Black Bean Nachos

Last week when I made a big batch of Vegetarian Black Beans, I had plans to use leftovers in a couple of upcoming meals. I’ve already posted one of those meals (Flank Steak Tacos), and tonight I used them in a second meal.  I had fun watching the playoff games yesterday, and there’s no better Super Bowl food than a big plate of nachos. They’re a guilty pleasure, but I couldn’t see why I couldn’t throw together a healthier version.

I was able to take advantage of leftover black beans, and also the leftover cherry-tomato salsa that I made for the tacos. I used the black beans to make refried black beans.  The hard work was done, and so this came together very quickly.  The only unusual ingredient that I used was a variety of pepper that I’ve only recently discovered at Trader Joe’s – sweet long red bell peppers.  They’re really tasty, and I decided to try roasting them for the nachos.  I roasted them just like I did for the poblanos in my flank steak tacos and they turned out great.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, then cut into quarters:

  • 3 corn tortillas (I found “sprouted corn tortillas” at Whole Foods and tried them – terrific).

Place the tortilla quarters – spaced evenly – on a foil-lined cookie sheet and sprinkle them with just a bit of finely-ground sea salt.  Bake for about 10 minutes, turning half-way through (and keeping a careful eye on them) until they are just getting crispy.

For the peppers, put on a foil-lined cookie sheet:

  • 2 red bell peppers (long sweet red peppers if available)

Bake them in the 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they have dark spots and are getting soft.  The foil-lined pan is a big help in cleanup.  If the pepper splits open, the juices can leak out and burn, which would cause a big cleanup mess on a bare cookie sheet. Place them in a paper bag to cool, then peel off the skin, cut open to remove the seeds, then cut into 1/4 inch by 1-inch slices.

To make refried black beans, heat in a non-stick skillet:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

until it shimmers, then add to the pan:

  • 3 cups of cooked black beans (in this case, leftover Vegetarian Black Beans)

I mashed the black beans with the back of a spoon until they were mostly mashed but still had some texture. You can use whatever you have handy – a potato masher or a fork would work well, too. If you’re using canned black beans, you should add onions and spices (at least) before cooking and mashing them. Cook them until they are heated through.

In the meantime, place on a grill pan (coated with cooking spray)

  • 6 green onions, trimmed

Cook the green onions until they are soft (about 5 minutes).

To assemble the nachos, place on a foil-lined baking sheet:

  • baked tortilla chips
  • refried black beans
  • roasted red peppers
  • grilled green onions
  • melted cheese of your choice (I used very thinly sliced manchego, a nice firm Spanish cheese)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired (I buy raw pumpkin seeds in bulk at Whole Foods, then toast them in a dry hot pan, shaking the pan frequently to keep it from burning).

Bake at 425-degrees for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the nachos are hot.  Serve with salsa and any other toppings you choose.

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