Ancho Lentil Bowls with Low-fat Cashew Nacho Cheese

This is one of the best meals we’ve had in awhile! It’s so good, I’m trucking the kids to the store in the morning to make it again for a party tomorrow night. No joke, it’s that good!

Ancho Lentil Bowl with Low-Fat Vegan Cheese

I’ve made the Ancho Lentils a few times now and they’ve always turned out great. The original recipe (from Post Punk Kitchen) is for Ancho Lentil Tacos but you could use this on just about anything – tacos, burritos, nachos, collard wraps, etc.

I have a ton of fake cheese recipes but this Lowfat Nacho Cheeze from Happy Herbivore is my new favorite! Together they make an awesome meal! I served it over brown rice tonight but next time I’ll try these ingredients in a collard wrap. YUMMY!!! I also topped this with tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, sliced avocado, a squeeze of lime and our favorite Habanero Sauce, our favorite Mexican food topping!

P.S. Our toddler loved this! I took out a scoop of the lentils before I added the hot sauce, figured she may not like it so spicy.

“Um… Mommy… What is this?”

“Mmmmm! I like it”

“Hey there sis, this banana is kinda boring… wanna share?”

Ancho Lentils

* 1 Tbsp water or bean cooking liquid (for oil-free sautéing)
* 1 small onion, minced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried) – Brown or green work great. I used a package of Trader Joe’s cooked lentils this time
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 tablespoons hot sauce (preferably Cholula)

Spice mix:
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

First combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. Also, keep a cup of water within reach, you’ll need to add splashes as you cook.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in the water or bean liquid with a pinch of salt (optional) for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.

Lower heat to medium, add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this, just use a fork or a potato masher (I used this).

Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if it appears dry. Taste for salt and seasoning; you may want to add more spices or hot sauce. And that’s it, time to serve!

Time to make some Ancho Lentils! I cheated this time and used Trader Joe’s packaged lentils ;-)

Saute your onion and garlic then add spices

Cook spice and onion/garlic mixture for 30 seconds then add remaining ingredients… smells so good!!

Ready for tacos, nachos, burritos, on top of rice or anything else you can think of!

Low Fat Vegan Nacho Cheese

  • ¼ cup raw cashews – I soaked mine for a few hours first
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup non-dairy milk – I used unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp yellow miso paste
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup roasted red bell peppers
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • a dash of cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occassionally and allowing the cheese to thicken.

Combine all ingredients in your food processor, combing until smooth


Heat in a pan on the stove until thick, stir occasionally

Yah!! Ready to dollop on your favorite Mexican food!


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  1. So, when does your son get to try some of this? He looks like he REALLY wants some!!! LOL!!

    • Doesn’t he?! In a couple months, he will be ready!!

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  4. Jessica Reply

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! We have been trying different plant-based recipes for the last two months or so and my hubby said this was in his top three favorites. We like chunky queso, so I sauteed onion, serrano pepper, and red pepper and added the blended cheese mixture to the pan to thicken. It was awesome! Thanks for the recipes and photo instructions!

    • That sounds so good!! What a great idea, I’ll be trying that FOR SURE!! Thank you!

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  6. Molly Reply

    I made only the lentils 2 nights ago and the entire family loved it. Our somewhat picky 4 year old and 19 month old kept wanting more!! Definitely will make this again!!

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  8. Hey! I work as a vegan personal chef and my clients RAVE about this recipe! such a great way to bring meat eaters over to the light side!