September 28, 2020 by Nicole Collins
I feel like that's about where I'm at these days thanks to our recent #MeatlessMonday endeavors.
I really never realized how easy (or fun) it was to plan meatless meals as a normal part of each week's meal plan. But the deeper we get into this, the less I miss the meat.
Could I go vegetarian permanently? No. Well, not yet anyways.
Actually, no. I love seafood WAY too much to ever give it up. But, maybe there's room for a pescatarian lifestyle in my future.
I feel like we could feed today's recipe to the world's biggest carnivore, and they wouldn't miss the meat one little bit. In fact, if I were a gambling woman, I'd bet on it. That's how amazing today's recipe is.
Today, we're making Lentil Nachos!
Let's talk about all of the things that are amazing about this meal. 1. It's such a low cost meal. We're using totally humble and relatively cheap ingredients, and we're able to feed a CROWD. 2. All of the ingredients that we're putting into today's recipe are pretty healthy. We're using protein rich legumes. We're making a preservative free homemade seasoning. And we're using lots of fresh, nutritious produce. 3. This tray of food is GORG. If we eat with our eyes first, our eyes are completely satisfied. Look at all of those colors. And, last but not least...4. NACHOS. No explanation needed on that one.
Nachos are traditionally pretty hearty thanks to the loads and loads of beef or chicken that you usually see piled up on them. But, we're using lentils as our meat replacement today. Lentil are crazy cheap, maybe $1-2 per pound, and they're a blank canvas. So to flavor our lentils, we're going to use a can of tomatoes with chilies and a little homemade taco seasoning made with mostly pantry staples. Throw everything in a pot with some water, and let the lentils simmer for about an hour to absorb all of that delicious flavor.
While the lentils are becoming nice and plump and flavorful, we can prepare our toppings. Here's the thing about nachos. You can put whatever you like on top in whatever quantities you want. You like things spicy? Add some jalapenos or canned green chilies. Don't like avocado? Skip it. Love sour cream on every darn chip? DO IT. But in my opinion, when it comes to nachos, the more the merrier. You know what I'm saying?
When the lentils are cooked through and perfectly al dente, we're going to use them to top some store bought tortilla chips. Spread the chips on an oven safe tray (a baking sheet is great for this), pile on the lentils, and give the whole thing a good sprinkling of cheese. Pop the nachos base into the oven so the cheese can melt and the chips can get a little crispy, then we can get working on the cold toppings.
I added one of everything to these nachos. We have some lettuce and tomatoes. We have some radish and red onion. We have some creamy avocado and sour cream. One. Of. Everything. The lentils have a little tiny kick to them from the taco seasoning; but if you can take the heat, like I said, feel free to invite some jalapenos to the party.
When it's time to get that perfect bite, here's what you'll taste. The lentils give you the flavor of a ground taco meat while giving you a texture that almost reminds you of the black beans that you sometimes see in nachos. Then, you have the pops of freshness from all of the veggies. And, the sour cream makes the bite in my opinion. It's my favorite part of a nacho situation. And because of the way things spread out on the tray, every bite is just a little different but equally as delish!
And, bonus. These nachos aren't just for celebrating Meatless Monday. It's game day season, you know. And this is the perfect offering for meat and meatless lovers alike. Talk about one delicious compromise!
Ok, everyone. If there's anything you want to see us make for Meatless Monday, let me know!
Until then, let's eat!
Serves: 8 Print
1 cup lentils, rinsed (I used green lentils)
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies (like Rotel)
1 ½ cups water
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
8-10 cups tortilla chips
8 oz pepperjack cheese, shredded
½ cup shredded lettuce
1-2 radishes, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges, for garnish
Add tomatoes with chilies, water, all spices, and lentils to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer lentils for 1 hour until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Give the lentils a stir, and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange tortilla chips on a baking sheet or oven proof serving platter. Top chips with ¾ of the shredded cheese, then top with lentils, and then the remaining cheese, making sure to spread all over the chips. Bake for 7-10 mins until the cheese is melted and the chips start to turn golden brown on the edges.
Top the lentil nachos with lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, red onion, and avocado spread all over the surface of the nachos. Garnish with sour cream, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired. Serve immediately!
*These can easily be made vegan by substituting the pepperjack for a dairy free cheese and skipping the sour cream.
*If you're not serving all of these at once, wait to assemble the nachos with all of their toppings until you're ready to serve. The lentils can be made in advance, refrigerated, and quickly reheated in the microwave when ready to serve.
*8 servings is a lot! The lentils freeze really well, so you can totally freeze half of the lentils in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Just thaw them in the fridge the night before you're ready to have them again.
*Nachos are like a work of art. You can top them with as much or as little as you like. And, you can top them with whatever you like. The lentils are the “meat” for our nachos, but the world is your oyster when it comes to the rest. So feel free to make adjustments to any of the toppings listed.