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When you serve up a platter of nachos, loaded with cheese, guacamole and jalapeños, you’re not just bringing a smile to every face in the room. You’re also celebrating the intertwined food cultures of Mexico, Europe and the United States.

Mexicans had been growing and eating chili peppers for many thousands of years when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, bringing cumin and oregano with them. These three ingredients are the backbone of any good chili seasoning and the Aztecs also used them to create guacamole.

Fried corn tortillas, covered with melted cheese and sprinkled with jalapeños, originated in northern Mexico. Across the border in the southwestern United States, the dish gained meat and more cheese. Somewhere along the line, beans entered the mix.

Today’s nacho plates can be as simple as the northern Mexican original, or as colorful and satisfying as the recipe below. With black beans, sour cream and spicy guacamole bolstering the corn chips, cheese and jalapeño, this dish will send your party guests diving for the snack table. I recommend serving it with good beer and some lively world music.


1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup diced avocado

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup diced white onion

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. Whole Spice or other chili seasoning

1 Tbsp. lime juice

Mix all ingredients and set aside.

Loaded Nachos

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12.5 oz. (family size) corn tortilla chips

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup sour cream


Pickled jalapeño, to taste

2 cups hot, cooked black beans, strained

Bring oven to 420 degrees. Spread corn chips in a large baking tray. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Place in oven until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients.


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