Allow me to introduce you to the most satisfying way to eat a bag of chips for dinner: loaded black bean nachos. While this version is based on the beloved party snack — with salted tortilla chips, gooey melted cheese, salsa, and jalapeños in the mix — it's heartier and leans hard on wholesome toppings, like smashed black beans, tangy Greek yogurt, and guacamole, to make it meal-worthy.
A Template for Nachos for Dinner
When it comes to loading up a tray of nachos, the secret to success is having a great template, rather than a recipe. It can be broken down into three key parts: the tortilla chips, beans, and toppings.
Tortilla Chips + Beans + Toppings
Get this part down and you can start customizing it based on your mood or whatever beans are lingering in the pantry or veggies in the crisper.
Beans Make It a Meal
A couple cans of protein-packed black beans are the key to turning this crowd-pleasing snack into a meal with substance. Mixed into a pan with softened red onion, garlic, and a medley of spices, the beans are smashed and quickly cooked down into a mixture that's just the right balance of smooth and chunky.
This recipe takes a strategic approach to assembly, building the tray of nachos in layers, so you can be sure you're getting a big bite of beans with every chip.
Weeknight Veggie Dinners
Loaded Black Bean Nachos
Serves 4 to 6
medium red onion, diced
(15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
(8-ounce) bag tortilla chips, divided
grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces), divided
pico de gallo, divided
medium scallions, greens part only, thinly sliced, divided
pickled jalapeños (optional)
plain Greek yogurt
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir to coat with the oil, and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork, keeping them a little chunky. Stir the beans and water into the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Spread half of the tortilla chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Dollop half of the bean mixture evenly over the chips and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with half of the pico de gallo and half of the scallions. Repeat the layers with the remaining tortilla chips, black bean mixture, cheese, and pico de gallo, but do not top with the remaining scallions.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Top with the remaining scallions, pickled jalapeños (if using), yogurt, and guacamole. Serve immediately.
Make ahead: The mashed black beans can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before preparing the nachos.