Vegan Lentil Nachos with Easy Cheese Sauce

By Alexandra Caspero on September 29, 2020

Vegan lentil Nachos with easy cheese sauce. Taco lentil filling, simple cashew cheese sauce, roasted squash, guacamole and more! Vegan and gluten-free.

Coming to you today with NACHOS! Not your  Nacho average nachos, though. These are loaded vegan nachos and they are perfect for any upcoming gathering that you might be hosting. Or, you know– hope to be hosting in the near future.

We made these loaded nachos over the weekend for a lazy Sunday night dinner and it was the best. The weather dipped into the low-60s and we opened the windows, cuddled under blankets and watched Moana while we devoured these tacos. Which, to be honest, is how we’ve spent the vast majority of 2020. 

Taco lentils + roasted chili squash + easy cashew cheese sauce + guacamole + your favorite toppings. These are nachos to beat all nachos.

vegan lentil nachos with quick cheese sauce

Familiar readers might know about my vegan chili cheese dip. It’s one of my most popular recipes (and even featured on the Dr. Oz show last year!) and gets rave reviews from everyone who tries it.

It’s one of my family’s favorite snacks as well, and BL requests it almost every week for football Sunday. And while we love, love, love that recipe, it’s also pretty heavy. It contains 1 1/2 cups of cashews and is as indulgent as it tastes.

Therefore, I wanted to create a lighter cheese sauce that had just as much body and flavor. I swapped in cashew milk for the cashews and wow! The sauce is just as rich as the original, without comprising taste.

Cashew beverage is a workhorse in my kitchen and I’ve been working this past year to update some of my more heavier cashew-based sauces with cashew-milk instead. (Like this spicy penne pasta– a crowd favorite!)

It’s so incredibly creamy with less calories and fat than blending in whole cashews, as many non-dairy recipes call for. While I don’t focus too much on calories and fat in my cooking, I know that many of you do and I like to provide recipe options for all of us. 

vegan queso dip

Vegan Lentil Nachos with Easy Cheese Sauce

Please don’t be intimidated by the amount of ingredients here. I know it’s a lot but many of them are spices and all of the components come together really easily.

The taco lentils almost cook on their own after sweating a chopped onion and garlic. The cheese sauce blends up in minutes and the squash is mostly hands-off cooking as well.

If you want to simplify things, then don’t add the squash. I love the sweet and smoky taste that the squash brings to this recipe, but it’s also OK if you don’t want too much work.

And, if you are really craving nachos and don’t want much work at all, then just make the cheese sauce and drizzle over chips, maybe adding in some black beans and guacamole.

Enjoy these! xo

vegan lentil nachos with quick cheese sauce

If you try these vegan lentil nachos then come back to leave a comment and rate it! Your feedback helps others and I love seeing you make my recipes.  

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vegan lentil nachos with quick cheese sauce

Vegan Lentil Nachos with Easy Cheese Sauce

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: nachos, lentils, healthy, dinner, appetizer, superbowl, snacks
  • Method: Stove Top, Oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, plantbased, party food, appetizer

Description

Vegan lentil Nachos with quick cheese sauce. Taco lentil filling, simple cashew cheese sauce, roasted squash, guacamole and more! Vegan and gluten-free.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: nachos, lentils, healthy, dinner, appetizer, superbowl, snacks
  • Method: Stove Top, Oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, plantbased, party food, appetizer
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: nachos, lentils, healthy, dinner, appetizer, superbowl, snacks
  • Method: Stove Top, Oven
  • Cuisine: vegan, glutenfree, plantbased, party food, appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

Lentil Taco Filling:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Quick Cheese Sauce: 

  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup cashew milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Chili Squash: 

  • 12 ounces cubed butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch salt

Other:

Tortilla Chips
Guacamole
Pico de Gallo
Pickled jalapeno slices, optional

Instructions

For the taco filling:

  1. Heat a large deep skillet (or a large saucepan with deep sides) to medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds then add in the lentils, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt.
  2. Mix so that everything is well coated, then add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed.

For the quick cheese sauce:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender and puree until creamy! This sauce will thicken up as it heats, so you can either keep running the blender to warm the sauce (My blendtec blender will do this on the ‘soup’ setting) or add to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Taste as needed with salt, sometimes I have to add a little more!

For the chili squash: 

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the squash with the oil and spices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Roast until tender, about 30-45 minutes (depends on the size of the squash cube)

Assemble! 

  1. Place the tortilla chips on a single layer, drizzle on the cheese sauce, top with squash, lentils, pico de gallo and guacamole.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Zena
      November 4, 2020 AT 10:26 pm

      Absolutely delicious and perfect for entertaining! Next time I want to double the cheese sauce to have extra. I saved some of the lentil mixture to make tacos with later this week which is also a plus.

      1. Alex
        November 5, 2020 AT 3:08 pm

        Thank you, Zena! Glad you liked it.

    2. Susan
      October 2, 2020 AT 2:10 pm

      Alex, Thank you so much for lightening up the cheese sauce with cashew milk. Not only does it decrease the amount of fat, it simplifies the recipe, (no soaking!) and saves a lot of $$$ too. I will be watching for more cashew milk sauces! I wish I had kids at home again as there are so many recipes I see that I want to make. Thanks again. 🙂

    3. Blair C.
      January 18, 2019 AT 12:13 pm

      Great spin on nachos! I loved it, and it will be in the snack rotation.