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Garlic Spinach Nachos

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 32 mins
  • Yield: 2 as an entrée, 4 as an appetizer 1x


A simple, Italian twist on nachos to pleasantly surprise your game day crew. They also have enough veggies and protein, via quick and flavorful refried beans (sans bacon) to justify eating nachos for dinner.




  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 C small chopped yellow onion
  • 6 oz. (1 bag) baby spinach, roughly chopped

Refried beans (makes 2 1/2 C)

  • 1 T olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 C small chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 t smoked paprika
  • 3 C cooked pinto beans (see notes)
  • 1/3 C bean cooking liquid, water, or vegetable stock

Everything else

  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 oz. blue corn tortilla chips (about 45 chips)
  • 2 C coarsely grated Monterey jack or fontina cheese (I used a mix of both)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Salsa (optional)


  1. Make the spinach: Heat oil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet over medium low heat. Add and sauté smashed garlic clove until browned. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove browned garlic and add minced garlic. Cook 15 seconds until fragrant, then add spinach. Cook briefly until wilted, season with salt and pepper, then remove to a bowl.
  2. Make the beans: Heat oil and butter in the skillet from the spinach over medium (no need to wipe it out). Add onion and fry until softened and browned. Add garlic, oregano, and spices and cook a minute or two, until fragrant but not burned. Add beans and 1/4 cup liquid and stir to remove any spices stuck to the pan. Reduce heat and mash beans with a potato masher until it forms a thick, chunky paste. Add remaining liquid if needed to reach desired consistency–to your preference. The thickness of mashed potatoes is a good starting point. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm in the skillet or refrigerate until needed, if making ahead. Refresh with more liquid over low heat if beans become dry.
  3. To assemble nachos, preheat oven to 375 (F). Drain excess liquid from the spinach. Line a quarter sheet pan (or two of the cute little ones in the pictures) with foil or parchment and make a single layer of chips. Top with 2/3 cup cheese, remaining chips, another 2/3 cup cheese, all the spinach, and a final sprinkling of cheese. Bake 5 to 7 minutes on middle rack, until cheese is melted. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, tomatoes, and chopped parsley and add two scoops of refried beans. Serve chips right on the tray, or remove to a serving platter or plate (if serving to kids or intoxicated adults).


Refried beans recipe inspired by Lisa Fain.

You can totally use canned pinto beans. I had spare time and a bag of dried pinto beans in the pantry, so I soaked the beans overnight then boiled them with some big chunks of white onion, a smashed garlic clove (or two?), and a couple teaspoons of kosher salt. If you have time, go for the scratch-made beans: it adds tons of flavor.

As written, the recipe is vegetarian (ensure your cheese doesn’t contain animal rennet), meatless, and gluten-free.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 mins
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: American