Who ever said that going vegan had to be boring or meant a lifetime of only lentils and leaves? Jason McNamara is the owner of The Kind Kitchen – a vegan comfort food café in Cape Town and shares a quick and easy cauli-power nachos recipe that is sure to hit the spot this Veganuary.
McNamara’s innovative and imaginative recipes reimagine even your guiltiest pleasures like a heart serving of nachos. To him The Kind Kitchen is not only the name of his restaurant or his recently published cookbook – it is a way of life. “We don’t have a Planet B to call home! This one is all we have, and we have the power to change the way we treat mother earth through the foods we choose to eat.”
McNamara is a vegan chef who studied at the Natural Epicurian School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas. Before opening the Woodstock café, he offered exclusive vegan dining experiences from his home and provided take-out meals for home delivery.
McNamara shares his recipe for Cauli-power nachos.
Who says fake-aways are exclusively meaty? If you’re looking for a wholesome appetizer with the appeal of ‘junk food’, this is a definite
“‘winner winner, no chicken in this dinner’ kinda meal,” says McNamara.
- Cauli-meat mix
- 2 fresh jalapeño peppers
- 500 g cauliflower florets
- 200 g whole walnuts
- ¼ cup (60 ml) oil (canola, olive, sunflower, or a blend)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- ½ tsp garlic powder or onion powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 packet (250 g) nacho chips (for homemade chips, see page 63)
- 1–2 cups Easy-Peasy Cheesy Sauce
- 2 cups grated vegan cheddar
- Pineapple Pico de Gallo and/or Chunky Guacamole, for serving,
1. Cauli-meat mix Char the whole jalapeños with a cook’s blowtorch, or over the open flame of a gas stove, or under the oven’s grill element. They should be just blackened, but not burnt. Cut in half and remove the seeds if you prefer less heat.
2. Place the jalapeños and the remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs, adding a little more oil if needed. (You may need to do this in batches.) Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes, then stir to combine and bake for a further 15 minutes, until it resembles the colour and texture of browned beef mince. Remove from the oven.
3. Scatter the nacho chips in a large ovenproof dish.
4. Spread the cauli-meat over the nachos, pour over the cheese sauce, top with grated cheddar, and return to the oven for 5–8 minutes, until the grated cheese is melted. Serve straight away, with pico de gallo and/or guacamole on the side, for dipping.
• For a more intense taste, use 2–3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of jalapeños.
• No time to make cheese sauce? Make a cheat’s version by placing 1 cup grated vegan
cheddar in a pot with ½ cup (125 ml) water or vegetable stock. Heat slowly, whisking, until