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Buffalo chickpeas add a punchy topping to vegan nachos

Joe Yonan

THE WASHINGTON POST – “We’re having nachos for dinner?” he asked.

“Yep,” I said. “Does that sound good?”


I was talking to our 13-year-old foster son, who’s been with us for a little over a month. Like the eight-year-old we had for six months before he left in March, he loves food – and how. My biggest challenge in the kitchen is keeping up with his appetite. No need to worry about “spoiling” dinner with a snack; he’ll devour both, want a cookie for dessert and ask for popcorn a half-hour later.

One night, I settled on this recipe for Buffalo Chickpea Nachos as a sly way of showing him that vegan cooking can be hearty and satisfying, and all went according to plan – until I used the only pepper sauce I had on hand, Tabasco. It’s so much hotter than the traditional sauce used for Buffalo wings, Frank’s Red Hot, that this seemingly simple swap rendered the dish largely inedible.

Burritos came to the rescue that night, and the kid got a kick out of telling us – and later, anybody within earshot – about the time “Joe really messed up some nachos”. The next night, I was back at Nova Scotia blogger Olivia Biermann’s recipe, this time with the correct sauce, and redeemed myself.

Buffalo chickpea nachos. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Obviously, this is just the thing for game night, whether that means the upcoming Super Bowl or the backgammon and Monopoly we’ve been playing since our foster son arrived. But before you make it, know that there are at least two other crucial choices beyond the Frank’s. First, start with big, restaurant-style tortilla chips. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, you want the right vegan cheese.

When I made the nachos with Frank’s Red Hot, the tart (and manageably spicy) chickpeas, gooey cheese and crisp bell pepper and scallions had us eating like teenagers, going back for seconds – and playfully fighting over thirds.

Active time: 15 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes
Four to six servings

Make Ahead: The Buffalo chickpeas can be cooked and refrigerated for up to five days.

Storage: Not recommended, but you can refrigerate for up to five days and use as the base for chilaquiles or migas.

One-and-a-half cups cooked chickpeas or one can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Half cup hot sauce
Quarter cup unsalted vegan butter
Half teaspoon garlic powder
Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper
10 ounces large, restaurant-style no-salt tortilla chips
Two cups shredded vegan cheddar cheese
One red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and chopped
Two scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the chickpeas, hot sauce, butter, garlic powder and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter melts, the mixture comes to a boil and the liquid slightly reduces, five minutes. Use a potato masher or fork to lightly mash the chickpeas. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Spread the tortilla chips on a large, rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Add dollops of the chickpea mixture evenly on top, followed by the bell pepper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the chips are starting to lightly brown around the edges, making sure they don’t burn.

Remove from the oven, top with the scallions and serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving (about 12 chips plus toppings), based on six | Calories: 503; Total Fat: 26g; Saturated Fat: 10g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1,121mg; Carbohydrates: 51g; Dietary Fibre: 7g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 9g