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Tacos versus nachos. It’s a timeless rivalry with no clear winner.
I think we can all agree that a basket of crispy things, ready to be smothered in tender, spicy meat and fresh toppings can perk up the most mundane Monday or woeful Wednesday… or Super Bowl Sunday! So why choose?
This recipe combines the best of tacos and nachos — crispy, salty, spicy, sloppy — while ditching the soy, sugar, and grains hidden in most commercial taco seasonings. It’s impossible to argue and stuff chips into your mouth at the same time, so let’s just declare a peace treaty between tacos and nachos. Buen apetito!
Plantain Nachos from Well Fed 2
Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 30 minutes | Whole30 compliant
2 green plantains
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Prep the plantains. Cut off both ends of the plantain, then with the tip of a sharp knife, make shallow slits lengthwise along the skin. Use your fingers to pry off the strips. With a mandoline slicer on its thinnest setting, slice the plantains into coins. Use two wooden spoons to toss the slices in a large bowl with the melted coconut oil.
Bake the plantains. Use four coins to make each “tortilla:” Lay them flat on the baking sheet with edges slightly overlapping and sprinkle with salt. While they bake, the natural starches make them stick together. Bake for about 30 minutes until very crisp and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional salt, if you’re feeling it. Meanwhile…
Make the taco meat. Heat the coconut oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7-10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Add to the onions and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Crumble the ground beef into the pan and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Push the meat to the side of the pan and drop in the tomato paste, frying until it darkens a bit, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and vinegar; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and thickened. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Dig in! Pile the meat on top of the plantain chips and top with your favorite garnishes.
A Few Things You Should Know…
Plantain chips are an excellent go-along with Chocolate Chili and the Plantain Nachos taste great with Lizard Sauce.
Your plantains must be GREEN to make chips. If they turn yellow before you can make the chips, use this recipe instead.
Sometimes I get lazy and just make individual chips instead of the “tostadas” made of multiple chips… and then we just eat a pile of taco meat with the chips alongside. Life is not always as beautifully crafted as photos, you feel me?!
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I have made these nachos twice since I received Well Fed 2 for Christmas. My husband and I can’t get enough of them!
We made these out of well fed 2 and they were awesome!!!! Definitely the best taco meat I’ve ever had!
I’ve got some turnips feeling lonesome in the back of the fridge. Do you think I could make turnips chips instead and use them for nachos?
I have zero experience with turnips — sorry! Did you Google turnip chips?
Wow! Made these for the superbowl after I saw your post. They are fantastic! I had to buy your 2nd book too. Score for both of us 🙂
Hmmmm, I’ll have to try this again. I have a very cheap mandolin and the thinnest setting turn 1 plantain into paper-thin chips that stuck together and then fell apart when separating. So for the 2nd plantain I sliced it thinly with a knife. Well, the paper-thin slices created burnt-to-a-crisp chips and the 2nd plantain created chips that tastes ok but did not really stick together very well. I’ll have to try a different setting on the mandolin because that picture is just way too tempting!
I have had good results with the 2mm blade on my food processor. I like to cut the plantains into thirds and slice them the long way – this makes larger “scooping” chips without having to paste the slices together. The down side is that the food processor leaves a lot of small bits behind so I assemble the bits into disc-shaped piles and they usually stick together in the baking process. The mandoline on my smallest setting works well for me too (with less waste) but the food processor is so fast I usually go for that one. Maybe you just need to slice them a little thicker? Also I find I need to watch them really carefully so they don’t burn, I normally only need to bake them about 20 minutes or so.
A friend and I made this for our Whole 30 completion celebration dinner on the 31st. It was so amazing. I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day. I just couldn’t wait to eat it again.
This is the first recipe of yours that I tried and I LOVE IT!!! The flavors are wonderful. Some of my plantain circles fell apart but I think it was because of the way I overlapped them. Thank you so much for this recipe and I can’t wait to try more!!!
Definitely my favorite recipe from WF2! And hubby-approved for the win! It’s in the meal rotation whenever I can find green plantains.
For my serving, I crumbled 3 liver-ground beef meatballs plus some plain ground beef in a separate pan with the seasonings to pack some extra good stuff for our paleo bun-in-the-oven. I can always taste the liver flavor, but all your wonderful spice combos help make it more palatable. This is one Well-Fed paleo bun – thanks a million for your awesome cookbooks, recipes, and culinary inspiration!
YAY! It’s one of my favorites, too. I make it at least once a week. Love your secret of adding liver to it… very smart! Thanks for stopping by to say hi! Congrats on the upcoming paleo bun 🙂
Yum! Made these last weekend – super tasty! My plantain chips were a little too hard (think I didn’t cut them thin enough) so we tossed them in the bowl with the meat/toppings to soften and ate it like chilli. Good comfort food that feels way more indulgent than it is!
That sounds like an excellent solution! It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with plantains 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!
This was pretty much amazing. The ground beef came out so flavorful. I substituted cabbage for lettuce and sweet potato for the plantains (they’re hard to find green!). My boyfriend hasn’t even realized we’ve been eating Paleo all week…
I WILL be making this, again! Thanks for the recipe!
WOOT! Glad you liked it… and I love when your dining companions don’t realize they’re eating “health.” YAY!
Cannot wait to make this. Do you think you could substitute in pork for the beef and cook it the same way?
Absolutely! Enjoy it!
Thank you for this recipe. I just made it and it turned out delicious! I added some liver, and I couldn’t even taste it (which is good). I was looking for a recipe to sneak liver into.
OMG these nachos are freaking amazing! I made them for dinner tonight and hubby and I were fighting for the last bit!
WOOT! Glad you like them. I love them, too! We eat them at least once a week.
Wow!!!! And again, I say WOW!!! I am a nacho addict and my husband also loves crunchy, savory Mexican dishes. We have both of your cookbooks and they’ve helped us during the month of our first Whole30 food challenge.
As he ate this DELICIOUS dish, my CrossFitter husband kept closing his eyes as they rolled back into his head and he put his hand over his heart while saying, “Mmmm, mmmm…. oh my goodness… wow!” over and over again. He said they were so good, he felt like crying and he also said it was THE Best Plate of Nachos He Has Ever Had. It’s been at least a month since he’s been able to enjoy something like a crunchy chip, and these were very special for him. He also said the way the taco meat was prepared, it was The Best He Has Ever Had and out of all the ways we’ve prepared the ground Black Angus grass-fed meat we bought, THIS was his favorite. I think this will be our new way to prepare taco meat. So, thank you for sharing such a special, delicious, life-changing recipe with us. I am very happy we tried this last night. We’ll be putting this meal in regular meal rotation at home!
I’m so happy that you both liked them. The plantain chips come in really handy! I’ve been making them to eat with Chocolate Chili was Well Fed, too. Crazy good! You can also crush them into scrambled eggs with some jalapenos… yummy.
Thanks for letting me know this recipe was a hit! Congratulations on Whole30-ing!
I made these tonight for dinner…holy cow where has this recipe been all my life??? These nachos were so incredibly amazing! I topped mine with cilantro, tomatoes, and kraut…hubs topped his with cheese, cilantro, and jalapenos. They were SO yummy! They got two thumbs up from the hubs…who btw is not health conscious by any stretch of the imagination…his exact words were “these are definitely going in the regular rotation” 🙂 Thanks Melissa!
Right on! Glad they were a hit. They’re a staple in our house, too! I usually make a batch of plantain chips when we have Chocolate Chili!
May be the best paleo recipe I have had to date. My mom, who loves Ortega, even enjoyed it. It is so good I have shared the recipe with all my gluten free friends!!
YUM!!!! Made these for the first time. Doubled the recipe. So glad I did that. however, my 2nd goal is weight loss … So, I need to find a less starchy very to do these. Suggestions?
You can use lettuce cups instead of the plantain chips — or put the taco meat on a big salad.
Never, ever accidentally dip plantain chips in your sunshine sauce.
I’m making an extra-big batch of both for my next party, I expect there will be no survivors.
Made these tonight and will FOR SURE be making them again! A lot! I have been really watching my portions lately, but I stuffed myself with these tonight. Oops. But they were too good I couldn’t stop!
i would like to copy a few of your recipes to post in a small group I have formed on Face book for family recipe sharing. Is it possible to get your permission to do that.
You’re welcome to share the photos, a list of ingredients, and a LINK BACK to my site for the full recipe, but I prefer that you not re-print my entire recipe. Thanks for asking!
I make this meat regularly for all kinds of Mexican dishes. It’s so good, and most pre-made taco meat blends have soy, which I’m allergic to. This one is great! This week, I’ll be adding it to some eggs with some salsa and avo for a protein-packed breakfast. Also, if it’s not a “food without brakes” for you, Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips work nicely with this recipe. Or top some of this taco meat on shredded cabbage with just a few Plantains on top. YUM, and thanks Mel!
Really glad you like this one! Thanks for the tip on the Trader Joe’s chips!
Sounds like there are never any leftovers, but I was wondering if you can make this ahead of time…How long would they keep? And would they need to be refrigerated, and how would you reheat?
The meat is good in the fridge for up to 5-6 days, and you can chop raw veg and store in a covered container for about the same amount of time. The plantain chips taste best when eaten right away. If you’re not too picky about crunch, you could make them 1 day in advance.
Do you think this would work with coconut oil spray instead of tossing them in oil? I would try it, but don’t have any type of oil spray. I did see it on Thrive market site. In any case, they turned out really good. Everything I have made from your recipes has been a success. Very Happy with my results. I didn’t make the taco meat though, I had left over Cincinnati Chili and it was delicious. Does that make it a new ‘way’?
I’ve tried it with spray and it works, but not as well as tossing them with the melted fat. They get more dehydrated, less “fried.”
We are up in Washington, and were given a bunch of venison. Learning how to cook such a lean meat! But I mixed the venison and some ground beef (also fresh, not market stuff!) for the taco meat, and man oh man was it delicious! I think I’ll just make the plantains just individual chips instead of four together next time. In fact, I think I’ll be making plantain chips an awful lot now! Thanks so much!!
I am a total plantain addict; it’s true! Glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂