Salted corn chips topped with melty cheese, meaty lentils and a bright salsa with spicy jalapeñopeppers, our ultimate fully loaded nachos are the perfect meatless dish for your game day lineup. Trust us, you won’t even miss the meat.
When we think of game day, whether it's the Super Bowl, a Friday night in with the Toronto Raptors or a night out at a bar with the Maple Leafs, our lineup of dishes usually involves Jalapeño Poppers, Burgers, Fries, and of course, nachos. Who doesn't love nachos? Especially fully loaded nachos with layers of warm tortilla chips topped with spicy meat, stringy cheese and all the fixings from fresh guacamole, to cool sour cream, and rich salsa — and jalapeños, never forget the jalapeños.
But for most game day dishes, meat is the MVP (you know, the star quarterback, point guard, or guy at centre ice). From beef sliders, to chicken wings, and turkey chilli, there really isn't a meatless option. But the beauty of nachos (aside from eating it with our hands) is that it makes for the ultimate vehicle for replacing the meat with high-protein lentils.
Why Replace Meat with Lentils?
Substituting meat for lentils doesn't mean substituting ingredients for flavour. While cooking with lentils is inexpensive and super simple (rinse, simmer, serve), they're also a great source of fibre, protein and minerals like folate and iron. But our favourite part about cooking with lentils is the versatility and meal prep options that come with batch cooking.
When making these nachos, cook up a large portion of lentils seasoning with your favourite taco spices and add it to a range of dishes from lentil tacos, chilli or burritos; leveraging your Mexican flavour profile while incorporating your remade lentils into them is a great way to meal plan for busy weeks ahead. Plus, when cooked they can be refrigerated for a week or frozen up to 3 months. But let's get into how to make these bad boys, shall we?!
How to Make Loaded Nachos with Lentils
Ingredients to Make Lentil Nachos
Onions, garlic, mushrooms, green lentils, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, beef stock (or vegetarian), olive oil, salt and pepper, tortilla chips, Monterey Jack or medium cheddar cheese, green onions, jalapeño peppers, guacamole, sour cream.
Cooking Lentils for Nachos
Cooking lentils for our loaded nachos is much different than if using meat. It just requires a little additional time and liquid. Start by heating a deep skillet on medium-high heat with olive oil. Once heated add diced onions and cook for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, cooking an additional 30 seconds before dumping in the sliced mushrooms. Allow everything to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, allowing the mushrooms to cook through.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, stir in the lentils, then add the chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix so that everything is well coated in the spices, then pour in the beef or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed.
How to Layer Nachos
Once your lentils are cooked, it's time to layer. Layering is the key to ensuring each tortilla chip is loaded with toppings and baked with cheese. Grab your favourite skillet and cover the bottom with your tortilla chips. Next, sprinkle a handful of grated cheese over the chips, top with your lentil meat mixture and tossed jalapeños or salsa. Then you repeat until you reach the top of the skillet, sprinkle another generous handful of cheese over the top and a few more jalapeños, for good luck of course.
Once you're done layering, it's time to bake. Have your oven preheated to 400°F. Place the skillet in the centre of your oven and bake until the cheese is melted, and bubbly. The chips should be just starting to brown.
What to Serve with Our Loaded Nachos with Lentils
Serve with a side of guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges. And what you're left with is salted corn chips topped with melty cheese, meaty lentils and a bright salsa with spicy jalapeño peppers, our ultimate fully loaded nachos are the perfect meatless dish for your game day lineup. Trust us, you won't even miss the meat.
Chef Sous Chef
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Loaded Nachos with Lentils
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 ½ tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups beef or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bag nacho chips
- 2 cups freshly grated cheese monterey jack or medium cheddar
- 2 spring onions sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup spicy guacamole for dipping
- ½ cup sour cream for dipping
- No. 1 | Preheat oven to 400°.
- No. 2 | Heat a deep skillet to medium high heat with olive oil. Add onions and saute until they start to become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for 30 seconds then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until mushrooms have released their liquid. Stir in the lentils, then add the chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix so that everything is well coated in the spices, then pour in the beef stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed.
- No. 3 | To assemble the nachos, place a layer of nacho chips on a sheet pan or skillet. Sprinkle the cheese so the nachos are evenly covered, then spread the lentils and salsa over the cheese. If doing multiple layers, add another layer of cheese, then lentils, and salsa. Top the final layer with a light sprinkling of cheese, jalapeno slices, and green onion. Bake for 20 minutes, until all the cheese is melted and starting to bubble on top.
- No. 4 | To serve, place a large dollop of spicy guacamole and sour cream directly on the nachos for dipping.
Great recipe! I love the use of lentils in place of beef. I didn't expect to like this as much as I did.
Chef Sous Chef says
Thanks Kyle. We agree, the lentils are a nice change.
Chef Sous Chef says
This looks like a nice recipe and I'll be trying it out for dinner tonight but as a vegetarian, I'll have to make one change. Just to point out the obvious: How is this meatless if it uses BEEF stock? It's no problem to use vegetable stock instead, but beef stock does actually contain...you know...beef.
Chef Sous Chef says
Thanks so much for the comment. The recipe works great with vegetable stock as well (you can even add a splash of soy sauce to add a meaty flavour). We used beef stock in the recipe to provide an authentic beef flavour without the actual meat. We know that beef bones and scraps are used to make stock, which is why we don't mention it being vegetarian, but understand if you don't consider the recipe meatless. Thanks again for the comment and please let us know how it turns out with the vegetable stock.
Lots of beef stock doesn’t contain beef
Chef Sous Chef says
Hi Manda. Thanks for the comment. There are definitely a lot of products out there that aren't what they claim, but we prefer to be on the safe side. 🙂
This was so so good. The texture of the mushrooms was perfect with the lentils and really made it feel like we were eating meat. We’re keeping this recipe on hand for sure! 👌
Philip + Mystique says
Thrilled you enjoyed the recipe Savannah! We love using mushrooms for a meaty texture and flavour. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂