Comfort Food Makeover: Spicy Pork and Black Bean Nachos

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Food at our house this week post-Blogher has been …should we say, resourceful? Since we were both out of town over the weekend ($$) and eating more than a little off our normal diets (Remember my smoothie? Well Neil literally partook from a batch of Fast Food Lasagna at a BBQ), we decided to reign in our spending and food intake and come up with whatever we could with what we had in our pantry .

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I know what you’re thinking. Nachos? Really? Yes Nachos, but lighter Nachos. We were definitely craving comfort food, just not with all the “blah” feeling you typically get after a big meal. These nachos still have that salty-cheesy taste you crave in comfort food, but are made with lean ground pork, black beans and heaps of veggies.

Ingredients:

For the Pork:
1-pound lean ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 15.5-oz can of black beans
2 cups rice, prepared, according to instructions

Additional toppings:
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato or salsa
1 cup diced avocado
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups mixed greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
6 ounces sturdy tortilla chips (8 cups)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
2 jalapeƱo peppers, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. To make seasoning: Mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and crumble with wooden spoon. Add seasoning (see Step 1). Cook meat 5 minutes, then stir in beans and prepared rice and reduce heat to low.
  3. To prepare avocado: Peel, de-pit and slice avocado into bite-size pieces. Place in a small bowl and slowly add lemon juice and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  4. To prepare greens: Mix greens with cilantro, olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  5. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on a large rimmed plate or bowl or two smaller plates or bowls. Top evenly with pork/bean mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Top evenly with greens and avocado mixtures, tomatoes and jalapenos. Serve immediately.
  6. Optional: You can also throw these nachos in the oven for a few minutes. To do so, arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Top evenly with pork/bean mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Broil for 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with greens and avocado mixtures, tomato and jalapenos and serve immediately.

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You can never go wrong with nachos. They ended up being more of a taco salad with all the greens I threw in, but they were the perfect way to unwind after the double-days I feel like we’ve put in to catch up this week. The good news is I think we’re finally caught up, and it’s nice to have the weekend ahead of us to relax and get a little more done.

Have you ever tried to give your favorite comfort food a makeover? Was it just as good as the “real thing”?