WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Condiments

Vegan Nachos with Vegan Queso Fundido Sauce & Tofu Chilli / Chorizo

Dairy Free, Condiments, Dips + Spreads, Gluten free, Recipe, Sides, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle coppermanComment

I’ve never really been the sort of person to order nachos in a restaurant, but recently, at my new favourite place in NYC, Jajaja Plantas Mexicana, I did. I love a creative vegan / plant-based / healthy spin on conventional recipes, and so was tempted by these fully loaded vegan nachos. And they were, in my opinion, better than any diner-style, grease-ridden nacho fare you’ve tried before. And more functional and nutritious too! Just hear me out.

This recipe involves plant-based variations of common nacho toppings, such as cheese (which is replaced by a cashew and vegetable based cheese sauce) and meat (which is replaced by a vegan, tofu-based alternative). This is such a simple recipe, really, and you can customise it in as many ways as you like, in terms of the variety of toppings you use. I love to keep it relatively simple, opting for cubed or mashed avocado, this incredible queso fundido sauce, and either meat or a vegan alternative. You could also add black beans, homemade refried beans (basically just pureed or mashed pinto beans with a few spices), sour cream or vegan sour cream, chillis, homemade tomato salsa; I could go on and on.

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This recipes genuinely takes about half an hour to make and assemble. The queso fundido probably takes the longest, as theres cooking time factored in for the vegetables involved, but most of the hard work is done by the blender. The tofu ‘meat’ is super quick and simple, and then all you’ve got to do is whack it on top of a bunch of tortilla chips, or better yet, serve them in separate bowls and let those eating with you pick and mix their own toppings.

You could also serve this queso fundido cheese sauce and tofu chilli / chorizo ‘meat’ with tortilla wraps, adding salad, rice or other grains and vegetables to make a burrito-style dish. Or, serve them in a bowl with salad leaves and brown rice or other grains, for a more filling meal.

iBuen provecho!

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Components

1 bag tortilla chips
1 ripe avocado, cubed or mashed
Fresh coriander
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

For the Vegan Queso Fundido Sauce

1 large carrot, chopped
150g potato, cubed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon juice from a fresh lemon or lime
8 tablespoons nutritional yeast (can substitute this for vegan cheese or conventional cheese, for non-vegan)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tamari
75g raw cashews
150g-200g unsweetened plant-based milk (or water)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional
1/2 teaspoon garlic and / or onion powder
A few handfuls of vegan cheese (or conventional cheese for non-vegan)
1/4-1/2 fresh red chilli or 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder or chilli flakes

For the Tofu Chilli / Chorizo

1 tablespoon coconut oil, olive oil or sunflower oil
200g firm tofu (could also use tempeh)
100g mushrooms, diced into tiny pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional
1/2 fresh red chilli, diced

Method

Start by making the queso sauce.

Bring the potato and carrot to the boil in a medium saucepan over a high head. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the potato and carrot become soft, but be careful not to overcook them, as if the potatoes become too soft and starchy, they won’t blend as well.

In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon or lime juice, nutritional yeast and / or vegan cheese or conventional cheese, apple cidre vinegar, turmeric, paprika, coriander, tomato puree, mustard and tamari and sauté over a medium heat. Stir to combine and then add the cashews and finally your plant-based milk of choice. Stir continuously to combine and simmer until the potato and carrots are cooked.

Then, add the potato and carrots to the frying pan mixture, remove from the heat and stir a final time to combine.

Transfer to a high speed blender and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then blend for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Blend on the highest speed possible and, if necessary, add a splash more oil, plant-based milk or some boiling water to help the ingredients to run through the machine smoothly. Blend until the mixture becomes a thick liquid texture with absolutely no lumps. Depending on the strength and speed of your blender, this could be up to 4-5 minutes.

Once you are happy with the consistency, transfer to a bowl and set aside. You can either place in the fridge if you plan to serve cold, or leave at room temperature and heat up in a saucepan before serving. If using the extra vegan cheese or conventional cheese from the ‘optional’ ingredients list, transfer the blended mixture back into a saucepan and add the cheese. Stir over a medium heat to combine, until melted. If using vegan cheese or conventional cheese, I’d suggest serving it hot, as it may tend to solidify as it cools.

Next make the tofu chilli / chorizo. Simply heat the oil in a frying pan and then crumble the firm tofu into the pan, using your hands. Crumble the tofu until it makes a consistency similar to mince meat.

Next, add all of the remaining ingredients to the pan, and stir to combine. Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes, until the tofu begins to brown and toughen slightly.

Remove from the heat and either keep in the pan if you plan to top the tortilla chips with it, or transfer to a bowl if you plan to serve on the table.

Finally, arrange the tortilla chips on a plate and either serve all of the components individually on the table, or top the tortilla chips with the toppings, as desired. I added the cubed avocado first, then the tofu chilli / chorizo, and then the queso fundido sauce (either chilled or heated through). I’d also add a dollop of smashed avocado and a handful of fresh coriander, as final garnishes. Now would be the time to add any other toppings, too, such as black beans, refried beans, sour cream, tomato salsa, etc, or work the ingredients into burritos.

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Creamed Pistachio Nut Butter

Anytime, Recipe, Vegan, Condimentsdanielle coppermanComment

Just chiming in with a quick recipe I tried impulsively this week. I saw a dry, doughy looking version in Wholefoods and felt inclined to try to make my own, in a more creamy, runny and user-friendly way. Combining it with other nuts and seeds makes for a creamier result, and is also cheaper to make. I’ve been enjoying this on porridge, as a dip for fruit and I’m about to try it on toast too. You could also add it to hot or cold drinks, smoothies or savoury meals, to add an earthy, nutty, creamy taste and texture.

Components

100g pistachios
150g cashews
20g sunflower seeds
20g pumpkin seeds
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoons olive oil

For a vanilla variation, add

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, powder or paste
A dash of sweetener
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or more olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 150c and spread the nuts and seeds onto a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer immediately to a food processor, adding the salt. Blend on a high speed for about 10 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides whenever necessary. Once smooth and glossy-looking, add the oil and if making the vanilla variation, add the vanilla, sweetener (if using) and extra oil, with the machine still running. Blend for a further few seconds, and add a little more oil if the mixture begins to thicken and stiffen a little.

Pour into a glass jar or airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.

+ Enjoy as a spread for toast, a dip for fruit or veg, a base for cake icings or creams, a topping for porridge or other breakfast bowls, and extra for smoothies or other drinks or added to savoury meals like soups, stews, dressings or sauces.

Vegan Aquafaba Mayonnaise

Anytime, Condimentsdanielle coppermanComment
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I just wanted to chime in with a V quick and easy yet mind blowing and magical recipe which I think you all kind of need. I have an almond & cashew and an avocado mayonnaise recipe in my book, but this I wish I had discovered and experimented with before I wrote my book as it really deserves to be in there. This recipe is way simpler, cheaper, easier, lighter and smoother than the other recipes (which are still delish don't get me wrong) and requires only 6 ingredients and under 2 minutes of your time. It will make the perfect condiment to accompany your picnics and barbecues this summer. The search for the greatest vegan, plant based, all-natural mayonnaise is over. You're welcome.

Components

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smooth / dijon mustard or mustard powder (optional)
60lm of the water drained from a tin of chickpeas (known as Aquafaba - what a fun new word)
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
180ml sunflower oil (plus more if needed)
A generous pinch of himalayan pink / sea / rock salt
You can also add a few drops of natural syrup, if you are used to a slightly sweeter flavour

Process

Simply measure all of the ingredients apart from the oil into a tall container / jug. Using a hand blender / immersion blender, blend for around 45-60 seconds, until frothy. Then, very gradually, begin to add the oil whilst the blender is still running. Add the oil slowly, bit by bit, making it last for around 1-2 minutes. Lift the blade out of the mixture from time to time to allow air to circulate and for an even blend. Once all of the oil is used up, you should have a fully emulsified result; a thick, creamy and smooth mayonnaise with a glossy texture. If you want it even thicker, add up to 60ml more oil (you really shouldn't need to though).

Season with extra salt, lemon juice or vinegar, to taste.

+ If you don't have an immersion blender, you can do this in a standard blender too. I haven't tried it but I'm sure it will work fine. It might be wiser to double the measurements in order to give your blender more to work with. I sometimes find if the blender isn't full enough, it doesn't blend so effectively.

Store covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.