Kat Barry: Vegan nachos and more hot peppers

Published 5:34 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

Last week I shared with you a little about my love of hot peppers. While I shared a great recipe, I really wanted to get share more, but I simply didn’t have the room. This week, I’m going to devote pretty much this whole piece to just sharing great recipes featuring hot peppers. The first is a nacho and cashew cheese sauce recipe that really wows the crowd. It was featured in the Daily Meal last year as one of the best vegan nacho recipes around. I’ve always loved nachos so coming up with a delicious dairy free recipe was a must. The nacho sauce can be used in a variety of ways, such as a filling for stuffed peppers, or poured over enchiladas.
The second recipe is for a creamy hot pepper herb salad dressing that works really well just tossed on greens or with pasta salad. Not only does it feature a selection of the season’s best hot peppers, but it also utilizes all of the amazing fresh herbs we have available this time of year. Do not hesitate to change out the peppers or the herbs for what you have available. Also, vegan mayonnaise has become a lot easier to find, but if you can’t find it, you can blend silken tofu and soymilk together in a blender or a food processor for a similar result. You may need to add more lemon juice and salt, but I think the end result will still be a pretty solid dressing. I was completely obsessed with this recipe the end of last summer and beginning of last fall. I felt a bit of a void when the season came to an end. I hope you will give this one a shot, adding a little vegan heat to your basic dinner salad. As I mentioned last week, you can always seed and cook the peppers first to tone down the spicy factor.

Creamy Hot Pepper and Herb Dressing

Yield: about 10 oz

1 cup Veganaise or other vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped heirloom hot peppers
(maybe use a little less if going with a really hot variety
like Georgia flames or Ghost peppers)
2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Toss with salad or pasta. Store remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Because of the fresh herbs it really won’t last much longer than a week.

Not so Naughty Nachos

About a half bag organic tortilla chips
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn thawed, or fresh corn cut from the cob
¼ cup red onion finely chopped
2 fresh jalapenos or other heirloom hot peppers, sliced
1 ripe avocado cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 large heirloom tomatoes cut into ¼ inch pieces
1 recipe vegan cashew nacho sauce
¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
¼ cup green onion

Place cashews in a small mixing bowl and cover with water. Let soak about 30 mins while you prep the veggies for the nachos. Prep all veggies except for the avocado; save that for last so it doesn’t brown.
Place all nacho sauce ingredients, including cashew water, in a food processor or Vitamix and puree until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a saucepan, heat on stove over medium low heat stirring frequently to prevent sticking and burning.
Meanwhile, start to assemble your nachos by place a bed of chips on a serving platter. Cover with black beans, corn, red onion, jalapenos, tomatoes, and avocado.
Pour a generous amount of hot cashew nacho sauce over chips and toppings. Garnish with fresh cilantro and green onion. Serve with a side of El Yucateca green sauce and a cocktail.

Cashew Nacho Sauce

Serves 4*

1 C raw cashews
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic
1 ¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp dry mustard
Dash of dried onion
1 tsp turmeric
Dash red cayenne pepper
Four fresh jalapenos, chopped
4 oz pimentos, drained and chopped
Splash rice or almond milk