Nachos get a bad rap, often being categorized as a junk food in the company of hot dogs, pizza, popcorn and the like, but when I was a kid, black bean nachos were my mama's go-to meal when we needed something quick and protein-y on a busy school night. We're pretty spoiled here in Central Texas in that we have several brands of quality tortilla chips to choose from. Most have 0 trans fats and are low in sodium, so it's not like you're just piling goodness on top of a layer of junk food. I'm not going to lie, a good black bean nacho plate ranks up there as one of my favorite foods, and my mama-friends will tell you that I'm not ashamed to order them for breakfast when I have the opportunity. When I make a big sheet of nachos for dinner, the great thing is that I can pick and choose where to add various toppings. Everyone has the same base layer: chips, black beans, cheese but then...scallions only on the right side (for mama,papa and the teenager), chopped tomatoes and jalapenos only on a quarter(mama), black olives on another quarter (the girl). Boom, everyone's happy, but it's all on one tray...you just serve out the individual helpings after it bakes. I try and keep an extra avocado and a jar of good salsa around for just such a meal. If you cook beans from scratch, this is an excellent meal to utilize any leftover beans, black or otherwise.
This recipe serves 2, double it to serve 4
Preheat the broiler of your oven
2 Handfuls of quality tortilla chips
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup shredded cheese
Assorted toppings to bake on the nachos such as:
diced fresh tomatoes
Assorted toppings to add after the nachos are removed from the oven:
avocado, salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro
Using an 8" cast iron skillet or comparable broiler safe baking dish:
Create a single layer of tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Distribute the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Add whatever toppings you would like to bake along with your nachos. I love scallions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Super simple, super yummy and colorful to boot.
Place your skillet in the broiler, checking frequently to make sure you don't burn the cheese on top (probably 5 minutes max). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings.