They say that necessity is the mother of invention. If I believe that to be true – then our necessity was needing to eat dinner and the invention began with wanting cauliflower and seeing a half full jar of queso sauce and the idea of cauliflower nachos was born.
I fully know that I’m not the first person to think of this combination, especially since I took to the internet to get initial guidance and found quite a few recipes. I landed on the guidance on how to season and treat the cauliflower and then created the rest from what I needed to use up in the fridge.
The recipe was off of a vegetarian foodie site and called for nutritional yeast. I had not used that ingredient before, but ironically I had some on hand because about six weeks ago I came across a recipe that I wanted to try and that was one of the ingredients. Funny enough, I don’t remember what recipe it was for because we never opened the bag. It was meant to be that the first time we had it in a recipe, it was this amazing cauliflower nacho dish. I will not pretend to be an expert on nutritional yeast, but what I can tell you is that it adds a somewhat nutty, somewhat cheesy flavor to the dish.
Along with the use of the new ingredient, we had some fun, long red, orange, and brown peppers that were close to end of life and half a red onion left over. Instantly, I thought of fajita style sautéed veggies to go with it. Add in another yellow onion (because I love sautéed onions), copy cat of the cauliflower seasonings (minus the yeast) and I was on my way.
The rest came from the standards of what we have around the house – can of black beans, fresh chopped tomatoes and cilantro to finish it off. The first time we made this, we didn’t have any jalapeños (insert sad face here), so we went without, but I love the zip that the jalapeños give to any nachos, so it has been present in preparations since then.
I love the color from this dish – it is like a rainbow, if a rainbow is slightly spicy, a little cheesy, sweetly sauteed, crispy roasted with a dusting of fresh herbs and finishes surprisingly filling!
Our love for cauliflower continues with the tastiness of this recipe. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!
Roasted Cauliflower Nachos
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, divided into into 1/2″ size bites, approximately 4 cups
- 5 Tbls avocado oil, divided
- 1 fresh jalapeño, sliced into rings, seeds removed ~or~ 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
- 2/3 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 2 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup queso, warmed
- 1 Tbls fresh cilantro, diced
- 1 cup onion, sliced into straps
- 2 cups multicolored peppers, sliced into strips
- 1 Tbls nutritional yeast
- 3 tsp chili powder, divided
- 2 tsp garlic powder, divided
- 2 tsp onion powder, divided
- 2 tsp cumin, divided
- 2 tsp sea salt, divided
Preheat the oven to 425° and line a sheet pan with parchment. In a small bowl, mix seasoning for cauliflower: 1 Tbls nutritional yeast, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and salt.
In a large bowl, add cauliflower and coat with 2 Tbls avocado oil. Sprinkle cauliflower seasonings over the top and mix until cauliflower is coated. Pour out onto sheet pan into a single layer and roast in the oven from 20-25 minutes, until cauliflower forms a nice color.
While cauliflower is roasting, place a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the remaining seasonings of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and salt. In the same large bowl used to season the cauliflower, add peppers and onions, top with remaining avocado oil and seasoning mixture. When skillet is at temp, add peppers and onion to pan, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.
At the 20-25 minute mark, pull the cauliflower out of the oven. Top with black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, and shredded pepper jack cheese. If using fresh jalapeño, sprinkle those around the top now. Place back in oven for another 10-15 minutes until cheese melted and everything is roasted to your liking.
Remove from the oven, top with warmed queso cheese, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and the pickled jalapeños (if using pickled). Serve as is, or have sides of sour cream and guacamole.
Happy Roasted Nachos!!!
*Recipe is modification of vegan recipe from Two Spoons website.