So, something I’ve never really discussed on the blog before is the fact that I really like to cook.
I know. Totally unexpected based on how a) lazy and b) busy I am. But I generally make at least a little time for it each day and the rhythm of chopping and mixing and stirring can be a great de-stressor.
Because I’m in an apartment this year, I’ve been cooking a lot more for myself than I did the first couple years of college. Fortunately, this is really fun. Unfortunately, the “a little time” I can make for it each day isn’t a ton. So I’ve taken to making a few meals that use the same core ingredients most days, with a little more variety on the days I’m less busy.
One of my favorite things to make for dinner is black bean nachos. The black beans taste good and pack a lot of protein, while the red bell pepper adds a little sweetness which the baby arugula leaves counter with their peppery flavor. Also: it involves cheese. (Need I say more?)
Black bean nachos are a super easy and fairly cheap dish (yay). Let’s get started.
What You’ll Need
- One can of black beans
- One red bell pepper
- One thing of baby arugula leaves
- Tortilla chips (I looove these black bean ones)
- Shredded “Mexican” cheese mix
- Olive oil
- Seasoned salt
- Cutting board
- Sauce pan
- Frying pan (and something to keep the grease from attacking your kitchen)
- Microwave-safe plate
- A love for all things edible
The Road to El Deliciousness
1. Pour about a quarter of the can of black beans in your sauce pan (making sure the beans have enough of their black bean sauce stuff with them in the pan to cover them) and put on the stove, medium temperature. Once this reaches a low boil, set to the side.
2. This is where the sink comes in: wash your red bell pepper and about a handful of baby arugula leaves. (I know. Craziness.) Once that nifty step is done, chop up about a third of the red bell pepper so the pieces are about the size of your pinky nail. (Cooking with Julia is an exact science.) Either cut or tear off the stems of your baby arugula, then cut or tear the leaves in half.
3. Prepare your frying pan by pouring in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Put on the stove at high temperature. Add the red bell pepper and place the arugula in a layer atop it. Add seasoned salt as desired. Cover the pan with your grease catcher thingy until the olive oil begins to pop and snap. Then, add your black beans (making sure not to bring much of the black bean sauce stuff with them) and stir with the spatula. Turn down the burner to medium temperature and, stirring occasionally, let this all fry together with the grease catcher on top until the black beans start to look slightly shriveled. (But not burned! DO NOT BURN THE BLACK BEANS, WHATEVER YOU DO. YOU WILL HATE YOURSELF FOR ALL ETERNITY IF YOU DO.) While this is frying, place a layer of the tortilla chips on your microwave-safe plate.
4. Pour your frying pan mixture over the tortilla chips. Be careful not to add the olive oil. Cover the black beans and veggies and tortilla chips with a thick layer of the shredded cheese mix, so that you can barely see what’s below it.
5. Pop this in the microwave on high for approximately one minute. (If you can hear the cheese sizzling, you are doing your job right. But also make sure not to burn it. Of the three microwaves I’ve regularly made nachos with over the course of the past few years, they’ve all required different amounts of time for the cheese to melt, so this’ll probably take a little experimentation.) Let the nachos sit in the microwave for a minute or two more, for maximum cheese meltage, then:
6. Enjoy those delicious black bean nachos!
(Protip: usually when I make these, I eat them with a bowl of green grapes and a glass of water.)