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Author Notes: I love making Indian food, and usually try to make enough for leftovers. Having said that, I had made a large pot of chana masala, and my husband and I had already eaten it for dinner and then, lunch the next day, and later - these nachos.
This recipe is fairly versatile, and even small additions or changes can make an impact on your tastebuds. Here are a few recommendations to add some variety to this dish:
- For a natural sweetener (in place of the sugar): Substitute caramelized onions for the sugar used in this recipe. To do so, chop it up or dice a small yellow (or even sweet variety) onion and caramelize in about 2 teaspoons mild flavored oil – coconut oil works great for this – over low heat. Stir it into the tomatoes when you add the chickpeas.
- For a bolder taste and heat: Increase the cumin by 1/2 teaspoon or even a full teaspoon and add some chopped cilantro at the end of cooking. Add some heat by stirring in a little Sriracha sauce or add a seeded and diced jalapeño pepper to the pan when you add the tomatoes.
- For a more authentic taste: Substitute sugar for caramelized onions (see note #1 - above) and add these and two smashed cloves of roasted garlic when adding the tomatoes to the pan.
- Topping ideas: sliced jalapeños, sliced scallions (green parts only), sliced pickled onions, chopped tomatoes, and/or sprouts
Chana Masala Nachos
- 3 large handfuls tortilla chips, divided
- 1 cup chana masala (recipe below)
- 2 handfuls shredded cheese (Note: I used a vegan cheddar cheese blend, but feel free to substitute with any full-dairy or no-dairy types out there, like: Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Cheddar)
- cashew cheese sauce (for topping; see last instruction below for steps on how to make this), optional
- Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking pan with cooking spray or a *touch* of oil. Evenly spread 1 and 1/2 handfuls of chips on the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/2 cup of chana masala, then, one handful of cheese. Next, repeat layers with remaining ingredients (except for cashew cheese spread): chips, chana masala, cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Make Cashew Cheese Sauce: In a blender, combine 1/2 cup raw cashews, 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup water, and salt and pepper – to taste. Blend until smooth. Makes about 1/2 cup. Next, take out 2 tablespoons, and thin with a bit of “milk” – do this by stirring in a teaspoon at a time until it reaches a pourable (Yogurt-like) consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Next, drop it by “dollops” onto cooled nachos.
- 1 Tablespoon mild-flavored oil (I used coconut oil)
- 3 cups chopped (fresh) tomatoes - with skin
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed then minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or other sweetener, like: agave)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala spice (store bought or homemade)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir well. Cover with a lid and cook for around 10-15 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to fall apart. Add sweetener, masala, cumin, and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. When the lid is lifted, there should it should smell fragrant, like a melded spice. You know it’s done when: (A) You smell the dish and can’t pick out the singular flavors or (B) You taste it and you can’t pick out the singular flavors.
- Set aside one cup to use in Chana Masala Nachos (recipe above). Serve the remainder with cooked rice or quinoa.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Hors d'Oeuvre