Nachos are great comfort food. Think about it. Along with melted cheese and a bliss-inducing combination of carbs, the fiesta of Tex-Mex flavors and joyful blend of juicy salsa, creamy avocado, and tangy sour cream these Nachos Grandes deliver makes eating even my nutritionally sensible version feel like sinful, joyful indulgence.
What makes these fully loaded super nachos seem sinful, as well, even though they are nutritionally reasonable? Let’s build them together while I share my secrets.
First, don’t bother looking for baked tortilla chips. Supermarkets and natural foods stores no longer carry them. Instead, I get the generously big chips called “restaurant-style,” selecting the ones made with yellow corn and reduced sodium.
Next, I make salsa fresca. This avoids using the refrigerated stuff that is so soupy it drips down your arm. I chop the fresh tomatoes and onions very finely and mix in the amount of heat and salt I like. Feel free to adjust either of these to your own taste, or to skip them entirely.
Then I cook the refried beans using a minimum of oil, which leaves more room for calories to come from the fat in the cheese, avocado, and sour cream.
The resulting lightly-oiled beans are fluffy and light but they do tend to stick, so scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously, knowing that all the dark bits add to their flavor. You will have beans leftover; they are great added to soup, mixed with cooked rice, or into eggs before you scramble them.
I use full-fat cheese because reduced-fat Jack does not melt nicely. But I do use reduced-fat sour cream, which is fine.
Assembling these Nachos Grandes is like building a triple-decker sandwich. The final secret for making them swoonably good is assembling the first two layers, the ones filled with beans and cheese, and heating them only long enough to melt the cheese.
Then, adding the third tortilla chip on top of these warmed layers and topping it with salsa, sour cream and avocado right before serving creates a contrast of warm and cool that puts these generous nachos over the top.