Cold, rainy weekends call for chili cheese nachos. We've had a few cold and rainy weekends lately and after being out and about during the day we've been ready to hibernate for a lazy evening in. These nachos are casual comfort for evenings like this. They're also finger food, making them perfect to serve family-style. I love setting a large platter of these in the middle of the table and having everyone dig in. That being said, the chili topping is the perfect base whether you're cooking for one, two, or many. I intentionally make a lot because it's multi-purpose, and you know how I feel about the cook once, eat twice philosophy.
This chili is plant-powered with green lentils, black or red (kidney) beans, lots of anti-inflammatory, gut-friendly spices, and fresh (or frozen) corn for a pop of sweetness. If you don't fancy nachos, the chili can be eaten alone (but you can't skip the toppings!), or served over rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or sweet potato fries. I'll often hold back a few servings to freeze, so we're guaranteed a quick, delicious meal when we don't feel like cooking or are coming back from a trip to an empty fridge.
Chili Cheese Nachos
Notes: Recipe calls for both chili powder and smoked paprika. If you don't have both or can't find one, replace it with more of the spice you do have.
- 1 generous knob of ghee (or coconut oil)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 heaped Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. oregano
- 1 heaped tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 cups (480 ml) water
- 1 chipotle, chopped + spoonful adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo) - optional
- 1 cup (205 gr.) green lentils (soaked overnight, if possible)*
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 cans black or red/kidney beans (or a mix), rinsed and drained
- 1 ear of corn sliced off the cob (or a few handfuls frozen corn)
- Tortilla chips
- Toppings: avocado, lime, shredded cheese (or cashew cheese), cilantro, pickled jalapenos (store-bought or make your own)
- Heat a wide, high-sided saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. (If you don't have a large, deep saute pan, use a wide soup pot). Melt ghee and add onion, garlic and spices (chili powder through smoked paprika). Cook a few minutes until onions start to soften and spices become fragrant. If pan gets dry add a splash of water and stir to make a paste.
- Add tomatoes, water, chipotle and adobo sauce, lentils (rinsed + drained if presoaked), and salt. Cover, raise heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir through beans and corn, recover, and continue cooking at a strong simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust for salt and acidity, adding a squeeze of lime if needed.
- Place chips on a platter, layer over as much chili as you'd like (there will be leftovers), and top with avocado, lime, cheese, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. Serve immediately!
*Pre-soaking lentils: If lentils were pre-soaked, total cooking time for chili will be ~ 20-25 minutes, and you might not need the full 2 cups of water. Start by adding 1 to 1 1/2 cups first and half of salt, adding more as needed.