Anyone who has ever dined with me knows that I’m an omnivore who eats more vegetables than anything else. But on my doctor’s advice I’ve recently gone dairy-free, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to make favorite dishes without cheese, milk or cream. Additionally, I have many friends and family who are vegan, and when I cook for them I want to make dishes that are totally delicious. So vegan cooking is becoming more common in my kitchen, and it’s fun to discover a new cuisine.
Recently I purchased a copy of Vegan For Everybody, a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. It has many intriguing recipes and I love that they explain how they arrived at a particular set of ingredients or method…they tell you what they tried that didn’t work as well as giving you the recipe for what was successful. As a lover of nachos, I was especially interested in their Nacho Dip recipe, and made it for the first time tonight. It is potato based and totally yummy.
The nachos I made tonight used the Mushroom Walnut topping below, which is much like seasoned ground beef. I also topped the tortilla chips with the Nacho Dip, beans, avocado, and some fresh salsa. The Mushroom Walnut recipe is below – you’ll have to get this cookbook for the Nacho Dip….completely worth it.
I made the mushroom and walnut topping and the nacho dip in advance. The recipes made enough for nachos for four hungry people.
Vegan Mushroom and Walnut Nacho Topping
- 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked in lukewarm water for 30 minutes to soften the nut meats.
- 4 chopped scallions – white and green parts
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced or previously roasted
- About a cup of water, to be added gradually as detailed below
- 1 package baby Bella mushrooms, (usually about 8 oz) wiped clean with damp towel. (Don’t wash in water.)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast)
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon or to taste smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak walnuts in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes, then drain.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, put 3 tablespoons of water along with scallions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown…add more water if needed. Add the olive oil then take the pan off the stove while you prepare the walnuts and mushrooms.
- Put the walnuts and mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until they are cut into small pieces but not so much that they become a paste. You want them to resemble ground beef, not chopped liver!
- Add the mushroom/walnut crumbles to the pan along with the remaining ingredients and about 1/4 cup of water. Sauté stirring frequently for about six to ten minutes. Add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper.