Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Nachos


An autumnal riff on traditional nachos, these have all the elements that make nachos so hard to stop eating- starting with crunchy corn chips and lots of cheese- but with creamy chipotle butternut squash and vinegary caramelized onions in lieu of salsa and refried beans.


The nachos have a mild heat level, but if you like things hot, add another half or whole chipotle pepper. Remember, you can always make the squash spicier, but it’s much harder to cool it down- so start with one small chipotle pepper and go from there. The recipe calls for a mix of Monterey Jack, the classic nacho cheese, and Fontina Val D’Aosta, a mild and nutty Italian cheese. It might seem like an odd combo but the two complement each other nicely. (If you can find it, use Italian Fontina cheese – it’s more flavorful than domestic varieties.


Finally- full disclosure here-  I originally added the salted pepitas and diced avocado because the nachos looked a little brown without them, but they ended up being the perfect addition as that extra bit of creaminess and salty crunch makes each bite sing. (And, really, is there anything avocado doesn’t improve?)



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Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Nachos (Fall Nachos!)

Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 cups cubed butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag salted corn tortilla chips
  • 3 cups shredded Fontina D’Aosta cheese (8 ounces, or 12 ounces with the rind)
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 Hass avocado, small-diced
  • ¼ cup salted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cover for 10 minutes to let them steam. Remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown. Add the vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 2 more minutes, scraping the brown bits from the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, place the squash on a sheet pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cinnamon and ½ teaspoon salt, and toss. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender, tossing twice throughout. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Place the squash in the bowl of a food processor, along with the chipotle pepper, maple syrup, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and process until smooth. If the puree seems very thick, add 1 tablespoon water at a time, pulsing in between, until smooth and creamy.
  • Spread one layer of chips onto the sheet pan you used to roast the squash. Spoon half the squash mixture on top, distributing it as evenly as you can. Spoon half the caramelized onions on top, followed by half the Fontina and half the Monterey Jack. Repeat with remaining chips, squash, onions and cheese to make one more layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown at the edges.
    Sprinkle with the avocado and pepitas and serve!
    Copyright 2016, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved (updated October 2023)

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