Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vegan Black Bean Nachos And . . .

Happy Second Blogaversary to me!!

On February 19th!

And I missed it!

Happily, the reason I missed posting that day, and since, is that my son Jeffrey arrived and is here for 2 weeks to lay the kitchen and bathroom tile and finish up painting the rest of the downstairs rooms.

This is a wonderful thing. Not only to have him here for all this time, which is the BEST thing a mom could want, but to get the tile and painting projects done by his professional self, which is the second best thing a mom could want.

And because Jeffrey is vegan, I'll be bringing my very limited repertoire of vegan recipes to this blog to share with you. I'm already learning so much from him. Like TVP, or textured vegetable protein. Who knew this could taste (almost) like meat? I certainly didn't. I'll be trying it out in a stuffed portobello mushroom dish this week as well as in a rich tomato sauce over polenta. Tips and recipes welcome!

Beginning at the most elemental level, I made vegan nachos last night, using Follow Your Heart Nacho Cheese. Heated on the stove with a small amount of soy milk added, this cheese substitute melted reasonably well into a pourable nacho sauce. Very impressive!

I'm going to give you the recipe as I made it, but please read the Cook's Notes at the bottom of this post for some tips on how I'd do it over again.

Vegan Black Bean Nachos
Christine's original recipe with tips from Jeffrey
1 large bag white corn tortilla chips (you may not need all of them for this)
1 can organic black beans, drained
1 small can diced green chiles
2 10-ounce packages
Follow Your Heart vegan nacho cheese alternative
3 tablespoons
VitaSoy Original Soy Milk (see Cook's Notes)
Baked Tofu Vegi Patties, crumbled (made fresh daily right here in Humboldt county!)
1 small can sliced black olives
4 small ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 of a ripe avocado, diced small
4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

Prheat oven to 350 degrees.Spray a 9x11-inch rimmed baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
Break the vegan cheese into small pieces, or cut into small cubes, and place in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the soy milk (see my notes below) and stir until cheese is completely melted and of a pourable consistency.
Place a layer of tortilla chips on the baking sheet and cover them with 1/2 of the black beans.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the diced green chiles over the beans.
Pour 1/2 of the cheese sauce over this layer.
Repeat with the rest of the tortilla chips, beans and chiles then top with the crumbled vegi patties and the remainder of the cheese sauce.
Sprinkle the sliced olives over the top and bake in the oven until piping hot.
Remove from the oven and cut into serving portions.
Plate each serving with tomatoes, green onions and avocados sprinkled over the top.

Cook's Notes:
What I would do if I made this again: leave out the soy milk and use a tablespoon of
Earth Balance or olive oil. I think the soy milk thinned the cheese a bit too much, resulting in a few soggy but very tasty tortilla chips.