These easy vegetarian campfire nachos are made with tortilla chips, cheese, beans, and a quick garlic sauce, and then cooked in a pan over a fire. Perfect for camping and cookouts!
Who else loves cooking over a campfire?
I love the subtle smoky flavor in the food, plus eating outdoors is pretty fabulous.
This summer, we built a campfire ring in our backyard, and I’ve been cooking outside as often as possible!
I love these nachos because they’re an easy, quick meal that’s perfect for camping or backyard cookouts.
What Equipment Do I Need?
You need access to a campfire ring.
If your campfire ring does not include a grate, you’ll need to use a portable campfire grate.
You’ll also need a large campfire-safe pan, such as a cast-iron pan or a carbon steel pan. I use this Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet, and prefer it over cast iron because it’s lighter.
It’s helpful to have a table nearby (like a picnic table) to help prepare the ingredients.
You’ll also need aluminum foil, a cutting board, a knife, and an oven mitt.
What Tortilla Chips are Best for Campfire Nachos?
I recommend buying sturdy tortilla chips, not thin delicate ones, because the thin ones will break under the weight of the toppings. In my experience, organic chips marked yellow corn or blue corn tend to be the sturdiest.
We like Trader Joe’s organic tortilla chips (pictured) and I also stock up on organic tortilla chips from Thrive Market.
Can I Use Pre-Shredded Cheese?
You can, but if at all possible, don’t.
I recommend buying a block of cheese and shredding it right before you make the nachos.
Freshly shredded cheese melts faster than pre-shredded cheese. Really, almost twice as fast!
That said, I have successfully made campfire nachos with store-bought pre-shredded cheese. It took longer but worked.
How to Make Vegetarian Nachos Hearty
Instead of ground beef, this nachos recipe calls for canned beans.
I think it’s a delightful swap.
The beans add some heft to the meal, meaning you won’t be left hungry after dinner.
How to Make Campfire Nachos
Start by making a campfire, or have someone else do it while you prepare the food! You’ll want to cook over smoldering embers, not large flames.
While the fire is heating up, start making the nachos.
Layer the pan with chips, and then spread the cheese across your chips.
Next, start adding more ingredients.
I used beans, black olives, diced tomatoes, avocado, pickled jalapeños, and diced green onion.
Next, cover the pan with foil. Avoid using an actual lid, because it will create steam and make your chips soggy.
Set the pan on the campfire grate.
Cook the nachos for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
While the nachos cook, whisk together the garlic sauce. You’ll use garlic, plain yogurt, salt, and a little lemon juice.
If you want to skip the garlic sauce, use sour cream instead.
When the cheese is melted, drizzle the garlic sauce on top, along with a little hot sauce and salsa.
Remove the nachos from the fire. If you don’t have a trivet or hot pad, you can set the pan on a wooden picnic table or the edge of a stone campfire ring.
Scoop the nachos onto plates, and dig in!
- cast iron pan (or carbon steel pan)
- cutting board
- knife (for dicing veggies)
- 8 ounces tortilla chips (Half of a 16oz bag)
- 6 ounces pepperjack or Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated Use more if desired
- 14 ounces can black or pinto beans, drained
- 2 ounces sliced black olives (Half of a 4oz can)
- 1 tomato, diced (optional) Skip if out of season
- 1 avocado, diced
- ⅛ cup pickled jalapeños
- 2 green onions, finely diced (green tops only)
Garlic Sauce (Optional):
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ lemon, juiced
Extra Toppings (Optional):
- hot sauce
- Prepare campfire:Heat coals until they are very hot, or let a campfire burn down until the wood is smoldering but without active flames. If using a portable campfire grate, add it to the campfire ring.Prepare nachos:Add chips to a cast-iron or carbon steel pan. Top with the cheese.
- Add the remaining nacho toppings. (Don't add the yogurt sauce, hot sauce, or salsa yet.)
- Cover the nachos with foil and place onto the campfire grate.Cook nachos for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.If you're using pre-grated cheese, it will take longer to melt (about 15 minutes).
- Uncover the nachos. Add the garlic sauce and any additional toppings, and serve immediately.