Whether you’re gearing up for game day or prepping for one of the many award shows this winter, these vegetarian nachos are a surefire way to get the title of MVP for the night. Loaded with two types of cheese—cheddar for flavor and Monteray Jack for its meltability (yep, that’s a word!)—these vegetarian nachos are surprisingly bright thanks to thinly sliced radishes, heirloom cherry tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and a handful of spicy pickled Fresno chiles. Pinto beans and refried black beans add even more texture, making this the perfect protein-packed snack.
Related Reading: Bake a Beer Dessert for Game Day
The bulk of the time here is spent pickling the Fresno chiles. If you want to save time, I recommend making them in advance so you can pull the whole thing together in under 20 minutes. If you want to skip the pickling process, you can just use thinly sliced fresh chiles for a bit of heat.
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Nonstick Baking Pan, $10.86
The Key to Great Nachos
The main differentiator in good versus great nachos is how many toppings you get in every bite. Make sure to create layers of tortilla chips, cheese, and beans, ensuring that every chip is smothered in the good stuff even as you get to the bottom of the baking sheet.
The Principles of Quick Pickling
When you think of pickling, you may think of tedious canning equipment and hours spent in the kitchen. The joy of quick pickles is that they can be made in minutes—no special tools required! All you need is vinegar, salt, and sugar. My go-to is quick pickled red onions in apple cider vinegar, which add a sweet and salty kick to anything you put them on. Once you’ve got a standard quick pickle down, try experimenting with different aromatics. Some great options are smashed garlic, dill, lemon rinds, coriander seeds, and ginger. Quick pickles last in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
Vegetarian Party Nachos Recipe
Pro tip: No one will complain if you serve extra sour cream and guac on the side.
- 10 cups tortilla chips
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 cups shredded Monteray Jack cheese
- 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 16 ounce can refried black beans
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 3 scallions, green parts thinly sliced on the bias
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves, torn
- Zest of 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Add a layer of tortilla chips to a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with both cheeses, pinto beans, and refried black beans. Continue to layer the ingredients, making sure the top layer is covered in cheese.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Top with dollops of sour cream, tomatoes, radishes, avocado, scallions, cilantro, lime zest, and pickled Fresno chiles. Serve immediately.
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
- In a small pot, add the water, vinegar, salt, brown sugar, black peppercorns, and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the sliced Fresno chiles. Let cool to room temperature for at least one hour. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Header image by Alexis deBoschnek.