Every Day Nachos: healthy enough for any day of the week

Confession: I love the appetizer section of most casual/family restaurants. You know what I’m talking about – the mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, nachos, cheese fries, and every other artery clogging calorie bomb the establishment can think up. As much of a sweet tooth as I have now, when I was growing up, I was all about the salty-savory, and I haven’t lost that love completely. Unfortunately, although treating yourself to the appetizer section is perfectly fine every once in a while, it’s not something that you can really live on day in and day out. That means that one of my favorite things to do is take those dishes that have very few redeemable qualities aside from taste, and turn them into meals or dishes that can legitimately be a part of a healthy diet – and not just once in a blue moon.

For the super bowl, I made “healthified” nachos. I was a little overambitious with the serving size, and in the spirit of the game I devoured the entire plate, so I don’t know that how I ate them constitutes as healthy, but the actual ingredients are perfectly nutritious. I layered lime-flavored tortilla chips with homemade vegetarian refried beans, fresh pico de gallo, sliced avocado, scallions, and some nutritional yeast flakes instead of gobs of shredded cheese. I dolloped my plate with some plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and went to town.

The nachos were so good! Spicy at times, creamy and fresh-tasting with every bite – you really feel as though you’re eating something that couldn’t possibly be healthy for you, but I can assure you, it is. There’s protein, healthy fats, fresh vegetables, fiber – and an enormous dose of flavor. I know we’re now past both the super bowl and the Oscars, but you shouldn’t feel like you need a special party to make them. Please, please don’t let that stop you!

Past Healthy Nacho Recipes: Edamame Nachos

Every Day Nachos
Yield: 3-4 servings

The Ingredients
24 (approximate) tortilla chips1
1 – 1 ½ cups vegetarian refried beans
½ onion, diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 avocado, sliced
for topping: scallions, nutritional yeast flakes, plain greek yogurt

The Method
Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer on the tray and spread evenly with the refried beans. Place in the oven to warm completely, approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pico de gallo by combining the onion, tomato, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl. Prepare the remaining ingredients and toppings.

When the tortillas are warm from the oven, remove and layer with the rest of the ingredients: pico de gallo, avocado slices, scallions, yeast flakes, and yogurt. Serve with plenty of napkins!

1I used Food Should Taste Good lime flavored chips.

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