Nachos are one of my favorite indulgences. If I see them on a pub menu they are automatically under consideration. Who am I kidding? They are automatically on the table. But as much as I love ordering them, I adore making them at home more. Why? Because I have full control over my nacho destiny. I can make the nachos I want to see in the world. And right now I want to see these Chickpea Sheet Pan Nachos. This technicolor dream boat features blue corn tortilla chips topped with saucy gochujang and smoked paprika chickpeas, gooey cheese, a radish and mango salsa, pickled red onions, avocado, and a sprinkle of Tajín. This is the stuff of pub grub dreams, so let’s make it.
I could pretend to be chic and say this platter was made for a party but it wasn’t. Would it make for great party food? Absolutely! Invite friends around, discourage them from wearing white, and go to town. But when I make sheet pan nachos, it’s usually my “I give up” meal. What do I mean by an “I give up” meal? Well, it’s definitely not as dire as it sounds. I generally make meals like this when the week has been particularly draining and I want to baby myself and eat something that could qualify as “junk food” for dinner.
My mom’s “I give up” meal was apple crisp. Yes, apple crisp. I should preface this by saying I grew up in a household with homemade whole wheat bread and a fruit bowl that was never empty. Sugary cereal was contraband, and I raided my friend’s pantries for every processed fruit snack I could get my hands on. But sometimes my mom snapped and made apple crisp and a tub of vanilla ice cream would emerge from the freezer where no ice cream had been before. I relished those nights as a child not realizing my mom was probably hanging on by a thread.
Now I realize there is probably too much chopping in this recipe for it to be truly a give-up meal. When I’m alone, it’s usually a bag of tortilla chips, some shredded sharp cheddar and banana peppers. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. But with these Chickpea Sheet Pan Nachos, I wanted to capture the cozy, low-key vibes of my low-rent, no-one-here-to-judge-me nachos and make them company friendly. But make no mistake, the nachos that are featured in these photos were consumed by two people in their pj’s on a couch watching YouTube clips. Just trying to be authentic.
Anyway, now that we’ve talked about how these nachos were consumed, let’s talk about how to make them. I know, thank goodness she’s moving on, right?! We’re going to kick things off with the pickled red onion, so it has the maximum amount of time to pickle. You can do this the day before and have a punchier pickle. But I did these onions the day off and quite liked the lightly pickled flavor.
Take half a red onion or a small red onion and slice it into half moons. Pile the onions in a bowl and combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture over the onions and set it aside to pickle at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the recipe. That is really and truly it. You can of course fancy up your pickling liquid by simmering it with some whole aromatics, but there is so much going on in these Chickpea Sheet Pan Nachos that pickle nuance is liable to be lost.
Now, let’s talk chickpeas. You can use dried, soaked chickpeas for this or you can use canned. It doesn’t really make a difference flavor-wise in my opinion. I do prefer the texture of dried, soaked chickpeas but it’s only marginally better. And the canned chickpeas do cook much quicker, which is a virtue when you’re keen to eat nachos. Start by sautéing the other half of the red onion and add garlic and ginger. Yes, that does mean a little light mincing. Sauté until fragrant. Add your chickpeas, gochujang, smoked paprika, vegetable stock, and a little honey for balance. Simmer until the chickpeas are tender and the sauce is good and, well, saucy. Have a little more veggie stock handy in case the pan starts to look a little dry before your chickpeas have achieved their ideal texture.
While the chickpeas are simmering and the onions are pickling, we’re going to tackle the salsa. Welcome to the most chop-heavy portion of the recipe. You will be chopping radishes, mango, jalapeños, cilantro, and garlic. It’s a packed roster but again, this is a portion of the recipe you can make a day in advance. In fact, I encourage it. Salsa is one of those dishes that benefit from a day or two of marination. But when it comes to nachos, I don’t generally plan ahead, so freshly made salsa it is. Pile all your perfectly chopped fruit and veg into a bowl and add lime juice, salt, and cumin and give it a good toss and stir. And that’s your salsa.
Now let’s talk assembly. Grab the largest baking sheet you have and line it with parchment paper. Place tortilla chips in an even layer on top. I used blue corn tortilla chips (currently obsessed with these) but feel free to use whatever chips speak to you. Top the chips with alternating layers of the chickpeas and cheese. I went with shredded Oaxaca cheese. It’s a great cheese-pull cheese. If you can’t find it, low-moisture mozzarella (classic pizza mozzarella) is a good substitute. But feel free to swap both of these options out for cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a combo of all of the above. This is definitely a choose-your-own-adventure moment.
Once the cheese and chickpeas are on there, pop the nachos under the broiler. Only broil for as long as it takes for the cheese to melt and bubble. Take the nachos out of the oven and top them with salsa, pickled red onions, avocado, and a sprinkling of Tajín. Either serve to a crowd or serve it to you and your honey on movie night. There’s never a bad time for nachos.
And that’s everything you need to know about these Chickpea Sheet Pan Nachos. A fully-loaded snack platter that brings a kaleidoscope of colors and a plethora of bold flavors.
Chickpea Sheet Pan Nachos
- 1 Large baking sheet
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
Pickled Red Onions
- ½ red onion sliced
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- ½ red onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 2 (540ml, 19oz) cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp gochujang
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 lime juiced
Radish Mango Salsa
- 5 large radishes finely diced
- 1 ataulfo mango peeled and finely diced
- 1-2 jalapeños quartered and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
- 300g (10.5oz) Oaxaca cheese** shredded
- 1 batch Saucy Chickpeas see above
- ⅛ red cabbage shredded on a mandoline
- 1 batch Radish Mango Salsa see above
- 1 batch Pickled Red Onions see above
- 1 avocado diced
- Tajín for sprinkling
For the Pickled Onions
- Place the onions in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk to combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the mixture over the onions and set aside to pickle at room temperature for at least an hour.½ red onion, ½ cup white vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt
For the Saucy Chickpeas
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet until shimmering. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté until just translucent. Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute more.2 tbsp neutral oil, ½ red onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp ginger
- Add the chickpeas to the skillet and pour in the vegetable stock and soy sauce. Stir in the gochujang, honey, and smoked paprika. Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce to a spirited simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the chickpeas are saucy.2 (540ml, 19oz) cans chickpeas, 1½ cups vegetable stock, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tbsp gochujang, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tsp smoked paprika
- Take the chickpeas off of the heat and stir in the lime juice. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.1 lime
For the Salsa
- Place the radishes, mango, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the salt, cumin, and lime juice and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve.5 large radishes, 1 ataulfo mango, 1-2 jalapeños, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup cilantro, 1 lime, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground cumin
- Arrange the tortilla chips on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure the chips are in an even layer.1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
- Cover the chips with half of the cheese, followed by half of the chickpeas. Add the remaining cheese and chickpeas in that order and place the nachos under the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.300g (10.5oz) Oaxaca cheese**, 1 batch Saucy Chickpeas
- Take the nachos out of the oven and top with the cabbage, Radish Mango Salsa, pickled red onions, avocado, and a sprinkling of Tajín. Serve immediately!1 batch Radish Mango Salsa, 1 batch Pickled Red Onions, 1 avocado, Tajín, ⅛ red cabbage