Earlier this week I started my AIP seasonings and spice blend series with a recipe for AIP and allergy friendly Taco Seasoning. My goal with this series is to show you guys one of my favorite seasoning mixes each week, then follow up with an easy peasy recipe that uses that week’s featured blend. This week’s simple recipe uses my Taco Seasoning to make these slightly insane Loaded Nachos!
I’m going to tell you a little secret: unless I’m developing a recipe for here or a cookbook, I never, ever measure anything. I’m that annoying “sprinkle of this” and “a dash of that” cook who can’t tell you exactly what they did. Even when I’m making big batches of spice mixes, I usually just eyeball it. Any time I get out my measuring spoons and recipe-holding-notebook, it’s because I love you. But all of these seasoning blends are based on my trusty favorite flavor combinations. They’re the backbone of how I get things done speedily in the kitchen when I just need to throw a meal together right-this-second! Lots of vegetables, a bit of protein, some healthy fat and a spice blend = dinner in under 30 minutes. That’s my kind of kitchen.
I deliberately make up my seasoning mixes without salt so that I can adjust that to taste, depending on what I’m cooking. I really don’t understand the current trend for pre-made mixes that are predominantly either inexpensive salt as filler or glorified garlic powder. It makes no sense to me. When I’m making up a mix, I want to maximize on flavors, not drown myself in a sea of salt. Blech. Making your own blends means that it’s nowhere as pricy as purchasing them and you can adapt them to suit your personal taste, too.
Since this week was Cinco de Mayo, I decided we’d kick it up a gear and make full on loaded nachos! Indeedlydoodly, neighbor! I usually use my Taco Seasoning to make things like taco salad and fajitas, but this national holiday seemed like as good a reason as any to go big or go home. Mr Meatified, unsurprisingly, approved this message. Because, Loaded Nachos.
The key to a good pile of nachos, in my overly opinionated opinion, isn’t really in the starchy base or the meat you use. It’s all about the messiness of eating with your hands. The variety of textures and toppings. And the ultimate satisfaction there is in eating something that is decidedly, lusciously gooey. Yup, gooey. Maybe it’s the reformed dairy whore in me, but without that cheesy, oozy layer that maximizes mess and contrasts completely to the crispiness of a chip, there’s something missing. You have un-nachos. You can add all the toppings in the world, but without the gloriously goopy element, you don’t have nachos, my friend. You’ve got chips and dip. Sorry.
(Can you tell I like alliteration? I like alliteration. It took me a long time to recover from my childhood trauma when I discovered that, in fact, poems that didn’t rhyme were a thing. “You mean you’ve been LYING TO ME THE WHOLE TIME?!” *cue tears and the throwing around of my copy of Revolting Rhymes.*)
So what is the answer to the un-nacho problem? Cheese sauce! But not just any cheese sauce. I am, of course, talking about my Dairy Free Cheese Sauce. It’s totally misleading to call something a dairy free dairy recipe, but I swear it is as close to cheese sauce as you can possibly get while avoiding dairy and without any bizarre ingredients. It’s so good that you could probably put this stuff on a flip flop and it would taste great. But put away those flip flops! Instead, you want to whip up a batch of my cheese sauce and drizzle it all the heck over your nachos. Trust me. It’s the secret. The key to avoiding un-nachos, if you will!
When it comes to making nachos with the right kind of crispiness, you’ll want to splurge on a bag or two of sweet potato chips or plantain strips – just watch out for brands that aren’t cooked in junky, non AIP friendly oils. (I’ve linked you to compliant brands, but you will find them much cheaper if you find them in stores). Then you can load those bad boys up with taco meat, cheese sauce and all the toppings your heart desires! If you want to make more of a meal of things and up the nutrient density of your plate, you can trying using all the nacho fixings piled onto your favorite leafy greens, on top of a baked sweet potato or spooned over your favorite roasted root vegetable wedges.
This recipe was shared over at the AIP Recipe Roundtable.
- 2 tsp / 10 ml avocado oil or tallow
- 1½ tbsp / 8 g AIP Taco Seasoning
- 1 lb / 454 g ground beef
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- BROWN: Over medium heat, add the oil or tallow to a skillet. When the oil is hot, add the Taco Seasoning to the oil and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. Add the ground beef and stir to coat it with the seasoning evenly. Brown until cooked through, breaking up the meat into crumbles with the back of a spoon or spatula a few times as it cooks. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully (the turmeric in the seasoning can stain) transfer the taco meat to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess grease.
- WARM: While the taco meat is cooking, gently warm the Dairy Free Cheese Sauce in a small saucepan. Transfer to a bowl once it's warm.
- ASSEMBLE: Pop all the toppings into individual bowls and serve up family style. Let everybody make up their own Loaded Nachos to suit their taste!
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