munchies / not chicken / recipes / savory / vegan + vegetarian


Haystacks were a staple of my youth. I spent every summer outside with the Pathfinders, a scouting club for SDA kids. There wasn’t one camp out, BBQ, or A. Y. S. that didn’t include them, and the kid in me has been craving them something serious lately.

Haystacks are basically deconstructed taco salads: a bed of corn chips topped with lettuce, vegetarian chili or other taco meat substitute, cheese, salsa, and other toppings. They can vary quite a bit, but my favorites were always at the campsites when they cooked the chili in a pot on the grill alongside whatever vegetarian options were gonna be slapped on buns, and when the corn chips were Doritos! A mix of Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos, specifically. 

A haystack in front of an open can of pepsi and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a bag of Tostitos.

I’d say most of us are looking forward to spending time with our families this summer; it’s been so difficult – impossible for some – to do it safely for such a long time now. This summer, PepsiCo wants to help.

With their “Let’s Summer!” campaign, Pepsi Beverages & Frito-Lay are partnering to bring back the joy of summer and provide fun all season long through prizes, activity ideas, recipes, and more!

Plates of Haystacks

​Pepsi’s collection of beverages and snacks is perfect for any summer get-together. Y’all know I’m from North Carolina; did you also know NC is the birthplace of Pepsi? Well, it is. Pepsi’s been a staple, everywhere, all my life. There’s pretty much always Cherry Pepsi in my fridge, and Mountain Dew for my husband, and bubly in a couple of flavors for the kids.

Starting this month all the way through July, folks nationwide can scan the QR code on participating Pepsi beverages and Frito-Lay chips as well as on signs in your local grocery stores for a chance to win fun prizes like a portable Weber grill, beverage coolers, a family-sized tent, hammock, picnic blanket, and more! And not just once: those QR codes unlock a chance to score summer gear every hour for 9 weeks.

A shopping cart in front of Publix, with a reusable Publix bag full of Frito-Lay products.

To kick off my family’s summer, I decided to recreate the campground Haystacks of my youth with my family this past weekend, using the same Frito-Lay chips I loved as a kid. We went to Publix to pick up everything we needed and took advantage of our apartment complex’s tiny, underused grilling area to make some vegan chili in a cast-iron skillet and char some red hots. Check out these deals from Publix:

Then we piled our plates high, popped our Pepsi cans, and played Crazy 8s eating Tostitos Restaurant-Style Tortilla Chips and Salsa until we had gone thru almost the entire Family Sized Bag and I got tired of losing.

tostitos, salsa, sodas
tostitos, salsa, sodas

Look for the special Let’s Summer packaging on Pepsi, Mountain Dew and other PepsiCo beverages – and the coupons on them you can use to fully supply your next backyard get-together.

Doritos and Soda
Plates of Haystacks

Make sure to leave a comment and rating if you try my HayStacks recipe, and then visit and enter your details for a chance to win prizes in the Let’s Summer Sweepstakes and find summer activity ideas and more recipes for your own family’s summer gatherings.

Let’s Summer!

Plates of Haystacks
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Basically backyard BBQ nachos. 


Units Scale

Vegan Chili: 

  • 1 lb ground meat substitute*
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn kernels
  • 1 12 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 C vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch + 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil, as needed


  • 2 C shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Tostitos
  • Doritos


  1. Place a high-sided cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil and then toss in the onions. Brown them well, then add the ground meat substitute. Season it lightly with seasoned salt and toss everything together until it’s browned. 
  2. Next, add the beans, corn, and diced tomatoes, then stir in the seasonings and vegetable broth. Stir together, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
  3. After 10 minutes stir together the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry, the stir that slurry into the chili. Let the chili continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Set aside until ready to serve. 
  4. Now, let’s build the Haystack! Pile a couple of handfuls of Doritos on your plate and spread them into an even layer. Top with a mound of shredded lettuce, then spoon your desired amount of chili over the top of that. Add the shredded cheese, then the top as desired with the salsa, sour cream, and whatever else you like! 
  5. Enjoy with a nice cold Pepsi! Or Mountain Dew. Or Bubly?! It’s up to you! 


  • You can use diced tofu or mushrooms, but I like to use store bought vegan ground meat substitute, and that’s what I used in the chili pictured above. 
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star