These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic sports food! Grab a plate, turn on the game and enjoy!
Why is root beer called beer? It’s not a beer. It’s a soft drink. Or as we Southerners like to say, a coke. All soft drinks are called coke in the South. Forget ‘pop,’ I call all soft drinks either ‘soda’ or ‘coke.’ It drives Laura nuts. But back to the root beer. It’s not alcoholic, so why the beer name? (To be fair, there are alcoholic root beers out there now, but the traditional root beer is non-alcoholic.)
To answer this question, we have to go way, way back (or just go to the fountain of all knowledge) to the late 1800’s. A Philadelphia pharmacist by the name of Charles Hires invented a tea brewed with sassafras roots and other spices. He initially sold the powdered mixture as ‘root tea,’ but Hires was a smart man. He wanted to tap into the Pennsylvania coal mining community, so he started marketing his creation as ‘root beer.’ The name change worked, and the rest is history.
As an interesting side note, the US Food & Drug Administration actually banned sassafras in 1960 as a suspected carcinogen. Today’s root beers keep with the tradition of sassafras flavors, but they rely on artificially produced sassafras instead.
When we moved up here to upstate New York back in January 2011, we spent the first year exploring the area…and most of our explorations involved stops at local breweries. After all, we were in a new part of the country…we needed to support the local economy! (Or maybe we just needed to sample all of the local beers. Haha.) Either way, we soon discovered that a lot of smaller breweries make non-alcoholic root beer in addition to their lineup of regular beers. Now we often keep a 6-pack of good root beer in our little beer fridge in the basement.
Last weekend, I was craving nachos. Hey, it happens. So I decided to whip up a batch of Ground Beef Nachos for dinner. While I was cooking, I opened up a Saranac root beer and poured it into a frosty mug. (I often keep 1-2 mugs in the freezer for occasions like this.) As I sipped on that ice cold, foamy root beer, I got to thinking about the origins of root beer. And then I got hungry for some nachos!
Ground Beef Nachos
These Ground Beef Nachos are a classic. Aside from the spice mixture for the beef, there really isn’t a recipe needed for nachos. Sure, I guess you might need some general idea of proportions, but it’s really hard to screw up nachos. Well, unless you put too many jalapenos on there. That would screw up nachos.
These Ground Beef Nachos start with a bed of tortilla chips and melted cheese. From there, add in some black beans, tomatoes, tamed jalapenos, green onions and an easy sour cream sauce. (Fun nacho hack: instead of putting a plain spoonful of sour cream on the nachos, mix the sour cream with a bit of the same spice mixture that you use to cook the beef. Talk about a fun flavor boost!)
Even though football season wraps up with the Super Bowl soon, college basketball season is picking up steam. That means there will be plenty of opportunities over the next couple of months to enjoy a batch of these Ground Beef Nachos with a root beer or two. Cheers, friends!
If you make these Ground Beef Nachos, come back and leave a comment! Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).
Looking for more tasty game day foods? Check out these other favorites:
Ground Beef Nachos
For the Beef
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- 16 oz. lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- ½ cup water
For the Nachos
- 1 16-oz. bag tortilla chips
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp milk
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 15-oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 medium tomato diced
- ⅓ cup sliced tamed jalapenos
- green onions sliced
- fresh cilantro chopped
For the Beef
- Using a small bowl, whisk together all spices. (See note.)
- Using a large skillet, add ground beef and onions. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is fully browned; drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Add water and half of the Taco Seasoning to the pan; stir until well combined. Increase heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until liquid has mostly evaporated; set beef aside.
For the Nachos
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread chips evenly across a standard 9”x13” baking pan. Sprinkle both cheeses across top of chips. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the sour cream, milk and remaining half of the spice mixture from above; set sauce aside.
- Top chips with ground beef, sliced onions, black beans, tomatoes and jalapenos. Drizzle sauce on top and then garnish with cilantro and/or green onions. Serve immediately.