Last weekend during the playoffs I made Gabe his game time favorite, nachos. This got me thinking that no plant loving person should be without nacho for the super bowl. Our casomorphin addicted friends may not be fooled by this recipe, but it sure does do the trick if you are avoiding dairy, or you are vegan.
A few words about cheese substitutes…there’s really nothing like the real thing.
BUT, Daiya makes cheese-like products, that are the best I have tried so far. Daiya is dairy-fee, gluten-free, and soy-free. The packaging is accurate, it melts and stretches and kind of reminds me of American cheese. We have used Daiya’s Shreds on pizza and the cheddar style block and slices for grilled cheese, quesadillas, and mac and cheese. These are not things that we eat often, but it’s nice to have a vegan rendition of comfort food every once in a while. Daiya’s products are a convenient and delicious way to replace cheese in any recipe. Check out there website to find a local retailer.
There are other methods of making vegan cheeses. One I use often calls for soaked cashews placed in a blender with lemon juice, vinegar, water, salt, nutritional yeast and blended until smooth. Miyolo Schinner’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, is a great resource for making all sorts of vegan cheeses from melt-able mozzarella or sharp cheddar, to cashew chevre or air-dried camembert. The recipe times range from less than an hour to up to a few days. In addition to providing step by step intructions on how to make these cheeses, Shinner shares recipes for how to incorporate the cheeses in first courses through desserts.
BACK TO THE NACHOS
To start you’ll need good chips. I have become familiar with the disappointment of suffering countless chip fractures when exiting the salsa bowl, seeing half of the chip being swallowed up by salsa and me left holding half a naked chip. Does chip density really matter for nachos? I consulted Gabe, the in-house chip expert. This is what he had to say, “A chip must be dip rated, but it can’t be too thick because then it just takes over the nacho experience.”
You really can’t mess up nachos. Go for it, use whatever you want for toppings and I’ll share with you my preferred method of melting the Daiya cheese for nachos. Items like olives, pickled jalapenos, or anything that is very wet should be patted dry with a towel before using. This will help keep the chips from getting soggy.
What you’ll need:
2 oz (6cm cube)Daiya cheddar style block or 3 cheddar style slices
Guacamole or avocado
Red or green onion
And anything else your heart desires
Preheat oven to 425F
Layer the chips on an oven safe, dinner size plate, preferable the plate you will be serving from as the nachos may be difficult to transfer after cooking. Distribute toppings evenly over the chips. You may want to wait to put the avocado or guacamole on the nachos until after they are cooked. I prefer guacamole to be cold, so it’s the last topping I place. Put the chips in the oven for about 5 minutes until the toppings and chips heat through.
While the chips are in the oven melt the cheese. For a dinner plate size of nachos use 2 ounces (6cm cube) of Daiya Cheddar Style Block or 3 slices Daiya Cheddar Style Slices. Cut up the cheese into smaller pieces and put them into a microwave safe container. I like to use a glass measuring cup that has a spout for easy pouring. As an option add one teaspoon of hot sauce to the cheese and one teaspoon of water. If you are not adding hot sauce then just add 2 teaspoons of water to the cheese. Melt the cheese in a microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the cheese. If the cheese is not completely melted then microwave for an 15 seconds longer. You can add another teaspoon of water if you want a thinner cheese.
Remove the chips from the oven, pour the cheese over the chips, I start at the outside of the plate and spiral the pour toward the center. If you like the guacamole to be chilled add it now, I used a pastry bag (actually, a plastic food storage bag with a hole cut in the corner) for more even coverage. Serve immediately. Careful, the plate is hot!