Fall is by far my favorite season for one reason, and one reason only; the food. Sure the trees are beautiful, and the chilled crisp air is refreshing after having survived through the blistering heat that accompanies August -but let’s be honest, there is nothing more exciting about fall than the flavors it brings. Pumpkin spice everything appears everywhere, and tons of butternut squash recipes and warm dishes composed of maple and cinnamon flavors fill our instagram feeds. As the weather begins to cool, we see warm pastries begin to pop up everywhere, and we don’t feel as bad about eating these delectable desserts because we’re not going to be in our bikinis for almost a whole year. Essentially fall is comfortable. For me, fall is most exciting because as the season progresses, the vegetables change, leaving consumers such as myself who are conscious about seasonal harvests excited for the various fruits and vegetables that can be harvested during this time of year.
Actually, nearly everything can be harvested during this time of year. We begin by picking tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini and Swiss chard. Then it’s time to harvest root veggies and squashes such as beets, potatoes, radishes, pumpkins, parsnips, butternut squash, acorn squash and spaghetti squash. Finally as it becomes colder, we begin to harvest leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and kale. There is so much variety to this season, and so much potential for the creation of beautiful dishes.
For you today I have the ultimate comfort food with a twist of fall. This dish is all natural, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, and the perfect starter for any fall party or Thanksgiving.
These nachos are nothing to feel guilty about. Piled with plant protein, healthy fats, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals, these nachos are extremely nutrient dense and will leave you feeling full for a long period of time. Why is it better to consume plant based nachos? Simply put, these nachos are more nutrient dense, meaning that you will be consuming less calories while consuming a lot of nutrients. They don’t contain any cholesterol, animal protein, casein, or unhealthy fat. These nachos aren’t made with any chemicals and do not contain any preservatives. They contain ample amounts of copper, magnesium and folate. They also contain iron, just about 70% of your daily value to be exact. They are heart healthy, they promote digestion, and they contain unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrates. The best part? -they taste even better than regular nachos.
Ingredients: (Total time 30 minuets)
- 1 cup butternut squash cubed
- 1 bag of your favorite Tortilla chips. (I used Siete Grain Free chips)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 2 avocados *
- 2 Slices Follow Your Heart vegan smoked gouda cheese
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1/4 red onion diced *
- 1/2 lime *
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped*
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp ground mustard seed
- 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup cashews
- Optional * buy fresh pico de Gallo to add to nachos
- Pink salt (or regular salt)
- black pepper
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 1 tsp cumin *
- 1 tsp paprika *
- 1 tsp chilli powder *
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) *
- Spiraled sweet potato / beets and green castlevatrono olives *
*= see notes below
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil (trust me it will make your life easier) Spread butternut squash on baking sheet. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minuets or until soft. (no oil necessary)
- While the squash is baking, following package directions cook quinoa on stove. Once cooked, set aside. The quinoa will act as your ‘ground meat’
- While quinoa and squash are cooking, make guacamole. Cut avocados in half and scoop avocado into a small bowl. Mash avocado. Add diced red onion, cilantro and juice of 1/2 lime. Salt to taste.
- Once butternut squash is cooked, remove from oven, but leave oven on because you will need it again for the quinoa.
- Add 1 cup butternut squash, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, cashews, almond milk, ground mustard seed, and 1 tsp black pepper to a high speed blender or food processor. Salt to taste after because this will force you to use less salt.
- Blend until smooth, creamy, cheesy texture forms (about 2 minuets)
- Set cheese sauce aside. When quinoa is complete, scoop about 1/2cup-1cup quinoa into a bowl. Add BBQ sauce, cumin, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, chili pepper, and a pinch of black pepper to quinoa and mix until combined.
- Line baking sheet with a new piece of aluminum foil and spread quinoa mixture evenly on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F until crispy (5-10 minuets)
- While quinoa is baking, heat a medium sized skillet to medium heat. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Add chickpeas to skillet. Add maple syrup and 1 tsp salt. Cook until chickpeas become crispy.
- Once quinoa is done baking. Layer everything on a plate. Begin with one layer of chips. Add quinoa, chickpeas, and cheese sauce. Repeat this process 2-3 more times. Then add other toppings as desired. *
- Ingredients 15-18 can be substituted for 1 packet of taco seasoning.
- You can always substitute avocados, red onion and cilantro for pre-made guacamole, but I find that fresh homemade guacamole always tastes better.
- Spiraled sweet potatoes and beets, and castlevatrono olives are completely optional. I used them as decoration, but they do add a little extra flavor and crunch.
- For direction 11: if you find that you’re meal prepping and the ingredients become cold, layer the ingredients on a baking sheet and bake the nachos in the oven to reheat them. Only add the toppings such as the guacamole, pico de gallo and spiraled sweet potato or beets after you bake the dish. No one likes hot guacamole.