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Try Plant-Based Celebrity Chef Charity Morgan’s Nacho Average Nachos Recipe

January 20, 2022

Imagine a plate of nachos: the tower of chips is smothered in homemade queso, flavored with smoky chipotle chiles, and finished with a colorful array of toppings. It’s messy, decadent, and totally delicious.

Now, imagine those same nachos are completely vegan. 

For a dish so satisfying, so loaded with complex flavors and crunchy, creamy, even downright meaty texture, it may seem a bit unbelievable that it could also be entirely meat- and dairy-free.

Chef Charity Morgan’s new cookbook Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes is packed with dishes that are loaded with flavor, and — true to its title — may even seem too good to be true.

Morgan is a celebrity chef turned breakout TV star who you may recognize from The Game Changers, the award-winning Netflix documentary produced by James Cameron. She’s also a private chef for some of the NFL’s biggest players and the woman single-handedly responsible for catering Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s 100% plant-based wedding menu, to name just a few of the notable milestones in her more than 15-year career. 

Aside from her roster of celebrity clients and an ever-evolving portfolio of mouthwatering vegan recipes, Morgan also coined the term “plegan”, which she uses to describe her particular brand of plant-based eating. She describes it as a way to “compassionately support people interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet”. 

If that sounds like you, you’re going to want to try out Morgan’s recipe for Nacho Average Nachos — a dish that’s entirely plant-based, loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients, and peppered with Morgan’s signature bubbly personality in the form of helpful tips for plant-based eating. 


Charity Morgan’s Nacho Average Nachos Recipe

Total Time: 10 minutes 
Yield: 8 servings


Ingredients for the queso: 

2 carrots, scrubbed and trimmed (no need to peel), coarsely chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, or 8 slices pickled jalapeño
2 garlic cloves
2 cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
2 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained 
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fine pink Himalayan salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Ingredients for the nachos: 



1 (16-ounce) bag tortilla chips
2 cups cooked beans (black, pinto, or red rinsed and drained, if canned), or refried beans, warmed
2 cups Walnut Chorizo (see recipe below), warmed
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
Optional garnishes: Pickled jalapeños, pickled or fresh sliced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and/or guacamole, Brazil Nut Sour Cream (see recipe below), grilled and diced pineapple (yes, so good!), sliced scallions (green and white parts)


Instructions for the queso:


In a high-speed blender, combine the carrots, chipotle chile, jalapeño, garlic, milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, and spices. Blend on high until completely smooth and the exterior of the blender is warm, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add the lime zest and juice and blend for 10 seconds. Taste for consistency and flavor. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. 

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to six months.


Tip: “I usually add 1 chipotle and 1 seeded jalapeño to the queso and it’s mild enough for even my kids. If you’re a heat monster, feel free to add more. For a deeper, more fermented taste, add 1 heaping teaspoon white miso paste.”


Instructions for the nachos:


Arrange half of the tortilla chips on a large sheet pan or platter. 

Top with half of the queso, beans, and Walnut Chorizo. 

Add the remaining tortilla chips, beans, Walnut Chorizo, and queso. 

Top with the lettuce, tomato, and any garnishes (if using). 

Serve immediately.
 

Tip: “Swap out tortilla chips for roasted potatoes to make “potachos” just like the ones you saw in The Game Changers. Mix queso with cooked pasta and cooked plant-based ground “meat” for an excellent stove-top taco mac flavored with taco seasoning. Queso is also great drizzled over roasted vegetables or loaded baked potatoes.”


Walnut Chorizo Recipe

Active Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 30 minutes 

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients: 

2 dried guajillo chiles
2 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder or chili powder
2 teaspoons fine pink Himalayan salt, or to taste
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves (omit if using chili powder)
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

Combine the guajillo chiles and sun-dried tomatoes in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover the peppers and tomatoes and soak for 15 minutes to rehydrate. Drain well.

Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and discard. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ancho chile powder, salt, cumin, paprika, oregano, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves (if using); set aside.

In a food processor, combine the soaked peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and garlic; pulse until coarsely chopped. 

Add the spice mixture, walnuts, and vinegar. Pulse until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed. 

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

*Walnut Chorizo can be used cold or warm.

“With the pronounced flavor of garlic, fruity dried guajillo chiles, and six different spices, this recipe delivers the same robust flavor and smoky edge as the classic Mexican sausage, plus on-point meaty texture due to walnuts and, surprisingly, sun-dried tomatoes. Walnuts have more ALA (plant-based omega-3 fatty acid) than any other tree nuts and are an excellent source of magnesium and protein, plus they add fat, which helps carry the flavors of all those delicious spices. It’s a flavorful, vegan, and raw (yes, you can get all this flavor without using a pan!) addition to any meal.”


Brazil Nut Sour Cream Recipe 

Active time: 5 minutes

Total time: 2 hours to 24 hours

Yield: About 3 cups 

Ingredients:

2 cups raw Brazil nuts, soaked and drained
1 cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt, or to taste

Instructions: 

Rub the soaked Brazil nuts between two clean kitchen towels to remove as much of the skin as you can, but don’t drive yourself crazy—Brazil nut skins are tough to remove, and the speckles in the sour cream add a nice natural touch. 

Discard the skins. 

In a high-speed blender, combine the nuts, milk, vinegar, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Cover and blend for about 2 minutes, or until super smooth and velvety.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until the sour cream firms up and is chilled throughout, 1 to 2 hours. Once chilled, you can use it immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

“This is one of the condiments that never lasts long in my home. Zesty and silky smooth, my kids love it with just about anything. Brazil nuts—actually seeds—are rich, buttery, and loaded with selenium, an essential mineral and antioxidant that maintains the basic functioning of the body’s immune system and is great for your skin and hair. So, if you need an excuse to eat more sour cream, here you go.”





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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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