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Dairy-Free Weeknight Dinner: Sheet-Pan Nachos (no grain or gluten, either)

January 21, 2024

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I don’t like the term “food restrictions.” It just feels so… sad. And while there are certain things that people with food sensitivities and allergies have to accept (bread made from wheat has no equal — just the way it is), there are always foods that can step in and provide a delicious meal.

My wife and I were both craving nachos one evening, but I didn’t not want to make multiple versions (she has food restrictions, and I do not). Could I make one giant sheet pan of nachos, and we’d both enjoy it? Better yet — would our kids even eat them??

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The answers ended up being a resounding “yes!” and “YES!!” It starts off with my standard ground beef taco meat. My version is actually mixed with a lot of vegetables, but once it’s all cooked down, it’s just a flavorful protein and complex carb-packed filling for tacos, burritos, bowls, and nachos. I always make extra, and we pick at it for lunches and dinners for days.

Since my wife also doesn’t do grain, we opt for grain-free tortilla chips. There are increasingly more grain-free options, but my favorites are Siete brand or to just use potato chips (though that can get a bit heavy for nachos, so Siete is the choice 9 times out of 10). Though you want to eat pretty quick once assembled, as Siete chips that have been topped with things start to get soggy after awhile.

The “cheese” is a little trickier and took some testing. But I’ve landed on what I feel is a really great dairy-free nacho-style “cheese” sauce that is completely plant-based and free from grain-based thickeners.

Topped with a few classic toppings, this dinner comes together in less than an hour and totally tackles that craving for a good, classic nachos. So if you’re cooking for a mixed crowd, or navigating some new food sensitivities yourself, be sure to give this one a try!

Lime Bowl | Sheet Pan | White Plate | White Bowl

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4 from 1 vote

Dairy-Free Sheet-Pan Nachos (no gluten or grain, either)

This is an easy weeknight dinner you can make for a mixed crowd that will satisfy everyone's cravings. These are more nutritionally diverse than traditional nachos and friendly to a range of allergies.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Snack

Ingredients

  • 3 bags Siete dip chips or favorite brand of grain free tortilla chips

For the beef topping

  • 2 lbs ground beef I use 90/10 or 93/7
  • 1 large zucchini finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 bell peppers, any color finely chopped
  • 2-3 portabello mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 small bag cabbage slaw mix finely chopped
  • 2 packets Siete mild taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

For the "cheese" sauce

  • 1 container plant-based cream cheese Miyokos brand
  • 1 cup almond-based yogurt alternative check the label to make sure any thickeners are friendly to your specific situation
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream NOT cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Toppings

  • cilantro chopped
  • olives sliced
  • green onion chopped
  • pico de gallo
  • lime wedges
  • favorite salsa
  • iceberg lettuce shredded

Instructions

Make the beef

  • Place a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add a tbsp or so of olive oil, then add all of the vegetables for the beef topping. Sprinkle in one pack of the taco seasoning, the cinnamon, and black pepper. Sauté until most of the water is cooked out – 15 minutes or so.
  • Add the ground beef and break up evenly. Add the second pack of taco seasoning and cook thoroughly, until nearly all the water has been cooked out of the pot. Set aside.

Make the "cheese" sauce

  • Combine all of the cheese sauce ingredients in a bowl and beat together with a hand mixer until uniform and smooth. Set aside

Assemble the nachos

  • Turn the broiler on "high" in the oven. Using a deep-sided sheet pan, add a layer of tortilla chips – 1 1/2 bags – evenly spread out. Top with as much of the meat and sauce as you like. Add sliced olives and broil for 1-2 minutes until browning occurs.
  • Layer the rest of the chips on, topped with more meat and sauce and olives. Broil again for 1-2 minutes until browning occurs.
  • Add any toppings you want! I use cilantro, green onion, pico de gallo, salsa, and a squeeze of lime. I also put a layer of shredded lettuce on each plate and lay a serving of nachos over top. Enjoy it however you like!

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What do you think?

  1. Kiki says:

    4 stars
    This recipe is a godsend. I haven’t had nachos since I gave up dairy three years ago and this absolutely satisfied the craving–while being significantly healthier than most, thanks to all the veggies! It took me about 90 minutes of active time but I am a slow chopper. My only complaints are that this is a HUGE recipe, which made it more labor intensive and hard to fit into even my biggest pot. Lastly, the buying all the ingredients at New Seasons cost me $100. But some of that is par for the course with dietary restrictions. I think I may try broiling on low next time because the Siete chips do burn easily. Thank you so much for this nutritious twist on a classic comfort food!

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