Nachos are everywhere! Whether it’s the post-workday happy hour menu, adorning the coffee table during Sunday sports, or part of a table trend on TikTok, nachos are synonymous with good times and gatherings. So how do you still enjoy this crave-worthy layered dish when you’re opting out of dairy?
Mounds of ooey-gooey cheese are a must for nachos, and Vevan plant-based cheese makes these nachos melt to perfection. We’ll even teach you a trick for getting the best melt you can imagine for this delicious dairy-free nachos appetizer.
Are Nachos Even Nachos without Cheese?
When you’re adjusting to a lactose-free diet or going vegan, it can be a challenge to adapt all your favorite recipes to cut out cheese. And for a signature snack like nachos, cheese is essential—nachos are not nachos without the cheese! They were a main ingredient in the original recipe and still are today.
Who Invented Nachos and When?
As the story goes, Ignatio “Nacho” Anaya, maître d’hôtel of the Victory Club in Piedras, Mexico threw this now popular plate together in the 1940s for a group of hungry visitors who stopped in after hours when the kitchen had already closed. He resourcefully topped fried corn tortilla chips with Colby cheese and pickled jalapeño slices and baked them in the oven. Legend has it, the weary travelers loved them so much, they asked for more!
Today we see nachos with some pretty wild toppings, but cheese remains a key ingredient. Luckily, all those who have gone dairy-free can rediscover the flavors and dishes they’ve been missing with Vevan. All of our products are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and non-GMO.
Now that you know you can enjoy nachos WITH cheese again (we also suggest gluten-free tortillas in our recipe below), let’s figure out the key to great dairy-free nachos – the melt!
How to Melt Vegan Cheese For Nachos
Because Vevan was crafted by artisan cheesemakers, lots of attention was paid to authentic texture and the perfect melt! Our kitchen squad then spent the time figuring out a no-fail way to get dairy-free nachos just right every time.
But first, the age old question: should you make nachos in a microwave or oven? The original nachos were baked in an oven. Many afterschool snacks involve a quicker method – the microwave. Air fryers are becoming a popular prep method too! Our trick for achieving the perfect melt for dairy-free nachos involves not one, but two heating methods in these two steps:
HEATING STEP #1: First, place parchment paper on a microwaveable plate and arrange tortilla chips on top. Sprinkle Vevan Shred (our recipe calls for both P’Jack and Ched varieties), over nachos, then add a layer each of black beans and corn on top of the cheese. Please note: the layering is important to help keep the cheese from drying out or overcooking. Heat in microwave for 60 seconds.
HEATING STEP #2: Transfer the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and place on the lowest rack of a pre-heated oven at 375ºF. Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 6–8 minutes. As all ovens are a little different, keep a watchful eye on the melt so as not to burn the cheese.
Now you know the Vevan secret for melting cheese to perfection in dairy-free nachos. Olé!
What Goes on Nachos?
For our dairy-free nachos, we layer the cheese, corn, and black beans before heating. Once the nachos come out of the oven, we suggest immediately adding any and all of the following:
- Diced tomatoes – vine-ripened or Roma are our top picks, but grab what’s in the garden or on the shelves at the grocery store
- Sliced green onions/scallions – milder than regular onions, these add a pop of flavor and color
- Thinly sliced jalapeño – as the original recipe includes, jalapeño gives nachos that special kick; if heat is nacho favorite, be sure to opt for the green variety of this pepper which is usually mild and slightly sweet
- Diced avocado – avocados are rich in nutrients and healthy fats, making this dish heartier and more filling
- Cilantro – perhaps the most polarizing spice out there, sprinkle cilantro lightly, especially if you’re unsure of a guest’s preference
- Salsa – here’s where your recipe can be really versatile, based on what flavor you choose; err on the mild side once again if in mixed company
- Guacamole – because avocados weren’t enough, add a few dollops of guac to elevate your dairy-free nachos
- Black olives – like the scallions, these are in part for garnish/color and can be easily removed if unwanted
Are Nachos Healthy?
Depending on how nachos are prepared and topped, they can prove to be quite calorie-laden (especially when paired with cerveza or margs). But when following our Dairy-Free Melty Nachos recipe as listed here, you can feel good knowing this version of the popular appetizer is gluten-free, lactose-free, topped with lots of healthy veggies, and best of all – Vevafied!
DAIRY-FREE MELTY NACHOS
Dairy-Free | Vegan | Gluten-Free | Lactose-Free
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10–12 minutes
What You’ll Need
- 2 servings gluten-free tortilla chips (approximately 40 chips)
- ¾ cup Vevan Ched-Shred
- ¾ cup Vevan P’Jack-Shred
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small can (4 oz.) corn, drained
- Optional toppings: vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes, diced; green onion/scallions, sliced; jalapeño, thinly sliced; avocado, diced; cilantro; salsa; guacamole; black olives
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Place a single layer of tortilla chips on a microwave- and oven-safe plate. Sprinkle Vevan Shred, black beans and corn in three layers of each.
- Place nachos in the microwave for 60 seconds to reduce oven melting time. Remove from microwave and place on a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake 6–8 minutes, just until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and add toppings as desired before serving.