Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Monday: Nachos!

Really, when you read the title of this post, read it like, "Naaaaaachoooos!"  When I decided to post a recipe for nachos for this Meatless Monday post, in my head I kept hearing Jack Black say that (hence the picture on the left).

Believe it or not, nachos can be great dinner and the recipe I'm going to share makes them -- dare I say it? -- even somewhat healthy. They're also easy to make, inexpensive, and definitely a crowd pleaser. Who doesn't like nachos?

In fact, these nachos are one of my go-to recipes when I don't feel like cooking or if I've run out of dinner ideas. I almost always have the ingredients on hand in my pantry and fridge, so I can whip them up if I'm feeling tired/lazy/too hot to work in the kitchen on a summer evening.

The recipe I'm going to share is adapted from the one in the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, Simple Suppers (a cookbook I highly recommend for anyone who wants ideas for meatless meals).

Dinner Nachos 
4 cups corn tortilla chips (or you can measure them like I do and use four big handfuls of chips)
1 15-oz. can of refried beans
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (Fresh tomatoes are great for this -- I'm counting the days until I can start using my garden tomatoes in everything -- but I've used canned diced tomatoes many times before, especially in the wintertime when the storebought tomatoes are just, well,  not so tasty. If you're going this route, use a 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained.)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa (I've used all kinds -- fresh, jarred, red, green -- and they all work well in this recipe. Use whatever you like or have on hand!)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I use mostly colby jack and a little pepper jack.)
2 tablespoons of chopped green onions (or chives, if you've got them)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Choose a baking dish that's 9 x 13 inches, with sides that are two inches high.

Layer all the ingredients in the order given above. It doesn't have to be pretty. If the refried beans are too stiff to spoon over the chips, thin them with a little bit of water).  As you can see above, my little guy helped me put the whole thing together, so it's a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen (btw, wash and save at least a couple of the cans -- I'm going to be posting some fun, crafty reuses for them).  If you end up making these nachos fairly regularly like I do, feel free to add other ingredients to mix things up (I'm planning on adding some corn kernels next time I make them -- the sweet corn roadside stands are back!).

Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the beans in the center are steaming hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Once they've cooled a bit, you can either cut into them and dish them out with a spatula onto individual plates or you can just set the pan of them in the middle of the table (or outside on a picnic blanket in the backyard) and have everyone dig in with their hands. It's the perfect sort of summertime dish (though not exclusive to summer, of course) -- casual, easy, and a little messy. Gotta love finger food!

But watch out -- they go fast!

Note: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 


Heather Dixon said...

This looks so good.

I know it's supposed to be meatless, but could I add hamburger to it?

Heather said...

Only if you make them on a Tuesday or something. ;)

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