Belizean Garnachios

I have a new favorite recipe for Friday night supper: Belizean Garnachios.

You may ask why I consider myself authorized to share a Belizean recipe from my quiet corner of northwestern Pennsylvania. I’ll tell you. Actually I don’t know. I was to Belize once, but I never even smelled the garnachios—so–obviously not nearly long enough. These kiddos have given new meaning to my existence.

Some friends were telling me about them at a park one night, and honest to goodness they were almost wiping drool off their chins. What a riot—eating an enormous chip with toppings!


Many thanks to my local friends Chris & Cynthia and Sheldon & Joann for the lead and the instructions—and to my blogging friend Christy Smucker for the final recipe and procedure.


Layer 1: Tostada shells

Buy from a store or, better still, create your own by deep-frying corn tortillas in oil on both sides till they’re nice and crispy. Keep warm in a 250° oven.

Layer 2: Refried beans

There are tastier options than the ones straight out of a can! Cook your own, or—as Christy taught me—start with a large can of pinto beans. Sauté some fresh onion and garlic in a little oil. Add pinto beans and season with a generous hand: black pepper, cumin, and {magical} fresh cilantro. Mash with an immersion blender if you are Christy and a fork if you are Shari. Simmer to a nice consistency, adding a little water as needed. Refried beans should be neither runny nor dry.

Layer 3: Tomato sauce

Start with a can of tomato soup and add taco seasoning to taste—a teaspoon or two. Warm mixture in a saucepan.

Layer 4: Shredded cheese

Layer 5: Diced onions, sprinkled with salt and soaked in vinegar

The vinegar steals the sharp onion taste. Thoroughly awesome, and I’m not usually a raw-onion eater!

Layer 6: Sour cream

Layer 7: Hot sauce and/or salt as you wish

Stack it all up and eat it with your hands. I promise, it’s fun. When do you ever get to eat a chip the size of your face? And good?! You won’t believe it.


Have you tried garnochios? What variations would you suggest?

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9 years ago

Yummy!!!!! These have been a staple for years! OK so I am Christy’s sister. Instead of finishing my meal sipping coffee, I finish that one by piling the leftover onions/vinegar on chips bite by bite. Or eat the mixture plain. How I love vinegar. Every John off the street then wants to kiss me. Or, wait… … maybe I said that wrong ?

9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

You are hilarious!! Miss you, girl.

9 years ago

They are yummy. These of course are more Americanized than what I ate while serving in BZ. We put shredded cabbage on ours, too (probably with vinegar, don’t remember), but of course we didn’t always have the cheese and sour cream luxurious. This picture is mouthwatering!

9 years ago

Oh yum! Love, love these!! They’re good with about any topping… taco meat, lettuce, cheese, tomato, ranch dressing / shredded and seasoned chicken and fresh salsa…

Mama Zook
9 years ago

these look wonderful, Shari, and they are not so awfully different than a tostada that my mom used to make! She often served these with enchiladas and tacos, and a tossed salad when the young people came over! I love the idea of the extra stuff cooked in with the homemade refried beans. Mom did her own also! And “onions sprinkled with salt and soaked in vinegar” I’d never heard before! Love it when I find new recipes. Thanks!

9 years ago

Yes dear, I have many memories of eating things in Belize with you. It did not look like this picture. Think teddy bear cups, large spoons, flat bowls, very segregated seating, and mush for breakfast. Any fuzzy pictures coming back? Really, they were great times, and good for us too. We learned a lot about real life, I think. I hope. Three cheers for the painters and washerwoman and cement pourers who got up at 5:30 and had peach slices for snack.

9 years ago
Reply to  Becca

[grin] I have approximately 1,365,901 memories of being in Belize with you, honey, but almost none of them involve food. The mush is ringing a very faint bell. Most of my memories involve gallons of paint, dirt bikes, tall grass, swollen feet, sidewalks which end at shower houses, random mice, and the fantastic washerwoman who also doubled as nurse… Love you.

9 years ago

Ahh! Garnachies! These were a family favorite all (or at least most of) my born days — and one of the main requests for birthday meals. Now I make them for my own family and am delighted to see them love this meal too. I usually use salsa instead of opening a can of tomato sauce, since we could hardly use up even half a can. And as Janice mentioned, a cabbage and vinegar topping adds a true Belizean touch! I’ll have to try the onion sauce–that sounds delicious!

9 years ago

Thank you for the supper inspiration! It was one of those days where lots of other things occupied my mind instead of supper plans. Thankfully, I had some refried beans in the freezer. (I make my own in the crockpot and freeze them in smaller portions.) So with a side of (my version) mexican rice; supper was served. One thing that I added was a sprinkle of key lime juice. This is probably more Mexican than Belizean, but so good!

Added bonus– Allergen friendly!!

9 years ago

We love garnachies and eat them quite often in the hot summer months. I sometimes add taco meat or rice to help beef up the meal.
The recipe for homemade refried beans looks ahhhhmazing. I want to try it sometime. I’ll probably have to call you and ask to borrow about half those fresh ingredients.

Sharon Mast
9 years ago

We love garnachies too, whether authentic or Americanized. But my menfolks don’t have the patience to eat them the traditional way. They crunch the tacos on their plates, pile them with beans and toppings, and are happier!

9 years ago

I do something similar for a quick meal when we have a busy evening planned (like Youth Club nights). We fry up corn tortillas in olive oil and then spread with cheese and refried beans, add another wrap on top and bake in the oven for approx. ten minutes. When it comes out we top with salsa, sour cream, avocado and cheese. Yummy!

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