Oven-Roasted Vegetable Nachos

Day PartDinner
Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeMexican

Lanette Dickerson
Executive Chef
University of California at Riverside

More often, college students are creating a lunch from an assortment of snacks or appetizers. Nachos are easy to mix and match with other nibbles to make a meal. This plant-forward version is loaded with roasted shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower and edamame and fits the dietary needs of vegans, vegetarians and dairy-allergic eaters.


Poblano pepita pesto
3/4 lb. poblano chilies
1 garlic clove
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, wash and use leaves and stems
4 oz. pepitas
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 avocado
1/4 cup tomatoes, core and dice 1/4-in.
2 tbsp. Spanish onion, peel and dice 1/4-in.
Sea salt, to taste

Vegan cheddar sauce
6 oz. dairy-free shredded cheddar
16 oz. soy milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, ground
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Oven-roasted vegetables
2 oz. cauliflower flowerettes
2 oz. roasted corn
1 oz. edamame
1 oz. poblano chilies
2 oz. shiitake mushroom
2 oz. olive oil
2 tsp. mesquite seasoning
4 tsp. sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Tofu cotija crumble
4 oz. firm tofu block
Sea salt, to taste

16 oz. tricolor corn tortilla chips                                                                       
2 oz. cheddar sauce
2 oz. oven-roasted vegetables
1 oz. guacamole
1/4 oz. poblano pepita pesto
1/4 oz. tofu cotija crumble


  1. Prepare poblano pepita pesto: Using a blender, add poblano chilies and olive oil and blend until smooth.
  2. Add garlic cloves and cilantro and blend until smooth again. Add pepita seeds and blend well; season to taste with salt. Place pesto in a squeeze bottle for service and hold in refrigerator.
  3. Prepare guacamole: Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Using a spoon, scoop avocado from skin and place in a small bowl. Smash avocado with a fork, then add tomatoes and onion and mix together. Season mixture with sea salt to taste. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Prepare cheddar sauce: In a 4-quart sauce pan, add soy milk and heat over low-med heat. Bring soy milk to a boil and reduce heat to low; start adding cheddar using a wire whisk stirring constantly until all cheese has been added. Add seasonings, taste and let cook until thickened, about 4 minutes.  Place sauce in container and hold at 135 F until service.
  5. Prepare oven-roasted vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 F. In a medium bowl, add vegetables and toss with olive oil and seasonings. Place vegetables on a sheet pan and roast in oven for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are slightly caramelized and tender. Remove from oven, place in container and hold at 135 F until needed.
  6. Prepare tofu cotija crumble: Remove tofu from packaging and drain water. Place tofu in a shallow pan with a drain rack in the bottom. Place paper towels on top of tofu and set another pan on top; place something heavy in pan if necessary to press all water out of tofu block. Cover with plastic wrap, label and date and put in refrigerator to let liquid drain for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Remove weight from tofu and place tofu in a small bowl and crumble with hands. Season with sea salt and mix well. Remove from bowl and place in an airtight container; hold in refrigerator until needed.
  7. To assemble nachos: Place 4 ounces fried corn tortilla chips on a plate or bowl. Top chips with 2 ounces cheddar sauce, then add 2 ounces oven-roasted vegetables. Drizzle 1/4 ounce pepita pesto across vegetables. Top with 1-ounce scoop of guacamole and garnish with 1/4 ounce tofu cotija crumble.

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