Vegan Loaded Nachos

We love tacos in the Surznick house, but since we don't eat meat, we have to get creative with what goes in our tacos. Our go-to is a delicious combination of lentils, chopped walnuts, and our homemade taco seasoning. It looks pretty similar to ground beef and it's dang good in a tortilla.

Okay, pause for a sec. Remember our Mac & Not Cheese recipe? Well a reader left us a comment on that post saying she used the recipe for the cheese on vegan nachos - how genius is that?! Then a few days later I had a genius moment myself. Vegan cheese sauce + lentil/walnut taco "meat" + other delicious toppings = a bomb recipe for vegan loaded nachos! And here we are!

This recipe is perfect for a game day afternoon, a loungy Friday night movie marathon, or even a weeknight dinner (which we've done on more than one occasion.) You can use as many or as little add-ons as you want and it'll be a vegan nacho party for your taste buds!

Here's what you need!
For the cheese sauce (from our Mac & Not cheese recipe) - You could cut this in half, it makes quite a bit!
- 1/2 cup butter (we use Earth Balance)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 cups non-dairy milk (we recommend unsweetened almond milk!)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar

For the "meat" (using our Homemade Taco Seasoning)
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper

Addition toppings (optional)
- Tomatoes
- Jalapenos
- Black beans
- Salsa
- Sour cream
- Guacamole
You'll need chips too, of course.

Here's what you do!
Prepare the cheese sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt your butter. Once it is melted, whisk in your flour to form a roux.
- Add in remaining ingredients except for the agave and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes to thicken.
- After it thickens, stir in agave nectar and lemon juice. Set aside.

Prepare the "meat":
 - In a medium pot, add 1 cup dry lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, tilt lid, and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, until desired tenderness is achieved. We like a bit of texture to our lentils, but not too much!
- Drain any excess water off the lentils and place in a large saucepan.
- Finely chop your walnuts (all hail the slap chop!) and add to the pan with your lentils.
- Add your taco seasoning spices and about 1 cup of water.
- Simmer and stir until the water boils off, and the lentil mixture is thick like taco meat.
 - Assemble chips, cheese, "meat", toppings and eat!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Happy eating!

Sarah & Nick