We all have our weaknesses when it comes to food. Am I right? The weakness is usually the one food that you know you shouldn’t be eating, but find oh so irresistible, that you just can’t say no. It’s the food that every now and then, even though you know you may pay for it later, you will indulge in for that moment of sensory pleasure. Heck, you may even have more than one food that makes you feel this way.
My number one weakness has always been nachos. There’s just something about the gooeyness of the cheese, the spice of the salsa, the cool creaminess of the avocado, and the crunchy saltiness of the chips that make my tastebuds flutter. Just reading about nachos on a menu gets me salivating like no other food can do.
When my overall desire to eat healthier got in the way of indulgences like this, my occasional foray into a plate of nachos became less and less frequent. (And trust me! Corn chips are harsh enough on a normal digestive system that they can be brutal for anyone suffering from IBD or IBS. Just think about scraping your knee and instead of rubbing aloe on it to heal, you use sandpaper.)
Of course, it’d be inhuman to think that I don’t give in every now and then. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I am eating perfectly healthy 100% of the time. Anyone who has seen my instagram feed knows that I like to enjoy what I eat, within reason. It did get me a while to get to this point, but these days as long as I am eating clean 80-90% of the time, it allows me that extra 10-20% to satisfy a craving, without too much physical (or emotional) repercussion.
Whenever I can enjoy a healthier version of a favorite “treat food”, I nearly dance with joy.
With Super Bowl just a day away and the thought of all the fried, greasy, salty, spicy foods that tend to come along with it, it’s peaked my desire for nachos even more. After seeing Jackie of veganyackattack.com post a recipe for Buffalo Chickpea Nachos, I was done for!
I knew I needed to create a healthy vegan nacho version of my own that would be game day friendly. I had sweet potatoes on hand and thus I was inspired. You can be healthy and have your nachos too!
Vegan Sweet Potato Nachos
What You’ll Need for Toppings
1 medium avocado or guacamole
Salsa (recipe follows or use your favorite)
Vegan Sour Cream (recipe follows)
Vegan cheese (use your favorite, or make a cashew cheese using recipe below)
Black or pinto beans (seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, coriander, a dash of salt and cayenne and a splash of lime juice)
For the “chips”
1 large sweet potato or yam, thinly sliced
1/2 Tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon each – ground cumin, onion powder, smoked paprika
large pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine everything in a bowl and toss to coat potato slices. Lay in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on each side, until crisp, watching so that they do not burn around the edges. I recommend checking every 5 minutes or so and rotating the baking sheet.
Arrange sweet potato chips on a plate, or an oven safe dish.
Sprinkle shredded vegan cheese, or pour cheese sauce over chips. If you are using a cheese that requires melting, place in oven for 5 to 10 minutes until melted.
Remove from oven. Scatter black beans over the plate, spoon some salsa on as well. Finish it off with sour cream and avocado or guacamole, then garnish with green onions and cilantro.
Cashew Sour Cream and Cheese Sauce
Makes about 1 Cup
1/2 Cup cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes
1/2 Cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine milk and vinegar let sit for about five minutes. Add milk mixture, nuts and salt to a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if needed for a thinner consistency.
To make cashew cheese sauce, divide the sour cream and set some aside. Keep remaining cream in blender and add a couple tablespoons more milk, 1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, another 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle and a dash of cayenne and blend until smooth.
Easy Roasted Tomato Salsa
Makes about 1/2 Cup
2 medium roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic
juice for 1/2 a lime
1/2 jalapeno, or 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (adjust to your heat level)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut tomatoes into quarters and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in oven while roasting the sweet potatoes, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until softened and browned on bottom. Transfer to food processor or blender, along with remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency is reached. I like mine smooth, but you may choose to pulse instead of blend to keep it chunky.
What are some of your food weaknesses? Do you have a healthy go to alternative?