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Urban Foodies

Cheesy Game Day Vegetarian Nachos Recipe

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These vegetarian black bean nachos are topped with a creamy cheese sauce to ensure tasty goodness in every bite! 

Cheesy Black Bean Nachos

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product via these links, I will earn a small commission which helps to keep this blog running!

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?!?

Contents:

Key Ingredients

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.  

Game Day Cheesy Black Bean Nachos

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.

Serving Suggestions

Some other great game day recipes include these Pulled Pork Sliders, this Amber Turkey Chili and this Cheesy Swiss Mushroom Pull-Apart Bread.


Cheesy Black Bean Nachos

Cheesy Black Bean Nachos Recipe

These vegetarian black bean nachos are topped with a creamy cheese sauce to ensure tasty goodness in every bite!

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Appetizers

Cuisine American

Servings 6 servings

Calories 550 kcal

Ingredients  

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
  • 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

To serve:

  • ½ cup pico de gallo
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Instructions 

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:

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.

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ozCalories: 550kcal

Keywords : game day snacks, vegetarian appetizer





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Urban Foodies

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary at Taco Maria (During Covid) –

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Taco Maria in Costa Mesa has always been one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in LA.

Chef Carlos Salgado is originally from Mexico but spent over ten years training in some of the best kitchens in the US, including 2-Michelin starred restaurants like Coi in San Francisco and Commis in Oakland. He opened Taco Maria in 2013.

Prior to achieving a Michelin Star, Chef Salgado was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef West consecutively for the past four years, and was named Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2015.

Dining During Covid

Notoriously challenging to book, this Michelin-starred restaurant got even harder to book during Covid. They removed all indoor dining and limited seating to parties of four. They also opened up bookings only 1-2 weeks in advance, so Bryan diligently logged onto their website (at midnight in Hong Kong!) to grab seats for us during popular, coveted weekend slots.

Taco Maria – The Food



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Urban Foodies

Visiting Family in Los Angeles During Covid

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Returning to the US



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Urban Foodies

A Weeknight Meal for Two

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This Deconstructed Skillet Lasagna gives you that great lasagna taste without all the fuss of traditional lasagne, making it an easy weeknight meal for two!  

Skillet filled with lasagne with bread, wine and cheese on the side

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product via these links, I will earn a small commission which helps to keep this blog running!

There is nothing like a good hearty pasta dish on a chilly winter night! This creamy, deconstructed lasagna takes all the components of traditional lasagna and incorporates them into an easy-to-make version. No need to spend time layering anymore. 

This skillet version might just change the way you make lasagne forever!

Contents:
Deconstructed Skillet Lasagna shot from overhead on a teal blue napkin

Recipe Highlights

  • Cheese sauce! Do I really need to say more?!
  • Designed for two. Since it’s made in small skillets, this lasagna is the ideal two serving meal.
  • Easier than traditional lasagna. Traditional lasagna can be time consuing to make. By deconstructing it a bit, this recipe is ready in just about 30 minutes, making it a weeknight staple.
  • Make-ahead option. You can make everything ahead of time and refrigerate until you ar ready to cook. Then just pop the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Packed with flavor. Cheese sauce, red wine, tomatoes and ground beef combine to give this dish loads of flavor.

Key ingredients

The full list of ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.

Ingredients - corkscrew pasta, tomatoes, onion, red wine, cheese, herbs and garlic

The key ingredients include…

  • Cellentani pasta: This corkscrew style pasta works well with both the meat and the cheese sauce. Cavatappi also works for this recipe.
  • Ground sirloin: I typically use at least 90% lean ground beef.
  • Beef broth: Purchased beef broth works fine for this recipe.
  • Red wine: I recommend a fruitier red wine, but your favorite varietal or whatever you happen to have open will work.
  • Diced tomatoes: Ideally, you’ll use petit diced tomaotes for the best consistency in the sauce but sometimes they seem to be hard to fine so standard diced tomatoes also work.
  • Italian blend cheese: I normally prefer to grate cheese instead of purchasing pre-bagged, grated cheese, however since you want an Italian blend it’s easiest to purchase a bag.
  • Pamesan or Asiago cheese: Freshly grated is the best option here.
  • Spices: dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, sea salt, ground pepper
  • Pantry staples: Garlic cloves, milk, butter, all-purpose flour

How to make this recipe

Since it’s ready in just about 30 minutes, this lasagna is ideal for any night of the week.

Cook the pasta. I always recommend following the package directions, since cooking times for pasta vary based on brand. You want to cook to al dente.

Make the meat sauce. You’ll start by browning the ground beef, then adding in the beef broth, wine and tomatoes.

Make the cheese sauce. Starting with a traditional roux (butter + flour) gives you a nice, thick cheese sauce that eventually combines with the meat sauce to give you cheesy goodness in every bite.

Assemble the lasagne. You’ll divide the pasta between the two skillets, then top with the meat sauce, and then pour the cheese sauce over the top. Next, you’ll bake the lasagna for about 15 minutes and dinner is ready!

You can cook the pasta, make both the meat and cheese sauces and assemble the lasagna ahead of time. If you will be refrigerating for more than a few hours, I don’t recommend using cast-iron skillets. Stainless steel skillets or small ceramic baking dishes will be a better choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have mini skillets?

If you don’t have mini skillets you can either use another small baking dish, or you can make this in a larger skillet though you will need to increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes.

How should I store leftovers?

If you used cast iron skillets, I recommend removing any leftovers from the skillets and storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Close up of Deconstructed Skillet Lasagna with a glass of red wine

Tools you’ll want for this recipe

Small cast iron skillets – Cast iron skillets are great for cooking so many things. Something about 6″ in diameter is ideal. I like to keep two of the smaller version in my kitchen for smaller servings. You can also use a small stainless steel pan.

Serving Suggestions

To keep it simple, I like to pair pasta with a nice green salad. My quick and easy salad is greens topped with some shaved asiago, toasted pine nuts, a squeeze of lemon juice, some olive oil, and a bit of balsamic glaze.  

And of course, you can’t go wrong by adding some homemade garlic bread to soak up any extra sauce! Add a nice glass of red wine, perhaps the merlot you used in the sauce, and you have the perfect meal!

More pasta recipes

If you are looking for other easy pasta dishes check out these reader favorites:

  • Creamy Lemon Pasta. While this recipe is easy enough for a weeknight meal, the bright lemon flavor and parmesan breadcrumbs give it a touch of elegance.
  • Roasted Tomato Summer Spaghetti. This is pasta is perfect for an easy, everyday meal. Tomatoes, mozarealla, pesto and pasta combine for vegetarian dish that’s ready in just under 30 minutes.

Skillet filled with lasagne with bread, wine and cheese on the side

Deconstructed Skillet Lasagna Recipe

This Deconstructed Skillet Lasagna gives you that great lasagne taste without all the fuss of a traditional lasagne, making it an easy weeknight meal for two! 

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Pasta & Grains

Cuisine Italian

Ingredients  

For the meat sauce:

  • 1 cup Cellentani pasta, uncooked
  • pound ground sirloin
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 ounces beef broth
  • 4 ounces Merlot, or other fruity red wine
  • 1 15- ounce can petite diced tomatoes

For the cheese sauce: 

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup non-fat or 1% milk
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Grated asiago or parmesan for topping

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two small cast iron skillets with olive oil. 

  • Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain when pasta is done cooking.

  • Brown the ground beef. While the pasta is cooking heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and onions; cook for 4-5 minutes until the ground sirloin is browned. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the basil through pepper and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

  • Make the meat sauce. Add the beef broth, wine and tomatoes; continue to cook until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer while you make the cheese sauce.

  • Make the roux. melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until a thick paste forms.

  • Make the cheese sauce. Slowly add the milk, a small amount at a time, stirring with a whisk after each addition until the sauce is smooth. Once all of the milk has been added cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese; continue stirring until the sauce is smooth (sauce will be quite thick). Add the pepper and nutmeg; stir to combine.

  • Assemble and bake. Add half of the pasta to each of the prepared skillets. Top each skillet with half the meat sauce mixture then half of the cheese sauce. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese sauce begins to bubble around the edge of the skillet. Top with grated cheese and serve

Notes

  • If you are saving one or both of the skillets for another time, wait to put the dish in the skillet until you are ready to bake. You can refrigerate in an airtight container and then transfer to the cast iron skillet. Alternatively use a non-cast iron mini skillet or baking dish. 
  • When ready to eat, cook as directed, however, you will need to increase the cooking time by 5-10 minutes to ensure everything gets hot!

Keywords : cast iron cooking, pasta for two

This post was originally published in January 2016. It was updated in January 2022 with some new photos and information. No changes were made to the original recipe.





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