nachos, but you can also use canned corn. If you want to use roasted corn, just brush some oil on the corn and season with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 40 minutes on 350 degrees. Once cooked and cooled, just cut the corn kernels off the cob.
- To avoid mushy vegetarian taco meat, try not to chop your mushrooms too small or over-process the walnut/mushroom mixture.
- The time to prepare this recipe does not include the time to make the corn tortilla chips or roast the corn.
- This recipe was inspired by Pinch of Yum’s Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat.