composed nachos

These alone are almost a meal. When artfully arranged as described below, they are beautiful and look like a sunflower—a picture really worth eating. The crispy, cheesy nachos serve as a scooper for the guacamole, refried beans, and garnish.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, crisp-fried or baked
1 cup mixed shredded Monterey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh or pickled jalapeño chiles, or to taste
½ cup Guacamole
½ cup Refried Beans
2 tablespoons each chopped onion, fresh tomato, and ripe olives
2 tablespoons dairy sour cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet topped with a smaller sheet. Bake 5 minutes, then remove the top, smaller sheet pan and finish baking about 8 more minutes or until crisp. Prepare Guacamole and Refried Beans. Generously sprinkle cheeses on tortillas. Bake about 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.

Cut each cheesed tortilla into four pieces. Arrange them on a large round plate or platter, placing them in an overlapping chain—the point of one slightly overlapping the top of the next. Position a mound of Guacamole in the center of the platter. Spoon a circle of beans around the outside edge of the Guacamole. Garnish with jalapeño slices, onion, tomato, and olives. Top beans with sour cream, if desired.

An internationally recognized authority on the regional cooking of the American Southwest, Jane Butel has published 18 cookbooks, including several bestsellers. She operates a full-participation weekend and week-long vacation cooking school; an online school; a mail-order spice, cookbook, and Southwestern product business; and conducts culinary tours and team-building classes. Through her writing, teaching, and television projects, Butel seasons the country’s melting pot with the Southwest’s rich culinary, cultural, and historical heritage. Learn more at