Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook takes good ideas where she sees them. Having made nachos for years, in many variations, I have a new version that was met with wild applause by The Practical Cooks Junior. It’s not easy being cheesy. And even less easy being a sweet potato. Read on.
Veggie Nachos Perfected (A recipe and a method to the madness)
The key here is layering. I’ll leave exact proportions to your specifications, but don’t be shy about the cheese. The order of operations is actually important here. It is the thing that transforms this from idle snack to actual recipe.
1 bag of high-quality tortilla chis (I specify, because wimpy chips simply won’t stand up here)
2 cups or so cheese of choice, shredded (we used the shredded Mexican blend from Trader Joe’s)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)
1 can black beans, rinsed well
1/2 of something tomatoey (use red salsa if you want more heat or diced tomatoes for milder)
1 small to medium sized sweet potato, peeled and diced small
2 or 3 handfuls of baby spinach
green onions, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put foil over a pizza pan or baking sheet, put a layer of tortilla chips on it. Quantity depends on size of crowd and the preferred ratio of stuff to chip. Cover with a generous layer of cheese (half of what you’re using), bake until cheese melts, remove pan from the oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. When hot but not smoking, saute the garlic and the onion briefly, toss in the cumin and a sprinkle of salt, then add beans. Stir well.
3. Add the tomatoey item of choice, and the sweet potatoes. Stir, cover, and cook at medium to medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked but not mushy. Add spinach and cook till it wilts, a couple of minutes more.
4. Pour bean mixture over cheesy chips, spread out to cover the chips. Leave no chip behind. Cover with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese melts, another 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven, and immediately sprinkle with the green onions and avocado, so that they stick in the glorious melty cheese.
Serve promptly with sour cream, salsa, and a whole lot of napkins.
What’s on your nachos? Post a comment below, or Tweet!
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Up next, The Great Sweetener Race: Molasses vs. Honey!