Movie Night Nachos – gluten free, vegetarian

Ed Thomson

Serves 4-6 people

Friday night is movie night in our house and it’s my favourite night of the weekend.  Hopefully there are not too many plans over the weekend and I look forward to sitting on the sofa and watching a fun movie together.  I still try to serve a healthy meal with vegetables but they are pretty well hidden under the corn chips and melted cheese.

This nacho’s dish has been a family favourite for years and I am also super pleased to let you know its meat free.  We are all trying to do our thing for the environment (along with the other million things….) and eating less meat does have a possitive impact.  You can add any minced or slow cooked meat if you like but this dish is super tasty as is.

Note also that this version is the family friendly one, so we are leaving out any spice or heat in the dish until the end where I basically drizzle the adults versions with hot sauce and jalapeño chillies.

T & T Tip Instead of making one large tray, I have small individual oven proof dishes that I make for each family member.  When they come out of the oven, I let them rest for a few minutes and I wrap them up in a clean tea towel which also acts as a giant napkin.  Also, the individual nature means you can flavour the adult ones with heaps of herbs and hot sauce without kids complaints.

I usually make double quantity of this sauce as it freezes well in airtight containers and makes Friday night after work even easier.


  • Sauce
    • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
    • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped finely
    • 100 gm (1 cup) Onion, chopped finely
    • 130 gm (1 cup) Carrot, chopped finely or grated
    • 120 gm (1 cup) Celery, chopped finely
    • 1 x 400gm (14 oz) can Red kidney beans, any fully cooked or canned pulse/ bean works well
    • 2 x 400gm (14 oz) can Tomatoes, crushed
    • To taste: Salt & pepper


    • 2-300gm (2-4 cups) Mozzarella or any other melting cheese you have, grated
    • 1 bag of Corn chips, try to buy unflavoured plain ones.


    Optional ingredients for the sauce

    • To add spice: 2 teaspoons each, chilli powder, coriander, cumin – add when sautéing onions at beginning
    • To add meat: 300gm minced meat of your choice – add after onions have been sautéed for first 10-15 minutes and cook for 5 minutes stirring.
    • For extra vegetables: 1-2 cups cabbage, kale, spinach, frozen peas, green beans, zucchini/ courgette, pumpkin – grated or finely chopped


    Toppings for serving

    • Hot sauce or any chilli sauce you have
    • Jalapeño chillies, sliced
    • Olives, sliced
    • Coriander leaves
    • Lime wedges
    • Guacamole or sliced avocado

    Fresh buffalo curd or sour cream


In a heavy based medium sized saucepan, add the oil, garlic, onion, carrot, celery and any extra vegetables or spices if using.

Sauté for 10-15 minutes on a medium to low heat until the onions are translucent and the carrot looks soft but not mushy.

Add the beans (and meat if using) and continue cooking at the same heat for a few minutes, add the tinned tomatoes and their juices.  Fill one tin to ¼ of water, swish it around and tip this into each of the remaining tins to swish out every drop of tomato juice. Tip into the pan.

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes minimum and up to 2 hours. I like to cook it long and slow.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C – 356 F .

Get your baking dishes or one large tray out, then add a few big spoonful’s of sauce into the base of each dish.  Open the corn chips and spike them through the sauce trying to have them standing up.  Sprinkle the cheese through making sure you get it around the corn chips.

I then blob a few extra bits of sauce, then some extra corn chips and finally lots more cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and nachos are bubbling.

As the dishes cool a little before I can wrap into tea towel to give to the little people, I pimp the adult versions with hot sauce, guacamole, fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime.

Photography: Ed Thomson
Stylist: Ed Thomson
Props: by stylist

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