This is probably not authentic Texan cuisine but it is really good, good for you and uses nacho cheese as a salad dressing! The nacho cheese is nut-free and the soaked sunflower seeds make a great creamy dressing like cashews do, but at a fraction of the cost. Read all the directions before you start making this dish since the sweet potatoes have to go into the oven before the tempeh, and the tempeh needs to marinate prior to baking.

Big Ol’ Texas Bowl With Nut-Free Nacho Cheese [Vegan]

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Cooking Time



For the Nut-Free Nacho Cheese:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 2-8 hours (see notes), drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho or chipotle powder
  • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons warm water

For the Barbecue Tempeh:

  • 8-ounce package of tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish or smoked paprika
  • 6 tablespoons any hickory store-bought barbecue sauce of your choice

For the Salad:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and cut into thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, diced finely
  • 5-6 green kale leaves and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons lime or lemon juice massaged together to soften the kale.


To Make the Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a wide shallow baking pan, whisk the tamari, oil and paprika together until combined. I cut my tempeh into 8 triangles but any shape you like will do. Set the tempeh into the marinade for 20 minutes, flipping once.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the sweet potatoes into wedges and toss in the cumin, oil and salt. Transfer to prepared line baking sheet, leaving some room in between the potatoes. After the tempeh has been marinating for 15 minutes, add the potatoes to the oven since the potatoes need a little head start on cooking. Bake the potatoes for 5 minutes and then transfer the tempeh to the lined pan and place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Flip the potatoes and place back in the oven. For the tempeh, brush the barbeque sauce onto each triangle, flip and brush with sauce and place back in the oven for another 7 minutes.
  5. Once the tempeh is fully cooked, the barbeque sauce should bit sticky and a little dry. While the tempeh and potatoes are cooking, prepare the veggies and make the nacho cheese.

To Make the Nut-Free Nacho Cheese:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a high power blender and blend until completely smooth. It should be a little bit warm to the touch.

To Make the Salad:

  1. Divide the kale between two serving bowls. Add the rest of the ingredients including the sweet potatoes and tempeh, drizzle with the nacho cheese dressing and serve!


Quick soak method: In a small pot, boil water (an amount to completely cover the sunflower seeds), add the seeds, cover and take off heat. After 1 hour, they should be very soft and ready to blend. You will have extra leftover nacho cheese but I never fret over this since it even tastes good in the grooves of celery stalks.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 1711 | Total Carbs: 145 g | Total Fat: 93 g | Total Protein: 82 g | Total Sodium: 5042 g | Total Sugar: 34 g Per Serving: Calories: 856 | Carbs: 73 g | Fat: 47 g | Protein: 41 g | Sodium: 2521 mg | Sugar: 17 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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