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Easy Vegetarian Nachos Recipe with Creamy Cheese Sauce

Easy Vegetarian Nachos Recipe | Umami Girl

Oh hello, junk food dinner that’s actually packed with vegetables and fiber! If you’re looking for an easy vegetarian nachos recipe that’s teeming with flavor and is arguably almost gourmet, look no further. With creamy cheese sauce, tangy cilantro sauce, savory refried beans and a gorgeous array of brightly colored vegetables, this giant tray of nachos is equally at home on game day or when you want a regular family dinner to be a little more fun than usual.

That, and it’s on the table in half an hour. I think I’m in love.

I know it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and some of you demure folks may not be so hungry. Tuck this recipe away for later, then. Pin it on Pinterest, maybe. But for every person who’s full all day today, I’ll bet there are two of us who will have some rebound hunger by 3 or 4 p.m. at the latest. So. Nachos.

Easy Vegetarian Nachos Recipe | Umami Girl

One note: I bought two avocados to slice overtop of these beauties, and then, because LIFE, I forgot to use them. Avocados would be great with this. But then, what wouldn’t they be great with?

Enjoy the holiday weekend if you’re fortunate enough to have one. If not, at least you can have nachos for dinner. Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx

P.S. Affiliate links follow.

P.P.S. Umami Girl no longer supports post comments, but I’d love to hear from you and am always happy to answer reader questions. Please feel free to contact me!

Easy Vegetarian Nachos Recipe with Creamy Cheese Sauce

Listen, I put this huge tray of nachos in the party food category on the blog, but I won't lie. We eat them for dinner once in a while when the mood strikes. I could make excuses, but I won't. Just look at them and you'll know why we do it. Hope you love them too.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans vegetarian refried beans
  • 16 ounces strong tortilla chips
  • 1 4-ounce can mild diced hatch chilis
  • 12 ounces fresh chopped tomatoes, any kind
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced


In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and let bubble for about a minute. Pour in the milk, whisk until smooth, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until quite thick. Off the heat, stir in sour cream and then grated cheese. If cheese doesn't fully melt, you can help it along over low heat, stirring constantly. Stop when it's just shy of fully melted and let the residual heat do the rest so the sauce doesn't break. Set aside to cool slightly.

Wash and dry the cilantro and trim off the very bottoms of the stems. In a high-speed blender or a food processor, combine cilantro (leaves, stems and all), olive oil, lime juice and salt. Process until smooth.

In a medium bowl, pour the lime juice and a sprinkle of salt over the cabbage and massage a bit with your hands to tenderize cabbage.

Arrange the tortilla chips on a large platter or rimmed baking sheet. Heat the refried beans in the microwave until nice and hot, then dollop over tortilla chips. Pour the cheese sauce overtop, then sprinkle on the cabbage, hatch chilis, tomatoes and red onion. Finish by drizzling with cilantro sauce. Serve immediately.


Recipe Notes

*Substitute a good gluten-free flour blend to make this recipe gluten-free

2 reviews

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Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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