Oh my gosh. Hold me.
I am IN LOVE with these nachos. They are crazy good. They’re packed with so much flavor and texture. They’re festive and fun (when are nachos not?!). And so, so delicious.
I am back to talk more about Cinco de Mayo. I am seriously sad that this year will be celebrated in isolation, but at least we can make our at-home celebrations as festive as possible. Nachos are where it’s at, guys. Nachos and margaritas. Trust me.
Thinking along those lines, I topped these with a MARGARITA flavored pulled pork. Yes! Lots of lime juice, spices, and tequila make this pork crazy flavorful and bright. It’s zesty and juicy in all the best ways. Dan and I couldn’t stop eating it right out of the slow cooker.
I recommend starting the pork in the morning OR even making it a day or two ahead. It holds up great in the fridge for several days. And since pulled pork takes hours to make (mostly inactive time!), it’s best to be prepared so that your fiesta is as low key as possible. Added stress is the last thing any of us need right now.
On top of the pork goes lots of cheese and our favorite nacho toppings: tomatoes, red onion, scallions, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice. You can mix and match however you like – use what you have on hand or whatever you usually love on your nachos! Dan and I both think fresh corn kernels would be HEAVEN on these, but we’ll have to wait until corn is in season this summer. When that happens, you better believe corn will be making an appearance on these.
I think the key to great nachos, no matter the kind, is to reserve half of your fresh toppings for AFTER the nachos are baked. Yup. Put half those tomatoes, red onions, scallions, and pickled jalapeños on there with the cheese. Bake them until mouthwateringly gooey. And then top with the remaining half of the toppings. The combo of warm/cold, fresh/cooked, and soft/crunchy is what makes this method magic.
Trust me. This is the only way to do things! I guarantee that once you try this method, you’ll never go back to baking all of your toppings.
To take these over the top (because when you’re going to go big, just COMMIT), we’re making an avocado ranch crema to drizzle all over the cheesy, gooey nachos when they’re hot out of the oven. I personally adore ranch drizzled on most things, especially nachos (case in point – these happen at least twice a month in our household). It cools things down and adds a creamy element that I love. So! I added it here to our crema.
If you don’t get down with ranch, then you can just leave it out! The avocado and sour cream/yogurt mixture will still be fab. Up to you. Just make sure you add lots of fresh lime juice to pump up that flavor!
The crema comes together in the food processor, which means that it’s basically a no-brainer, foolproof sauce. I love to thin it out just a touch right before I’m going to serve the nachos so that I can easily drizzle it over everything. The crema is also awesome as a veggie or chip dip. Just sayin’. Basic and simple but insanely good.
The finishing touch is a sprinkling of cilantro and a healthy spritz of fresh lime juice.
This is another one of my nacho secrets. Lime juice MAKES them. I promise you, it makes any nacho taste better. It brightens everything up, adds a touch of moisture, and in this case, amps up that margarita theme even more.
Dan does not like fresh citrus in most things, and even he admits that the lime juice I squeeze over every single pan of nachos that we eat at home is what makes them special. When we’re out of limes (a travesty!), we both notice that it’s missing. I’m telling you, it makes them complete.
Another example: my brother-in-law doesn’t like fresh lime juice in excess either, and he was very apprehensive when he first watched me juice a lime over top of a pan of nachos. And then. He devoured them. AND declared them some of the best nachos he’s ever had.
And guess what? Now he makes his own nachos with fresh lime juice spritzed over top.
Just trust me. Get some limes. Make it happen.
You can thank me later.
In the meantime, please add these to your Cinco de Mayo recipe list! They are a fiesta in every bite and will brighten your spirits just when you need it most!Print
These Margarita Pulled Pork Nachos with Avocado Ranch Crema are a fiesta for your mouth! Tangy, lime-tequila pulled pork piled high on chips with cheese and all the fresh toppings and finished off with a quick and easy avocado ranch crema drizzle — these are to die for! All that’s missing is a salty-rimmed margarita to wash ’em down with!
For the Margarita Pulled Pork:
- Juice and zest of 2 limes
- Juice of ½ an orange
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup silver tequila
- 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3-inch pieces
For the Avocado Crema:
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup ranch dressing
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Dash of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Nachos:
- 1 (15-oz) bag tortilla chips
- 2½ cups shredded cheese (I like a mix of sharp cheddar and monterey jack)
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- ¼ cup finely diced scallions
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped pickled jalapenos (fresh also works!)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped or torn
- Lime wedges
- Cotija or queso fresco, crumbled (feta works in a pinch!)
For the Pork:
- In the bottom of a slow cooker, combine all the ingredients (lime juice/zest through tequila), whisking well to combine.
- Add the pork pieces and turn so they are evenly coated in the seasonings.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or until the pork is fall-apart tender. If you are able to do so, turn the pork pieces once or twice during this time.
- Spoon ¼ cup of the cooking juices into a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk in the cornstarch until smooth. Add the mixture back into the pot with the pork and stir to combine.
- Increase the heat setting to “Simmer” and cook until the juices are thickened. Alternatively, if your slow cooker does not have this function, transfer all of the cooking juices to a small pot and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer on the stove until thickened.
- Shred the pork right in the pot and stir to evenly coat in the reduced juices.
- Keep warm until you are ready to make the nachos. The pork can be made several days ahead and stored in the fridge. Warm it up in the microwave before using it on the nachos.
For the Avocado Crema:
- Place the avocado, sour cream/yogurt, ranch dressing, and lime zest/juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.
- Season, to taste, with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
- If needed, thin the sauce a little bit with a splash of milk or water to make it easier to drizzle.
For the Nachos:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment.
- Spread the chips out in an even layer.
- Top the chips with the pork and shredded cheeses. Add half of the red onion, scallions, cherry tomatoes, and jalapenos to the cheese. Sprinkle everything with a little bit of salt.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until everything is warmed through and the cheese is melted and gooey.
- Remove from the oven and top with the remaining onion, scallion, tomatoes, and jalapenos.
- Drizzle the avocado crema over top (use as much or as little as you like) and then garnish with cilantro, cotija/queso fresco, and another spritz of lime juice.
- Serve immediately with additional lime wedges on the side.
This recipe will yield leftover pork and avocado crema. Keep both in the fridge for up to a week.
- Category: appetizers
Keywords: margarita pulled pork, margarita pulled pork nachos, pulled pork nachos, avocado ranch crema, avocado crema