There are lots of iconic game day foods—buffalo chicken wings, chili, sliders, spinach artichoke dip—but none is more iconic or beloved than nachos. The very first nachos were simply topped with cheddar and pickled jalapenos, but since then the nacho world has exploded to include a vast array of variations, both in terms of the base and what tops it.
This recipe is one of our favorites: it’s super easy and super delicious! Loaded with beef, beans, 2 types of cheese, and a plethora of fresh toppings, it’s sure to take your game day snacking to the next level.
But first, some background.
Nachos have been canonized in Mexican, Tex-Mex, and American cuisine. But few people know the origins of this game day food (or Oscar day… or Tuesday) staple! In 1943, some wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass, Texas, were on a shopping trip in the bordering city of Piedras Negras, Mexico. They stopped at the Victory Club for a bite to eat, but the restaurant had closed for the day. Not wanting to disappoint his customers, the maître d’, Ignacio “El Nacho” Anaya, was determined to whip something up for them. He made do with what was left in the kitchen: tortillas, cheese, and pickled jalapeños. He cut and fried the tortillas into chips, covered them with the cheese and jalapeños, and served what would go on to be called “Nacho’s Especiales“.
What kind of cheese can you use?
We’re big fans of Monterey jack and cheddar, but your options are limitless. Just make sure it melts! (The only exception to the melt rule is cotija, a hard Mexican cow’s milk cheese which can be added after the nachos bake!)
What are some toppings for nachos?
We’ve packed this version of nachos with an impressive load of toppings including beef, refried beans, pickled jalapenos, tomato, green onion, and avocado. But you can top your nachos with whatever you want! If you want to stick with the traditional Mexican vibe, we recommend guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, cotija cheese, grilled corn, pinto beans, black olives, fresh jalapeño slices, pickled red onions, cubed steak, shredded chicken, or crumbled tofu. However, if you really want to shake it up, go less traditional and top your nachos with some saucy pulled pork for a barbecue vibe, or fried cheese curds and gravy for a deliciously decadent poutine twist!
Can nachos be healthy?
They totally can! I wouldn’t call these particular nachos healthy, but if you’re looking for an alternative, we’ve got options! Check out Zucchini Nachos, Bell Pepper Nachos, or Cauliflower Nachos — they’re all great substitutes! PLUS, you’re getting a hefty serving of veggies. Win/win!
Are nachos fried or baked?
Nachos are baked, but the corn chips used in them are usually fried. (Unless you go the healthy route.
Do you put salsa on nachos before cooking?
We wouldn’t recommend it! Any ingredients you want to retain freshness and crunch should be added after the nachos go into the oven. We’re talking herbs, greens, tomatoes, fresh salsas, avocado, and guacamole — none of these things are good warm.
Can I make my nachos vegan?
Absolutely! If you think about it, a lot of typical nacho toppings are naturally vegan — guacamole, beans, lettuce, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions — and most tortilla chips that you can buy are also vegan (check the label to be sure). You can buy vegan cheese if you want, but if you’re already in the kitchen, why not whip up a batch of our vegan chipotle queso to drizzle on top of your nachos?
by Lindsay Funston for delish.com©