Pesto-Shrimp Nachos

Shrimp Pesto Nachos | windykitchen

Not that you’d know it from the weather, but today is the first day of May! And if we can’t celebrate with sunshine and flowers and even moderately temperate weather, at least we can look forward to the fact that Sunday is Cinco de Mayo and an excellent excuse to chow down on the Mexican food of your choice.

These nachos are a great option if you want Mexican food on the lighter side — but not too light. Ever since these awesome enchiladas, I’ve been obsessed with the shrimp/Mexican combo, and I wanted to bring that to my favorite (if inauthentic) Mexican dish: nachos. I’ve also been experimenting with different types of homemade pesto, and I thought this cilantro-based pesto would be perfect. It brings a ton of flavor without weighing the nachos down with lots of heavy ingredients that make the chips soggy. Because we all know that soggy chips are the quickest way to ruin otherwise delicious nachos…

Shrimp Pesto Nachos | windykitchen

PESTO-SHRIMP NACHOS (windykitchen original; pesto adapted from All Recipes)

For the pesto:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
3 tbsp pine nuts
5 cloves garlic, pressed
juice of one lime (about 1 tbsp)
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you want less heat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
olive oil (about 1/4 cup – can sub in greek yogurt for a portion of the olive oil to lighten things up)

For the nachos:
1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails removed
Mexican/Southwestern seasoning blend (or mix of cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt)
2 tbsp butter
Tortilla chips (I used about half of a large bag)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used half Monterey Jack, half sharp cheddar)
2 tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, diced
additional cilantro, for garnish

1. To make pesto, combine cilantro, pine nuts, pressed garlic, lime juice, chopped jalapeno, and parmesan cheese in food processor. Process until well combined. Add olive oil and process until pesto reaches desired consistency. If you want to lighten things up slightly, substitute nonfat greek yogurt for a portion of the olive oil (I did about 2 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp yogurt). Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Heat 2 tbsp butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Add shrimp to skillet and sprinkle liberally with Mexican seasoning blend, making sure to get seasoning on all side of shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink and heated through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from heat, allow to cool slightly, and roughly chop.
3. To make nachos, spread half the tortilla chips over a baking sheet. Top with half the cheese, half the chopped shrimp, and half the tomatoes and green onions. Spread remaining tortilla chips over the first layer of nachos and repeat with remaining ingredients.
4. Bake nachos until cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with pesto. Top with additional cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

NOM NOM NOM. I can’t justify eating nachos for dinner very often, but I’m glad Cinco de Mayo comes around once a year to provide the perfect opportunity.

In other news, anyone out there just itching to buy me a present? With all this pesto making, I sure could use this

Shrimp Pesto Nachos | windykitchen

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