These cheesy beef nachos are the perfect sharable.
Loaded with the perfect blend of bright and fresh flavors, this dish can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer or even as a main.
Nachos are a traditional Mexican dish that consists of a base layer of tortilla chips that gets topped with a variety of things from cheeses, to salsa fresca (aka pico de gallo), to various ground or shredded meats and even beans. Amazingly wholesome and entirely customizable, this delectable tray is clean eating, gluten free, and is one you need to make today…like right now…seriously, you’re missing out!
So let’s get right into it!
Here’s the Ingredients We’ll Be Needing:
The arrangement of ingredients in the image above might look strange but it’s only because it has been measured out based on the sections that this recipe is built. To make our nachos we’ll need:
- Corn Tortilla Chips: I’m using round tortilla chips that contains the simple ingredients including: Corn Masa Flour, Water, Vegetable Oil, and Sea Salt. Clean and simple and oh so delicious.
- Shredded Cheeses: I’m using my favorite sharp cheddar and low moisture mozzarella, you can opt to use your favorite kind of semi-hard cheese.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: or sour cream. I prefer to use the Greek Yogurt since I always have some on hand and the flavor of plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt is almost identical to sour cream and Greek Yogurt tends to be healthier and contain little to no additives, stabilizers or preservatives.
For the Beef Layer:
- Ground Beef: I’m using a 93/7 today because I don’t want my beef to be too fatty since the extra fat will cause my chips to become soggy. If you use a fattier beef, be sure you drain off as much rendered fat as possible.
- Spices: I’m keeping things simple but flavorful by using salt, pepper, dehydrated garlic, ground chipotle, and cumin.
For the Salsa Fresca Layer:
- Tomatoes: Opt to use a firm but ripe tomato. We’ll be dicing our tomatoes up into chunks.
- Red Onion: I’m using red onion for it’s milder and sweeter flavor than yellow or white onion and for the gorgeous pop of color.
- Jalapenos: Fresh or jarred, you can use as much or as little as you like depending on your heat preference.
- Lemon Juice: A splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a bright and fresh citrus pop.
- Salt: Pink Himalayan or sea salt works great, feel free to use as much as as little as you like.
- Cilantro: The fresh earthiness of the cilantro melds well with all the other flavors of our salsa. If preferred you can use parsley too.
For the Guacamole Layer:
- Avocados: Two whole fresh Hass avocadoes that are fully ripened are what we’ll use. The easiest way to test if an avocado is ripe is to gently press down the area right next to the stem, if it’s soft and has a bit of give, your avocado it ready to be used.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is pertinent in keeping our guacamole green and vibrant as the from oxidizing and turning an unappetizing brownish-grey color.
- Red Onion: You can opt to use white or yellow onion if preferred, I’m using red today in my guacamole for the milder and sweeter flavor (and let’s be real, because it was easier to divide the onion between the salsa and guacamole 😅
- Salt: Pink Himalayan or sea salt also works great here, feel free to use as much as as little as you like.
- Cilantro: or parsley, this bite of fresh herby earthiness nicely rounds out the rich and fatty avocado and blends together well with all the other flavors.
With our ingredients all prepped and ready, let’s throw this tray of deliciousness together. The first thing we’ll do is…
Make the Salsa Fresca:
The first thing we’ll do is make our salsa fresca. We’ll start by gathering all the ingredients needed (1). To a bowl we’ll add our diced tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, salt, cilantro and lemon juice (2). Toss the ingredients to combine everything and set it into the fridge to allow the flavors to meld together (3). If you like, take a quick taste test to see if all the flavor levels are where you’d like them to be and if not, adjust to suit you preference.
And that’s it! It’s that simple. Now, on to the next element, we’ll need to…
Make the Guacamole:
Much like the salsa, we’ll gather our ingredients for it (1). Next, we’ll halve our avocadoes, remove the stone/seed in the middle and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, adding the lemon juice right away (2) and mash your avocados and lemon juice together. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth and you can make it as smooth as you like it. Then add in your diced onion, salt and cilantro and fold everything together (3&4).
With your guacamole done, test it to ensure the flavors are as you’d like it and adjust them to suit. Once you’re happy with the flavor, we’ll smooth the top into an even layer and gently press a piece of food-grade plastic over the top like a skin, before we place it into the fridge to rest. Using the plastic reduces the guacamole’s exposure to air, which, along with the lemon juice, will ensure our guacamole stays bright and fresh looking. With our guacamole done and set aside it’s now time to…
Cook the Beef:
We’re keeping this as easy as can be. After gathering your ingredients (1), simply add the ground beef and seasonings into a cold skillet. Using a spatula break up the beef into smaller chunks (while combining the seasonings into the meat) and spread them out in the pan (2). We want the beef to cover as much surface area as possible.
Set your skillet on med-high heat and don’t touch your beef until the undersides are crispy and browned. Once that happens, start moving your chunks around and scraping the bottom of the skillet as you do so. With your beef fully cooked, drain off any excess grease and let your beef cool down to warm/no longer letting off steam (3). This is important because the steam from the hot beef will make your chips soggy. Cooling them down also allows the beef to rest some of the fats and flavor to be reabsorbed so don’t rush and skip this step!
Now, with all elements ready, let’s assemble our nachos!
Start by layering your corn tortilla chips onto a tray in as even a layer as possible (1). Then top your chips with an even scattering of your cooled crispy seasoned beef (2). Sprinkle your shredded cheeses over the top of the beef and chips and pop the whole tray under your broiler for a couple minutes until the cheese is nicely melted (3&4). Remove your tray from the oven and let it cool for a minute.
Our salsa layer comes next but here’s a pro-tip: drain off any liquids from the salsa, and if you like you can even place the salsa onto a plate lined with a few paper towels. Doing this will ensure that no excess liquid is going to settle to the bottom of the tray and make your chips soggy! Sprinkle the salsa over the top of your melted cheese (5) and drizzle your Greek yogurt/sour cream over the top. You can add little blobs or place it into a sandwich bag with the tip snipped off so you can pipe a pretty drizzle. Top with chives and more chopped cilantro if you like (6).
And finally, add three big scoops of your guacamole to the middle for a scoopable treat that finishes our gorgeous cheesy beef nacho tray. Seriously, doesn’t that look both pretty and delicious?!
What Else Can I Add To These Nachos?
While the customization options are endless, here are a few other layers or additions you can add to “beef up” these beefy cheesy nachos!
- Swap your protein – You don’t have to use ground beef, you can use any meat of your choosing – ground or shredded, or if you’re not a fan of meat, omit it on the whole.
- Black beans or pinto beans – Simply drain off a can and rinse your beans and sprinkle them on top or add them to your salsa fresca.
- Bacon – add a few crispy bits of smoked, thickcut bacon for a rich, fatty and salty kick.
- Corn – kernels or fresh sweet corn or even better, roasted corn kernels adds a great touch of sweetness.
- Refried Beans – a layer of refried beans pairs perfectly with this dish and if guacamole isn’t your thing, then refried beans are a great alternative.
- Jalapenos – depending on your heat preference, you can top your nachos with whole slices of jalapenos to really kick things up.
- Black Olives – some people love them other hate them, if you love them then consider adding some to your nachos to take things up a level!
- Red or Green Enchilada Sauce – a drizzle of this stuff over the top of your nachos are divine! Trust us!
The final part is the best part, take your tray to the table and dig in while your cheese is still gooey and warm. Enjoy!
Cheesy Beef Nachos
For Salsa Fresca:
For Beef Layer:
Make the Salsa Fresca:
- To a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salsa fresca together. Fold all the ingredients together and taste test and adjust to suit your preference. Set it aside in the fridge.
Make the Guacamole:
- Gather all the ingredients needed for the guacamole. Halve your avocadoes and remove the stone/seed. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and immediately add the lemon juice and mash together. Fold the other ingredients (salt, jalapenos, onion, cilantro) in and smooth your guacamole into an even layer and press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface like a skin and set the bowl in the fridge.
Make the Ground Beef:
- To a cold skillet, add your ground beef and spices and combine them together. Spread the ground beef out, and cook on med-high heat without disturbing it until the undersides are browned and crispy. Turn your beef and cook until there is no pink remaining. Set it aside to cool until it is no longer releasing any steam.
Assemble your Nachos!
- To a baking tray, or oven-proof dish arrange your corn tortilla chips in a single layer and evenly sprinkle your cooled crispy beef over the chips.
- Sprinkle your cheese over the top of the beef and chips and then place your tray under the broiler setting on your oven for a few minutes until your cheese has fully melted. Remove your tray from the oven and allow it to cool for a minute.
- Sprinkle and even layer of the salsa fresca over the top of the melted cheese (*See notes).
- Top your nachos with a drizzle of Greek Yogurt/sour cream and top with additional cilantro and chives if desired. And finally, add three scoops of guacamole to the middle of your tray or if you prefer, serve it in a dipping bowl on the side.
- Serve and enjoy immediately.
- You can use any semi-hard melting cheese of your choosing. I highly recommend a combination of sharp cheddar and mozzarella. Other great cheeses include pepperjack, Monterey jack or Colby.
- Before you add your salsa fresca to your nachos, drain off any excess liquid and you notice your salsa is too moist, you can place it onto a plate lined with a few paper towels to blot away any excess. The reason for this is that tomatoes are notorious for releasing a lot of liquid and adding that liquid to your nachos will make your chips wet and soggy.
- Another great addition to this recipe are black beans added to your salsa fresca or even refried beans added as a layer!
- This recipe makes a meal for 2 or appetizers for 4. Calories for this recipe are calculated based on 4 servings.