Vegan Nachos

Dec 14, 2019 | Food

Anyone who has ever dined with me knows that I’m an omnivore who eats more vegetables than anything else. But on my doctor’s advice I’ve recently gone dairy-free, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to make favorite dishes without cheese, milk or cream. Additionally, I have many friends and family who are vegan, and when I cook for them I want to make dishes that are totally delicious. So vegan cooking is becoming more common in my kitchen, and it’s fun to discover a new cuisine.

Recently I purchased a copy of Vegan For Everybody, a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. It has many intriguing recipes and I love that they explain how they arrived at a particular set of ingredients or method…they tell you what they tried that didn’t work as well as giving you the recipe for what was successful. As a lover of nachos, I was especially interested in their Nacho Dip recipe, and made it for the first time tonight. It is potato based and totally yummy. 

The nachos I made tonight used the Mushroom Walnut topping below, which is much like seasoned ground beef. I also topped the tortilla chips with the Nacho Dip, beans, avocado, and some fresh salsa. The Mushroom Walnut recipe is below – you’ll have to get this cookbook for the Nacho Dip….completely worth it.

This is what the mushroom walnut mix looks like when cooking. You could use this in other recipes that call for chili-flavored ground beef.

The nacho dip sauce in the food processor.

The recipe called for poblano chiles but I didn’t have those. So I used about two teaspoons of the Smoky Latin sauce you see here. IT also called for minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, and the closest I could come was the jar on the right. I found both at Whole Foods and they worked out well.

I put a layer of tortilla chips on a sheet of parchment paper, and then used a small plastic bag with a tiny bit of the corner cut out to make a “pastry bag” for drizzling lines of the nacho sauce over the chips. I did one set of lines of the sauce, then topped the chips with some of the mushroom walnut topping. Next I ran a couple more sets of lines of the sauce over, and sprinkled some cooked beans over the top. This went into a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes to get everything hot.

Once the nachos were hot I topped them with avocado pieces and some fresh tomato hot sauce (La Mexicana) from the supermarket.

I made the mushroom and walnut topping and the nacho dip in advance. The recipes made enough for nachos for four hungry people.

Vegan Mushroom and Walnut Nacho Topping


  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked in lukewarm water for 30 minutes to soften the nut meats.
  • 4 chopped scallions – white and green parts
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced or previously roasted
  • About a cup of water, to be added gradually as detailed below
  • 1 package baby Bella mushrooms, (usually about 8 oz) wiped clean with damp towel. (Don’t wash in water.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Soak walnuts in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes, then drain.
  • In a sauté pan over medium heat, put 3 tablespoons of water along with scallions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown…add more water if needed. Add the olive oil then take the pan off the stove while you prepare the walnuts and mushrooms.
  • Put the walnuts and mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until they are cut into small pieces but not so much that they become a paste. You want them to resemble ground beef, not chopped liver!
  • Add the mushroom/walnut crumbles to the pan along with the remaining ingredients and about 1/4 cup of water. Sauté stirring frequently for about six to ten minutes. Add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper.


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