The BEST Vegan Nachos

These loaded vegan nachos are the best because they’re plant based, healthy nachos that are so flavorful no one will miss the meat!

Vegan nachos | Healthy nachos | Loaded gluten free nachos

Turns out Alex and I are into nachos. Clarification: we’re into healthy nachos. Or, nachos with a healthy twist? Healthyish? Pick your favorite word for a recipe that’s a whole food, from scratch, lighter take on comfort food, and that’s what we love. There’s our grilled nachos, made on the grill in a cast iron skillet. And our Greek nachos that use pita chips as a base. There’s even tater tot nachos, made with our homemade tater tots! But these vegan nachos are our new favorite! They star our very favorite new vegan nacho cheese recipe and are quick and easy to make once you have a few components on hand.

Related: 15 Best Lentil Recipes | How to Cook Lentils

Video: How to make vegan nachos (2 minutes!)

How to make healthy vegan nachos

Nachos is a pretty loose concept, so there’s no “perfect” way to make vegan nachos. And in this case, healthy nachos are nachos that are healthier than normal, using lots of fresh plant based toppings and homemade sauces. Making these loaded nachos is very simple once you have made up a few of the components. Here are a few of our secrets:

Start with organic corn chips.

Chips are where issues with processed ingredients can come into play if you’re not careful! So, for healthy vegan nachos we suggest buying organic corn chips that have only 3 ingredients: corn, oil, and salt! Look on the back of the package to determine whether your chips fit this description. Another way to get around processed chips is to make your own! We have a great recipe for homemade tortilla chips.

Load on the lentils or beans.

The topping for these nachos is from our popular Instant Pot recipe, these smoky lentils and rice. The fantastic thing about this lentils recipe is that it makes a big pot that you can use in different ways throughout the week! We used them in our Instant Pot tacos, and then agreed that nachos would be another great fit!

Don’t have an Instant Pot? No problem! Use our Lentil Taco Meat instead. If you’re running low on time, make our Refried Black Beans recipe: they take only 15 minutes to whip up! Or you could pop some refried beans right out of a can.

By the way, if you have a bag of lentils to use up, we’ve got lots of tasty recipes to choose from! Try our Best Lentil Recipes or Top Vegan Lentil Recipes.

Drizzle with nacho cheese!

This vegan nacho cheese recipe is so delicious and simple to make: and it tastes way better than the plastic store bought nacho cheese! It’s made simply of cashews and a few spices. Another option: try our Spicy Chipotle Sauce. Other toppings you might want to try: Pickled Radishes or Pickled Jalapeños, which add a nice zing.

Vegan nachos | Healthy nachos | Gluten free nachos

When to serve vegan nachos

These healthy vegan nachos are a perfect gameday appetizer for watching football — just don’t mention the word healthy! We’ve found that if you call something “healthy,” people automatically expect certain things from it. Even vegan is a negative buzzword for some people in our family! However, everyone in the family can enjoy these vegan nachos: vegan doesn’t have to sound lofty, unattainable, or tasteless! The experience of these nachos is like any other: except that it leaves your body feeling good, instead of the typical gut bomb of salt and fat.

Vegan nachos | Healthy nachos | Gluten free nachos

Looking for more vegan recipes?

Here are some of our favorite vegan recipes!

This vegan nachos recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, plant based, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

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Vegan nachos | Healthy nachos | Gluten free nachos

The BEST Vegan Nachos

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


These loaded vegan nachos are the best because they’re plant based, healthy nachos that are so flavorful no one will miss the meat!




  1. Make the Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice or Lentil Taco Filling. Before serving, make sure the lentils are warm (reheat them if made in advance).
  2. Make the Vegan Nacho Cheese.
  3. Seed and dice the tomato. Mince the red onion. Thinly slice the green onions. Chop the cilantro. (Or, make Salsa Fresca for topping.)
  4. To serve, place the chips on a plate. Top with lentils, tomato, red onion, green onion, Vegan Nacho Cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce.


*Note: The timing for this recipe assumes that the Lentils and Rice and Nacho Cheese are made in advance.

  • Category: Main Dish, Appetizer
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Nachos, Nacho Cheese, Vegan Nacho Cheese, Vegan Nachos, Lentils, Rice, Cilantro, Healthy Nachos, Gluten Free Nachos, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    September 3, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I went through a phase in middle school where all I wanted for lunch on the weekends was a giant plate of nachos. Oh, if only I had had this healthified, even more beautiful version! Can’t wait to try this recipe! xx

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