I’ve been thinking about party snacks crowd-pleasing enough to serve during a New Years get together and came up with these vegetable-forward nachos. At this point in the holiday season, I’m pretty tired of over-indulgent food and have been leaning towards cleaner, simpler meals. I used sweet potato instead of tortilla chips here exactly for that reason, and I think most guests will appreciate that as well. These nachos are still comfort food and definitely reminiscent of the original, but much lighter, more nourishing and kinder to your bod.
I recently replaced my old, dull mandolin slicer with a new one and have been like a kid with a new toy these past couple of weeks. Most lunches have been composed of salads with tangles of paper-thin vegetable ribbons, and every bowl of oats or smoothie has gotten a crown of mandolined apples or persimmon. Needless to say, the purchase might have had something to do with the birth of this recipe, which happens to strongly encourage the use of a mandolin. I love how rediscovering a kitchen tool interweaves utility and nostalgia – basically my idea of fun.
There’s some controversy out there about making perfect oven baked sweet potato chips. What I’ve found is that they won’t come out perfect because home ovens aren’t perfect, and we aren’t perfect, but I do have a few tricks that will ensure a batch of delicious and crispy, imperfect chips. Those include using a mandolin for thin, even slices, giving the slices a soak in water to get rid of some of the starch, and brushing on the oil with a brush for even distribution.
I kept the nacho toppings pretty classic to offset the alternative chip choice – black beans and avocado for creaminess and substance, and crunchy things like red onion, scallions and radishes for some brightness. The vegan cheesy chipotle sauce is out-of-this-world delicious and simple, and if you don’t want to bother with making sweet potato chips, please give this sauce a try on regular tortilla chip nachos, I have a feeling you’ll really love it :)
Wishing everyone peace, health and warmth as we ring in the New Year!
- 1 very large or 2 medium sweet potatoes - peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin
- coconut oil - melted
- 1 cup cashews - soaked for 2-4 hours
- ½ cup purified water
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle spice/flakes or ½ to 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon miso
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 small garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon turmeric for color (optional)
- sweet potato chips (from above)
- 1 14oz can black beans or 1¼ cups home cooked
- ¼ medium red onion - diced
- 2-3 radishes - thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 2 scallions - sliced diagonally
- 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and chopped
- cheesy chipotle sauce (from above)
- 1 lime - quartered
- Soak sweet potato slices in a bowl with water for 30 minutes to decrease starch, for crispier chips.
- Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C) and position both oven racks in the middle of the oven. Prepare 2-3 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Remove sweet potato slices from water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Begin arranging sweet potato slices on the baking sheets, oiling each slice on the front and the back, using a pastry brush for best results. Distribute baking sheets between the two racks in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove baking sheets from the oven and flip over each sweet potato slice. Place back into the oven and bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour more, until crispy and lightly browned in parts. Take care not to burn the chips, check them after the initial 30 minutes and every 10 minutes thereafter.
- Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth. Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container.
- Prepare a rimmed tray or shallow dish for serving the nachos.
- Layer half of the chips at the bottom of the dish, followed with half each of black beans, red onion, radishes, scallions and avocado. Drizzle with the chipotle sauce. Layer the remaining chips on top, followed by the remaining toppings and more sauce. Squeeze juice of ¼ lime over the nachos and serve the rest of the lime quarters on the side. Serve more of the sauce on the side in a small bowl for dipping, if you wish. Nachos are best eaten immediately (which will be very easy!). The leftovers are still good, but the chips will loose crispiness after refrigeration.