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In this recipe for plant-based nachos, pita chips are drizzled with a feta queso and then laden with lentil chili, harissa-spiked pickled cabbage, and a dollop of creamy labneh. Make the chips, queso, and cabbage ahead of time to help this dish come together easily, or use store-bought pita chips, if desired. The tangy feta queso gets its smooth body from the addition of red lentils and is a versatile ingredient on its own, says Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Somerville, Massachusetts: "We use this queso in mac and cheese and sub it in as a sauce for eggplant parm or moussaka."

August 2021


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

1 hr 10 mins
3 hrs 45 mins


Pickled Cabbage
Pita Chips
Lentil Chili
Feta Queso
Additional Ingredients


Make the pickled cabbage
  • Toss together cabbage and harissa in a medium-size nonreactive bowl until well coated. Add vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and salt; toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, tossing occasionally. 

Make the pita chips
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Toss together pita triangles and oil in a large bowl, gently massaging oil into pita. Arrange pita in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with salt. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 55 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes. Add additional salt to taste. Let cool completely. 

Make the lentil chili
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, poblano, Fresno chile, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring often, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, coriander, and Aleppo pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beluga lentils and 21/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have mostly broken down and chili has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and season with additional salt to taste. Cover and keep warm over low. 

Make the feta queso
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add onion, Fresno chile, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add red lentils, and carefully pour in 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very tender and begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes. 

  • Transfer red lentil mixture to a blender. Remove top insert of blender lid; cover hole with a kitchen towel. With blender running, gradually add feta, pickled cherry peppers, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 1/4 cup oil. Process until smooth and silky, 1 to 2 minutes, adding up to remaining 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to thin mixture to a pourable consistency. Season with salt to taste. 

  • Arrange pita chips on a large platter, and drizzle with 1 cup feta queso. Using a slotted spoon, add 2 cups lentil chili to center of pita chips. Drain pickled cabbage in a fine wire-mesh strainer, and season with salt, if desired. Pile cabbage on top of lentil chili, and top with labneh. Garnish with feta, cilantro, and Aleppo. Serve with remaining feta queso. 

Make Ahead

Pickled cabbage and feta queso can be stored in airtight containers in refrigerator up to 2 days; pita chips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days. Reheat feta queso in a small saucepan over low heat.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy, spicy Rhône-style red: Dirty & Rowdy California Familiar Mourvèdre