Lauren Toyota's Lentil Chili Cheese Nachos

This is so good it has to go on my favorites list. It's another winner from  Hot For Food
This recipe does take some time to make, but it’s so worth it. Changes I made… increased the chili mixture, increased the nacho cheese sauce too. Add more taco seasoning because I found the lentil chill mixture a little on the bland side. Add more nutritional yeast-based on someone’s suggestion in the comment section. I reduced jalapenos and the pickled jalapeno juice dramatically in cheese sauce. Use cooked lentils please don’t use canned lentils they are always so mushy and lacking in flavor. Besides they only take about 20 minutes to cook, they can be cooking while you're preparing other things. I also decide to add a calorie option by making this recipe into a salad.

Package taco seasoning has a lot of salt in it, as does vegetable stock and tortilla chips. I’ve listed low salt options after them.

Nacho Cheese Sauce:

1 1/2 cup potatoes peeled, cubed & cooked, then cooled 
3/4 cup carrots, peeled, cubed & cooked, then cooled 
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any other light-tasting oil)
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp jalapeno pickling liquid, or more to taste
1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers, or more to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp sea salt

Put ingredients into a food processor. Slowly add some extra water to thin out the cheese sauce to your desired consistency. Then pour it into a small pot and heat. Pour over nachos when ready to use.

Lentil Chili:

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other light-tasting oil)
1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp celery seed powder
2 tsp garlic, grated 
1 package spicy taco seasoning + 2 Tbsp or 1/4 cup no salt homemade taco seasoning*
3 cups cooked green or brown lentils
1 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup vegetable stock or low sodium vegetable broth 
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper  

Other Ingredients:

tortilla chips (or crushed tortilla chips on a salad (posted below)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup green onions

In a large frying pan or wide pan heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, red pepper and celery for 3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add taco seasoning and garlic and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Then add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer for a couple of minutes, then reduce heat to low-medium and cook for 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep chill warm until ready to serve. Arrange platter with a layer of tortilla chips, layer with chili then add other ingredients then drizzle with nacho cheese sauce. Instead of a platter, you can do individual bowls. Serves 8

                                      Lentil Chili Salad

I have to say I saw a disappointed look on my husband’s face when I said we were going to have lentil chili as a salad instead of over nachos. Once he tasted it he said it was good. He still got to have some tortilla chips, just in a much smaller amount, crushed on top of his salad.

head lettuce, chopped
spinach, chopped
lentil chili, lightly heated
nacho cheese sauce, lightly heated
chopped green onions
tortilla chips, crushed

Going in the order above, spread out each ingredient, layering till done


Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix (no salt) 

1/3 cup chili powder
3 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder

Mix ingredients together.  Store the taco seasoning in an air-tight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.