Healthy Nacho Salad

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Who isn’t a fan of nachos? Nachos are a tasty meal, however they do tend to comprise predominantly of corn-chips, and then smothered in cheese and sour cream, which even if using the vegan versions isn’t usually very healthy.

This nacho salad brings a fresh, healthier way to enjoy the flavours of nachos, while also providing plenty of protein from the beans, and using nut cheese for a more nutritionally dense alternative. The combination of textures in this recipe is a real winner, and with the crisp lettuce, crunchy corn chips, juicy tomatoes and soft nut cheese you are sure to find this dish far more than just a ‘boring salad’.


Nacho Salad
Serves: 2-4.
Preparation time: 10-20 minutes. Prepare the cheese and bean mix beforehand for a super quick and easy assembly at meal time.

Ingredients

Bean Mix

*1 can black beans, kidney beans or pinto beans
*½ tsp cumin

Nut Cheese

*1 cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour (you could also use macadamia nuts)*
*Juice of half a lemon
*Salt and black pepper
*Water as needed

Other Ingredients

*Salsa (Jenson’s organic is tasty or make you own)
*Corn chips (preferably organic as corn is a frequently genetically modified. I used purple corn chips which is why it’s hard to see in the photo against the beans)
*Lettuce or mixed salad greens (I used lettuce, rocket, beetroot greens and fresh parsley)
*Olives, tomatoes, capsicum, red onion, corn, avocado or any other yummy additions

Method
1. Prepare the nut cheese first – drain and wash the nuts and place in a high speed blender with the lemon juice, salt and black pepper and a little water. Blend until smooth adding more water if the blender protests or as needed. You want the consistency to be as smooth as possible and similar to ricotta cheese or a thick hummus dip.
2. Prepare the beans – rinse and drain then add to a bowl with the cumin spice. Roughly mash with a fork or the back of a  spoon until combined – you can leave some beans whole for more texture or smoosh them all.
3. Wash and chop other vegetables eg. lettuce, tomato, capsicum, olives.
4. Assemble the salad! Do this in layers:

-One layer of lettuce
-Top with some of the bean mixture
-Add veggies
-Roughly crumble corn chips and add on top
-Add spoonfuls of salsa
-Add blobs of nut cheese

You may wish to do a second layer adding more lettuce, and then the other ingredients finishing with nut cheese and salsa.

* If you are using a high speed blender such as a Vitamix as I did, you don’t really need to soak the cashews. Place them dry in the vitamix, and blend on high speed for about 10-20 seconds, they should form a powder instantly which helps get a smooth texture faster when you then add the water.

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