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These cheesy Lentil Nachos are a super fast and tasty snack or meal that can be made from pantry staples. Personalize your batch of vegetarian nachos with your favorite toppings and ingredients.

Tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, lentils, and green onions

Yep, these are meatless nachos. And they’re incredible! They’re not flashy, they don’t involve making a fancy cheese sauce, or adding a bunch of toppings.

Instead, these are a down and dirty quick snack or dinner that everyone from carnivores to vegetarians are going to LOVE! Even better, they’re a cinch to make, bonkers affordable, and are made with pantry and fridge staples.

Let’s Talk Lentil Nachos Toppings

I kept it simple with shredded cheese, cooked lentils mixed with Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning, shredded cheddar (medium Tillamook), limes, salsa and sour cream on the side.

If you’re looking for a delicious pourable cheese for this recipe, check out our Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce recipe.

This isn’t sponsored in any way, but if you can find Juanita’s tortilla chips in your market, BUY THEM! They’re our absolute favorite. The ingredient list is super minimal and the flavor is fantastic. And they’re local which makes me love them even more.

If you have a can of olives to slice up, some avocado, cilantro, jalapenos, encurtido (spicy pickled veggies), pickled shallots, chipotle sauce, fresh tomatoes, cilantro chimichurri (not a traditional nacho topping, but I put it on EVERYTHING), or diced onions, load them up! You can’t go wrong. I mean, I wouldn’t suggest chocolate, but you do you.

bowls of chips, lentils, cheese, and taco seasoning for making lentil nachos on a white board

What Kind of Lentils?

Brown or green will hold up best on these lentil nachos. They hold their shape better and won’t turn to mush when mixed with the taco seasoning. Due to their hardiness, I only use brown lentils in my famous Instant Pot Lentil Soup.

To cook your lentils, you can simmer on the stove for 35 minutes, or use the Instant Pot. You’ll find cooking notes for both methods in the recipe card below.

My preference is to make a big batch in the Instant Pot and then stick (cooled) extras in canning jars and pop them in the freezer. Cooked beans and pulses are part of our freezer essentials that are the building blocks for super fast meals. Homemade fast food at its finest.

2 process photos showing tortilla chips, cheese, and lentils on a baking sheet

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Use a rimmed baking sheet or a cast-iron skillet to keep everything contained and not sliding off the pan. For easy cleanup, I do recommend parchment or a Silpat.
  • Try a mix of different shredded cheeses to change up the flavor. Pepperjack will give you some heat, mozzarella some magical gooeyness, and extra sharp cheddar will provide some bite.
  • Shredding your own cheese will result in cheese that melts more evenly. Pre-shredded cheese from the stores is mixed with cellulose to hold its shape but it isn’t fantastic for melting.
  • Feel free to use your favorite tortilla style chips (corn, flour, cassava flour – whatever!). As long as they can withstand a quick few minutes in the oven, they will work! 

A plate of lentil nachos topped with green onions on a white board with salsa, sour cream, and limes.

More Delicious Fast Recipes You’ll Love

5 from 3 ratings

Lentil Nachos {Vegetarian Nachos}

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 7 minutes
Total: 12 minutes
Cheesy Lentil Nachos are a fast snack or meal that can be made from pantry staples.


  • 3 cups tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning


Making Vegetarian Nachos

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place parchment or silpat on a rimmed baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
  • Sprinkle taco seasoning over cooked and drained lentils.
  • Spread out tortilla chips so there is mostly a single layer.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over the chips. Top with seasoned lentils and any other toppings that would benefit from being warmed/heated up.
  • Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted.
  • Add desired additional toppings before serving.

Cooking Lentils - Stovetop

  • Add 1/4 cup of dried lentils and 1.5 cups of water or broth to a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a medium-low simmer and cover. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Drain any excess water.

Cooking Lentils - Instant Pot

  • Add 1/4 cup of dried lentils and 1.5 cups of water or broth to the Instant Pot insert.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>12 minutes. 
  • When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, it will beep and switch to ”keep warm". Allow it to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes and then do a manual release with the nozzle set to venting.
  • Drain any excess water.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 650kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 21gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 328mgPotassium: 406mgFiber: 9gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 377IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 478mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. These have become a go-to meal for us. I make a large batch of lentil with the taco seasoning and freeze them in 1-1/2 c portions. We use them for nachos, tacos (our favorite!), or taco salad. Now we like the lentils better than ground beef! Delicious!5 stars

  2. I am working my way through the Instant Pot archives AND cleaning out the pantry. I found some brown lentils in the bottom of our “beans” drawer and knew that Sarah would be able to help me out. The lentils came out perfectly! We will be using this recipe again in the future — once I buy more brown lentils.5 stars

    1. I too have meal planned based on a few servings of something in a bag that is driving me bananas. Glad I could help you keep your pantry a little bit more organized. 🙂

  3. Our lentil nachos were delicious! My son doesn’t like cheese or taco seasoning so I sprinkled his with Za’atar Seasoning and lentils while the rest of us added salsa, lettuce etc. to ours. No matter what the flavoring, the idea to add lentils as the nacho filling is brilliant-thanks! I look forward to lots of other ways to just add lentils in substitution for meat for this vegetarian family.

    I used to be intimidated by lentils but no longer. You are my one and only food blogger Sarah-you’re the BEST and your pictures always look AMAZING so well done! My instapot game is strong because of you. 🙂5 stars

    1. I’m sorry, doesn’t like cheese?! Poor kid! Ha.

      So glad they worked out for all of you, and thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a review.