These vegetarian black bean nachos are topped with a creamy cheese sauce to ensure tasty goodness in every bite!
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Game Day or Sunday Funday is one of my favorite things about the fall and winter seasons. It's really just an excuse to get together with friends, have a few cocktails in the middle of the day and watch football! What could be better for an afternoon of football watching than some nice cheesy nachos?!! Nachos are the perfect game day food - bit sized, easy to make in large batches, and easily shareable too.
I'm a massive cheese fan. Seriously, I might have a problem with cheese. I don't think a day goes by where I don't have cheese in some form. I know I'm not the only one...right?!?
This recipe does use a number of ingredients, but many of them are pantry staples that you may already have on hand. Here are some of the key ingredients you'll need. Be sure to review the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and quantities.
Black beans: I nearly always use canned black beans. You'll need one 15 ounce can.
Salsa: I usual buy fresh salsa from the market for this type of recipe. In most grocery stores you'll find the fresh version in the produce section.
Tortilla chips: Everyone seems to have a favorite brand so use what you like best for this recipe. Since there are a lot of toppings invovled, nachos are best with a slightly thicker chip.
Cheese: I generally recommend grating your own cheese, but since the ideal mixture here uses some Mexican blend I find it easier to buy the bagged version of that. I do recommend taking the time to grate your own sharp cheddar!
Spices: Ground cumin, chili powder, sea salt
Pantry staples: Olive oil, garlic cloves, sugar, all-purpose flour
Tips for making this recipe
These nachos involve a couple of steps but they are all pretty easy and the extra effort is well worthwhile when you taste the result!
Season the beans. You start this dish by sauteing the onions and garlic then adding the beans, mashing them slightly, and adding the salsa. These seasoned black beans will remind you of ground beef. I often make these beans during the week to have for breakfast with scrambled eggs or use in quesadillas.
Make the cilantro-lime sauce. If I'm making everything at once, I generally make this while the beans are cooking. You can also make it a few days ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.
Make the cheese sauce. This cheese sauce starts with a classic roux (a mixture of butter and flour), then you heat up the milk enough to melt the cheese when it's added. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I store it in a glass container and then either slowly heat in a pan of simmering water or use the microwave, heating 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between each heating to keep the cheese smooth and creamy.
Why cheese sauce instead of shredded cheese? A lot of nachos are made with shredded cheese, which is great and melty when it's piping hot, however, not as great when it starts to cool and get hard. You also never seem to get enough cheese to cover all the chips, especially the ones at the very bottom of the pile. So, what's the answer? Cheese sauce!! This isn't the kind of cheese sauce you if you order nachos at a sporting event. There is no sign of processed cheese here!! I'm talking about creamy, smooth, velvety cheese sauce. The kind that stays warm for a while and covers all the chips so you can get a least a taste of it with every bite.
Serve. To serve these nachos any dish with sides will work - you want to be sure the cheese isn't running off the plate. I prefer splitting it into two or three servings but they can also be served in one large dish. You'll finish these nachos off by topping them with the tangy cilantro-lime sauce, some pico de Gallo, and diced avocados giving you the perfect vegetarian nachos!
So, invite some friends over, whip up some of these black bean nachos and turn on the game. It will be a great Sunday Funday!
Tools you'll want for this recipe
Mini Gratin Pans – These little pans are one of my kitchen favorites. They are great for individual frittatas, pasta dishes, or for breaking servings of things like these nachos into multiples so you can place them at different spots or serve at different times without too much additional effort.
OXO Good Grips Potato Masher - I like this masher with the open wire curves as it works for mashing everything from potatoes to beans to cauliflower.
Cheesy Black Bean Nachos Recipe
For the black beans:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- juice from 1 lime
- ½ cup fresh salsa
For the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon lime zest
- ½ teaspoon green minced green onion
- ¼ teaspoon finely minced jalapeno
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- pinch of salt
For the cheese sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk, I recommend using 2%
- 1 ¼ cups shredded cheese, I use a combination of sharp cheddar and Mexican blend
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
For the chips:
- 10 - 16 oz tortilla chips
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- ½ cup pico de gallo
- 1 avocado, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300°F
Prepare the beans:
- Heat oil in a 10" skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additonal minute. A
- Add the beans and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add the spices, cook until fragrant. About 30 seconds. Using a potato masher, lightly mash the beans. Add the salsa and stir until well blended. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat until ready to serve nachos.
Prepare the Cilantro-Lime sauce:
- Mix the yogurt and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the cheese sauce:
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until small bubbles form at the edges of the pan. Stir in the cheese and continue cooking until cheese is melted and the sauce becomes smooth. Turn off heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
Prepare the chips:
- Spread the chips on a baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with salt and lime zest. Bake for 5 minutes.
To serve the nachos:
- Add the warm chips to a serving dish or dishes. Top with black beans, cheese sauce and Cilantro-Lime sauce. Add pico, avocado and cilantro. Serve immediately.