So i asked my almost-6-year-old what she wanted for her Super Special Birthday Dinner. Her response: “Pizza Nachos!!!!”. Not quite sure what she meant (supporting details were not provided), so I took to Google to solve my problems.
I sought out a nacho cheese sauce that was vegan, and wasn’t greasy, gross (i.e.chunky) or fatty. The one I landed on – from the Hot for Food Blog – was made primarily from potatoes and carrots. A veggie victory! The recipe called for jalapenos, and I was slightly worried that the kids would find it too spicy. In the end, I actually found it could have used a bit more kick, so next time I’ll let loose. See here for a great homemade Pickled Jalapeno recipe.
As a vegan mom, my dream would be for my kiddos to eat a rainbow of veggies everyday. Believe me, I try (really, really hard). Alas, they are kids, and we struggle the same way that many families do with getting them to eat their daily recommended amount. Both my kids do love tomatoes, so they agreed on adding them to our Pizza Nachos (obviously any veggie will work here).
So, back to the nacho cheese sauce. Hiding veggies is often debated among parenting experts. I get it – kids should enjoy and appreciate vegetables for what they are. I remember heaps of criticism falling on Jessica Seinfeld when Deceptively Delicious (and the sequel, Double Delicious) came out. Naysayers felts that we shouldn’t have to “trick” our kids into eating healthy food. Some kids are actually down with veggies. I watch in awe as my niece sits down with a heaping bowl of arugula and veggies topped with goddess dressing. She devours it like it’s her last meal on earth. My kids are a different story. I want them to eat well, but there’s no way they’ll eat a pile of potatoes and carrots. Which is why this sneaky cheese sauce fit the bill. Potatoes are incredibly high in potassium, Vitamin B6, and dietary fibre. Carrots are a well-known Vitamin A powerhouse vitamin A, and also a good source of Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6.
The tortilla part of this recipe was a no brainer – I love Tostitos brand because they’re huge and hold the most amount of stuff (I’m a scooper by nature…all the toppings, all for me). I was devastated to learn that the Hint of Lime variety of chips – which have grown on me as my parents keep this permanently stocked in their home – is not vegan! I’ll save my rant about products unnecessarily relying on the dairy industry / animal agriculture and consequently contributing to climate change for another time). For now, Tostitos Original.
The kids loved the Pizza Nachos, and the grown ups did too. I’ll make this dish again as a late night snack for guests, as it’s super easy to pull together and so easy to change up based on food preferences and what’s on hand in the fridge.
1 bag tortillas
1 cup chopped veggies (tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, olives, brocolli)
1/4 cup vegan pepperoni or sausage (we used a Viana Organic Veggie Snack Sausage)
Nacho Cheese Sauce (from Hot for Food) – makes 1 1/2 cups
1 C peeled, cubed, cooked white potato
1/2 C peeled, cubed, cooked carrot
1/4 C sunflower oil
1/4 C non-dairy milk (can sub water)
2 tsp lemon juice
6 pickled jalapeño slices
3 tbsp jalapeño pickling liquid
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot flour/starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt
Peel, cube and boil the potatoes and carrots in pot of water for approx. 10 mins. Drain them from the boiling water and add to a high-speed blender (like a vitamix or blendtec) immediately. If you cook the potatoes for too long they will become starchy and your sauce will not be smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and combine until smooth. Your sauce may be hot enough to serve immediately or you can heat it up in a small pot to thicken.
Lay tortillas on a parchment lined baking sheet and warm in a hot oven for a few minutes. Top with desired veggies, and drizzle nacho cheese over top. Serve immediately and enjoy!!