This is my all-time favourite dinner. When I first discovered nutritional yeast I was pretty excited, but that was nothing compared to when I found out how make it into a supremely cheesy sauce — using mostly potatoes and carrots?! It sounds mad but seriously, try it. Plus it takes the guilt factor out of eating a huge plate of melted cheese. See ya, raclette.
Lately I’ve been trying to source as much of my food as possible from organic British growers. Pesticides (variations of which are used to make nerve gases and bombs) are what is behind the prediction that some of our soils have only 30 to 40 years of harvests left.
We’re only just starting to clock their effect on our health, and they’ve certainly killed wildlife and even people in farms around the world. We absolutely depend on wildlife as part of the ecosystem to grow food, so at some point our chemical addiction has to be addressed or we won’t be able to grow anything to feed ourselves.
Getting an organic veg box is an easy, delicious way to help, and I’ve started ordering organic pulses online from Hodmedod’s, who are bringing back some really great ancient British peas and grains.
So here’s my recipe for nachos with vegan cheesy sauce, cajun black badger peas and a green chilli coriander salsa.
** The black badgers need to be soaked overnight **
For the cheese sauce
- 125g carrot (approx. one)
- 250g potato (approx. one big one)
- 125ml water
- 75ml olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 25g nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves of garlic
For the nachos
- 6 tortilla wraps
For the black badgers
- 200g dried black badgers (carlin peas) or black beans
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 large onion
- 6 tbsps vegetable oil
- 2 tbsps paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
For the salsa
- 3 small green chillies, go for the variety that suits you for hotness
- Bunch of coriander, about 30g
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 4 tbsps water
- Pinch of salt
- Squeeze of lime juice
Spring onions, jalapenos, sweetcorn, tomato, limes — but try to go for what’s seasonal! Spring onions are good at the end of winter.
1. Soak the black badgers overnight in plenty of water. Rinse and cover again with water plus 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, bring to the boil then turn the heat down low and cover. Cook for 40-60 minutes until soft.
2. Meanwhile, start on the cheese sauce. Peel and roughly chop the potato and carrot into same-sized chunks and boil for 15-20 mins until soft. Don’t overcook or the sauce will go floury!
3. Drain then blend the potato and carrots with the rest of the ingredients, using a hand blender or nutribullet. You could mash it but the garlic would need to be crushed into a paste.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ 390F/ gas mark 6
5. To finish off the beans, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions over a fairly high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add all the herbs and spices, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked beans and fry until everything is really crispy. Add any more salt, spices, herbs or oil to taste along the way, the black badgers are great for taking on flavour.
6. Cut the tortilla wraps into triangles and bake in the oven on trays for 10 minutes. Try not to overlap them too much or they won’t crisp up as well.
7. For the salsa, blend all the ingredients together, or chop really finely omitting the water.
8. Assemble — start with the nachos, add the cheese sauce, then black badgers, salsa and any extras. This would also be great reimagined as wraps for packed lunches.