Mexican Nachos with Pulled Beef

September 10, 2012


Mexican Nachos.psd

There are few things I love more than nachos. But it’s such a struggle in life because you know if you go out to dinner and order nachos as an appetizer, by the time your meal comes around, you won’t be hungry for it. But still, every time you’re out you conveniently convince yourself this won’t happen again. You’ll control yourself. You’ll share the nachos with the whole table. You’ll only have a few. You’ll definitely save room. But do you ever really? It’s time to stop fooling yourself. I’m not saying you can’t order the nachos. I’m just saying, top them with pulled beef and call them a meal. If nachos are your dinner, then you don’t have to worry about saving room for anything else. Unless it’s dessert. But then, you always have room for dessert.

When Chris and I were on our honeymoon in Los Cabos, Mexico (Swooon. Can we go back yet?? Please??), we ate a lot of nachos. We were on vacation and that’s the kind of thing you do on vacation. Nachos for every meal (and snack) and nobody can tell you you’re being ridiculous. Plus, when you’re all the way in Mexico, nobody can see you being ridiculous. And since Chris vowed to be with me for better or for worse, there was no running away for him when he saw how many nachos I can and did house.

Basically, the nachos we had in Mexico were some of the best we ever had and we were determined to replicate them when we returned home.


We especially loved that they were made with tostadas because who wouldn’t love a giant nacho chip? I was psyched that we stumbled across them at Market Basket upon our return.

Mexican Nachos Chips.jpg

I didn’t take an ingredients shot when making this dish because I was kind of just going with the flow and wasn’t sure exactly what I’d be doing when I started. I’d say they came out pretty much awesome and I will likely be making them again and again. As a complete meal. Why is it that it’s perfectly acceptable to have tacos as a meal, but not nachos? Riddle me that.

Mexican Nachos with Pulled Beef:
Print this recipe!

  • Chuck roast (mine was about 2 lbs. but I didn’t use all of it for the nachos)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tostadas
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Queso blanco, or other spanish cheese
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 avocado
  • Lime juice

While nachos are typically known as quick food, topping them with shredded beef obviously makes them take a little bit longer to prepare. I wanted to make a perfectly shredded roast, so I got a chuck roast and slow cooked it for a few hours. This is one of the times I wish I had a slow cooker. I know; it’s kind of weird that I don’t have one, but I’ve never really gotten the whole slow cooker trend. But for large cuts of meat that you want to cook slowly, I feel like a slow cooker’s the way to go. Plus, I could whip this up while I’m at work! Not so much when you have to use the oven.

Anyway, put the roast, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and bay leaves in a dutch oven, covering with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering dutch oven with its lid. Cook for about 3-4 hours, until the meat is falling apart.

Mexican Nachos Beef.jpg

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and once it’s cool enough to touch, shred the meat with your fingers or a knife. Perfection! Waiting for beef like this is always worth it. Plus, your kitchen will smell phenomenal. I’ve heard that’s another benefit to owning a slow cooker.

Mexican Nachos Beef Shredded.jpg

Now, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet covered in foil, arrange your tostadas. I had mine slightly overlapping.

Mexican Nachos Chips 2.jpg

Layer all your toppings on the chips. You can obviously use ANYTHING you want here. I did a few of my faves.

Like, the brisket, pickled jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onions.

Mexican Nachos Chips to Bake.jpg

And then a nice generous layer of crumbled queso blanco. Feel free to get crazy and improvise.

Mexican Nachos Chips to Bake Cotija.jpg

Pop those babies in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, just until the cheese gets all nice and melty.

Sour cream (or Greek yogurt) is a must on Mexican nachos and I put mine in my frosting squeeze bottle because I wanted to drizzle it on the nachos, instead of adding it in clumps.

Mexican Nachos Sour Cream.jpg

YES, please.

Mexican Nachos 1.jpg

But you can’t forget the guacamole! I’m sorely disappointed if I order nachos somewhere and there’s either a) no guacamole, b) the sorriest little dollop of guacamole you’ve ever seen, or c) an extra charge for guacamole. Guacamole should be a given and every time we ordered nachos in Mexico, it was.

I simply mashed an avocado and mixed it with some salt, pepper, and lime juice.

Mexican Nachos Guacamole 2.jpg

And I got out my Telavera ceramic plate that we got in Mexico. This plate makes me incredibly happy.

Mexican Nachos Mexican Plate.jpg

I moved the nachos from the baking dish to my pretty dish.

Mexican Nachos 2.jpg

And marveled at their beauty. Not exactly like what we had in Mexico, but pretty darn close. All the elements were there and I felt almost like I was back on the beach with not a worry in the world with every bite I had.

Mexican Nachos 3.jpg

Yes, we ate these as a meal. And no, we didn’t regret it. What more could you ask for in a dinner? Oh, a margarita? Good point.

Mexican Nachos 4.jpg

Nachos are one of those staples in life that you always need to be at the ready to prepare. While preparing the beef makes these a little more intensive and not so much “make on a whim,” they’re versatile enough that you can improvise and do whatever you want. Buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it for your protein. Or go meatless and utilize black beans instead.

Mexican Nachos 6.jpg

But whatever you do, you’ve got to have the guacamole. And jalapeños. Lots and lots of jalapeños.

Mexican Nachos 7.jpg

I suppose this meal will hold me over until I can jet off and make another getaway to Mexico. Which means it will probably have to hold me over for quite a while. That’s what happens when you use up all your vacation time on your honeymoon. Which, by the way, already feels like it was 250 years ago. I have yet to understand how a summer can fly by so quickly, yet June feels like so long ago.

Happy Monday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. I’m getting ready to buckle down for a busy one, but I have happy thoughts of the weekend and attending the fabulous Belgian Beer Fest in Boston. Did you know Night Shift Brewing makes a habanero beer? Ah-mazing. Actually, all of their beers were. Every single one. And they’re based in Everett. New favorite! This week, I’ve got to get through tons of work to make my way to Bon Iver on Thursday. Woo hoo!

Do you approve of nachos as a meal?


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29 Responses to "Mexican Nachos with Pulled Beef"

  1. leslie says:

    I do believe that Nachos should be their own food group! These sound amazing. I loved shredded beef!

  2. That is a gorgeous plate of nachos, and yes… I absolutely approve of nachos as a meal every now and then!

  3. Shannon says:

    oh, nachos can totally be dinner, especially when you load them up like this–YUM 🙂

  4. Yes, nachos definitely count as a meal! That plate is beautiful, btw.

  5. I absolutely approve nachos as a meal!

  6. Christina says:

    Smart idea using tostadas! When I make nachos at home, it’s most likely all I’m having for dinner that night. These look pretty substantial as far as nachos go. Mmm, pulled beef.

  7. These look amazing!!! I could eat them for breakfast! ha 🙂

  8. Ashley says:

    Nachos are totally a meal! They’re one of my I-had-a-rough-day-and-need-comfort meals. When my roommate sees me making nachos, she breaks out the beers. Tostadas sound like a awesome variation I’ll have to try soon!

  9. Meghan says:

    Nachos contain all of the food groups, don’t they? I call that a meal! I am a huge nacho fan and am now craving them more than usual. I love that you brought home a little vacay with you. 🙂

  10. I’m pretty sure there’s no better weekend meal than nachos!

  11. RebeccaC says:

    Well, now I’m going to have to have a plate of nachos IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, these look amazing. Also…no slow cooker?? Buy a 4-quart old-school Crock Pot model for $25 at Target. Thats what I have and its perfect. I’ve done everything from deconstructed pot pies to thai pork stew in mine. Its awesome.

  12. Love nachos as a meal! It’s my favorite way to use up leftover taco.fajita meat

  13. Mmmm… pulled beef – that’s fabulous on the nachos!

  14. Reeni says:

    I LOVE that someone else eats nachos for dinner! These are the best! Love that pulled beef.

  15. love that plate! nachos are the best 🙂

  16. These look amazing! I love that you cooked it in a dutch oven instead of a slow cooker. I haven’t hopped on the slow cooker bandwagon either, and I’m always happy when I see recipes that I can do in my big Le Creuset pot 🙂

    Nachos are totally a meal, and I love dining with anyone who agrees!

  17. Victoria says:

    I fully approve of nachos as a meal, especially these nachos 🙂 Beautiful presentation, and I love the dish you served it on!

  18. Juliana says:

    YUM! I love nachos, especially when loaded and the pulled beef looks awesome!
    Have a wonderful week 🙂

  19. Amanda says:

    In Texas we call these chalupas. My stepdad made these for dinner pretty often– especially when my mom was working the nightshift as a nurse! We always put refried beans (usually pinto beans, but black beans can also work) as the bottom layer. You can buy the fresh (soft) corn tortillas and fry them in oil yourself. This way you don’t have any broken ones from the package like when you buy the pre-fried (hard) ones.

  20. Odetta says:

    Can I put an egg on it an have it for breakfast? These look so good- your photos are beautiful!

  21. brandi says:

    i’ll take a plate of these for lunch, please 🙂

  22. Ellen Renee says:

    My husband only orders chicken fajita nachos (on the appetizer menu) from our local mexican restaurant for his meal…each and every time. That plate is beautiful! I would have been tempted to get an entire table setting – I am known to be a dish “hoarder” though :o) !! I don’t use my crockpot often but it is perfect for italian beef (chuck roast) or pulled pork (boston butt) – worth it’s storage spot for sure. I have 2 actually – the cheapie kind that is all one unit (have to be careful about washing it) and then added a much larger size with a pullout crock which makes clean up a breeze. The boston butt wouldn’t fit in the small one!

  23. Sues says:

    @Ellen Renee Trust me, I REALLY wanted an entire table setting, but since we were flying, we didn’t want to take back too much fragile stuff. But now I regret it!

  24. an easy and perfect weeknight meal to soothe even the hungriest of people! and it is awesome for parties. great dish

  25. Aja says:

    You never told us what food you had at your wedding! I’m sure we’d all love to know 🙂

  26. Sues says:

    @Aja- I’m still not certain how I’m going to tell that story! Our photographer sadly took ONE food photo (after we told her about a billion times how important it was to us). We’re really disappointed but are working on getting some amateur photos to her for her to edit…

  27. Asmita says:

    Nacos with pulled beef, I am in.

  28. I love your site~~your blog~~with so many beautiful and amazing pictures in your page~~~you know the point is that your stylish writing is helpful ~

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