So ... what do you call peanut sauce that's not yours?* (find the answer to this fantastic brain teaser at the end of the post)
I have to admit that this idea is not uniquely mine. I first had these (or very similar) nachos at Neato Burrito in Spokane. If you've never been there (and I'm guessing that not having been will be the norm), it's a very nice spot in downtown Spokane. Derek was flying into Spokane for a visit, and I drove there to pick him up. While we were still in the planning stages of the visit, I searched Urbanspoon for a vegan-friendly place for us to have lunch/dinner (lunch for me, dinner for Derek .. timezones are a bitch!). I landed on Neato Burrito for its good reviews online and the promise of a mission-style burrito (which I haven't had in MONTHS!). However, after staring at the menu for an inordinate amount of time, I finally asked the man behind the bar what was on the vegan nachos. He replied that the vegan nachos were his favorite thing on the menu, so naturally that's what I ordered! They did not disappoint - tortilla chips covered with peanut sauce and thai veggies, the dish was surprising and filling. I really enjoyed it (too quickly to take a photo), and the idea stuck in my head.
Fast forward a month or so to Friday evening. I'm walking through the grocery, trying to decide what to buy, what to eat for dinner, what to do with my life (yes, it was a fairly existential trip to the grocery)! I saw a bag of tortilla chips and instantly remembered these nachos .. could I recreate the nachos I'd enjoyed so much in Spokane? Of course! So ... long story long, I made them at home, and you can, too! Here's how you can try it out for yourself. I'm sorry that this isn't really a recipe, but who needs a recipe for nachos? You can follow my lead and wing it :)
inspired by vegan nachos at Neato Burrito
Black beans (or pinto, garbanzo, even white beans)
Your favorite peanut sauce
Your favorite thai-ish veggies, cut up all small-like (cabbage, carrots, peppers, green onions, bean sprouts, lightly steamed broccoli! the sky is the limit)
Sriracha, if you're super cool like me
Warm your beans while you make peanut sauce.
The idea of my favorite peanut sauce is pretty fluid .. this time, I blended together peanut butter (obviously), garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili paste, and water (to thin it) until very smooth. You want your peanut sauce to be thin enough to plop it right onto some chips, but not so watery that it will make your nachos soggy.
Cut up some vegetables to top your nachos - I used napa cabbage from my CSA, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, red jalapeno, and green onions. Mung bean sprouts or steamed broccoli would also be good, as would cilantro. I think you could throw on anything that is cut small and amenable to thai food.
I like to warm up my chips, so I put them on a pan in my toaster oven at about 350* for 7 minutes. Some of them got fairly well browned, but that's how I roll .. you roll your way; I won't judge.
Put your chips on a plate. Top with peanut sauce, then add on vegetables. Throw some black beans on top (chickpeas would also be very good here), and add a swirl of sriracha.
Hold on to your socks, because they are about to be knocked off.
I never would have thought of peanut sauce as a cheese substitute on nachos, but it so works. Have you tried a food combination that sounded strange at first, but ended up being genius?
*Nacho Thai ... okay, it's a stretch, but a delicious stretch - seriously. Try it!