Vegan Nachos with Pickled Fennel and Cashew Queso

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vegan nachos


As the chef behind the ultra-instagrammable, healthyish De Maria in New York City, Camille Becerra knows a thing or two about tasty trends. At her previous restaurant, Café Henrie, she initially developed these vegan nachos for her staff—and they demanded she put in on the menu. Flavored with nutritional yeast, the cashew queso is a super-satisfying substitute for the real stuff, while the quick-pickled fennel adds a lovely tartness and crunch to the dish.  

Vegan Nachos with Pickled Fennel and Cashew Queso
Makes 4-6 servings

1 fennel bulb
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
¾ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
Kosher salt
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
1 can black beans, drained
Chile powder
8 to 10 ounces tortilla chips (1 medium bag)
2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup Pico de Gallo (see below)
2 cups Cashew Queso (see below)

  1. Make the pickled fennel: Halve, core and thinly slice the fennel (use a mandoline if you have one). Transfer it to a jar or bowl. In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture over the fennel and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the pickles until ready to use.
  2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork until chunky, then season to taste with salt and lime juice. Pour the beans into a bowl and season to taste with salt and chile powder.
  3. Arrange half of the chips on a serving platter. Scatter some fennel pickles, avocado, beans, radishes and pico de gallo over the chips. Drizzle with some of the queso and repeat to make a second layer. Serve.

Pico de Gallo
Makes 2 cups

1 cup diced tomatoes (about 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes)
¼ cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with salt. The pico de gallo can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Cashew Queso
Makes 2 cups

8 ounces raw cashews
4 cups water
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
¾ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt

Place the cashews in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and pour it over the cashews. Let the cashews soak for 15 minutes, then drain; reserve the soaking liquid. In a high-powered blender, combine the cashews, garlic, turmeric, yeast, vinegar and salt. Add 2 cups of the soaking liquid. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes, thinning with more water if needed (the sauce should have the texture of melted cheese).

    nacho toppings