Nacho Night + Refried Bean Substitute


Friday night I decided to go for a a low-key supper of loaded nachos and Lambic, eaten on the couch so we could relax and catch up on the end of season 2 of Under the Dome.


Sometimes the simplest options are really the best.

For dinner-filling nachos, mere cheese and chips just won’t do, so my default is to pile on the refried beans and well-seasoned beef. Unfortunately, even my super-simple, slimmed down refried beans aren’t a good option anymore as they are High-FODMAP. But I’ve got a back for that!

About a year ago I learned from a fellow Low-FODMAPper that I learned that you can substitute a combo of white and sweet potatoes for mashed beans, and once they’re seasoned properly it’s tough to tell the difference.


To one of each potato I added salt, pepper, cumin, garlic-infused olive oil and enough milk to make it the right consistency. Pretty much the same thing s in my book, What to Feed Your Raiding Party, with one slight adjustment! And I know that potatoes have a bad reputation, but potatoes have a lot of good things going for them. Besides, this is nacho night, it’s okay to live a little!


My other issue with nachos, especially when you order them in a restaurant, is the habit of piling everything on in layers. Layers are good, but everything all piled up means you get some chips that are absolutely loaded down while the others are light or absolutely naked! So in my cookbook I suggest taking a little extra time to lay the chips out in a single layer on a baking sheet and then put the refried beans (or potatoes, in this case) into a plastic bag with the corner clipped and pipe them out onto each chip. No chip left (naked) behind!

I seasoned a pound of beef with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, and oregano (skip the packaged mixes, there’s no need for them or their added preservatives) and added a can of diced tomatoes and about a half cup of water and let them simmer for a while. Then I spooned a little of the meat on top of each chip, then sprinkled the whole pan with cheese.

While it’s true that individually portioning out the toppings onto each chip takes a little longer to prepare (though, really not all that long) I think it makes for a better eating experience. Once they came out from under the broiler I topped them with diced fresh tomatoes and brought out sour cream, guacamole, and pickled jalapenos so Todd and I could each top our own nachos the way we wanted.

Another benefit to making the individual nachos? Makes it super easy to put away leftovers as well as reheat some the next day for snacking (though, I have to admit, they were pretty tasty when cold, too!).

We’ve been semi-social butterflies the last few Friday nights so it was nice to have a relaxing evening at home to rewind.

Review | Ultimate Nachos



***This is a sponsored post. I was provided a copy of Ultimate Nachos by Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson for purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own and no additional compensation has been received. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…***

Who doesn’t like nachos?

(That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. If you truly do not like nachos I’m not sure you should say anything, it might well color the way I think of you. No, really, just keep that to yourself.)

In case you didn’t catch that, I love nachos. They are fantastic snacks to munch on in a group setting and a fantastic light supper if you’re more in the mood for grazing. Of course, one of the downsides to nachos is the tendency of some to pile each item in a layer, leaving the bottom-most chips mostly or completely naked, but with a little forethought you can avoid that, too.

While the authors of Ultimate Nachos obviously have a high respect for a well-crafted plate of nachos, they seem to carefully walk the line of acceptable components and creativity. They eschew round chips (though I have no personal issue with those) and (rightly-so) the day-glow glop poured on them at convenience stores and movie theaters. On the other plate, they have salsas with fruit, guac with bacon, and nachos with a waffle-chip base! But it’s not all chips and toppings, the authors also include nacho-inspired beverages and desserts and everything is wonderfully photographed; designed to make your mouth water.

Nachos were originally created by Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Mexico, in 1943 for some customers who arrived after the kitchen was already closed. These Nachos Especiales were the utmost in simplicity: corn tortialla chips, shredded Longhorn cheddar cheese, and some pickled jalapeno slices. My, how things have progressed!

Sunny Side Nachos: sausage, chips, a fried egg and plenty of cheese!

Sunny Side Nachos: sausage, chips, a fried egg and plenty of cheese!

One night we tried out a breakfast option: Sunny Side Nachos (p 53). Breakfast casserole meets nachos in a wonderfully gooey combination of cheese and sausage. This would certainly make a sumptuous feast for a Cinco de Mayo brunch!

Not a true nacho per se, these Irish Nachos were still very tasty!

Not a true nacho per se, these Irish Nachos were still very tasty!

We had a friend over one night and cooked up a pan of their Irish Nachos (p 92) for an evening repast. With such a name you’d almost expect corned beef brisket and cabbage on these nachos, but instead it’s bacon and waffle-cut potatoes that make these “Irish.” (By the by, the Reuben Nachos (p 45) do use corned beef and sauerkraut, so if that’s what you’re hankering for, it’s there.) These actually resemble my own Stacked Spuds, which is a take-off of a restaurant appetizer in a now-defunct steakhouse chain, but there’s nothing wrong with that–great minds and all that.

The wonder that is the Chicken Chorizo Nachos--as decadent as they are delicious!

The wonder that is the Chicken Chorizo Nachos–as decadent as they are delicious!

We rounded out our nacho tour with their Chicken Chorizo Nachos (p 78) that also makes use of the Easy Pickled Red Cabbage (p 122) and Avocado-Horseradish Crema (p 120) from the Extras chapter in the back of the book (just past the Desserts and Drinks chapters). Of the three nacho recipes we’ve sampled (so far) these were the kind you just wanted to keep eating even at the risk of becoming ill from too much of a good thing. Seriously, the richness of the chorizo and crema tempered by the tang of the picked cabbage was just such an amazing combination it was hard to stop!

One of the great things about most nacho concoctions, though, is that they are naturally gluten-free, often vegetarian-friendly, and if you’re careful with the ingredients can easily fit into a Low-FODMAP lifestyle. So the next time you’re looking for inspiration to feed your friends or just your yourself something different, Ultimate Nachos is not a bad place to start.

Have a delicious day!