Ever wonder how to lighten up some of your family favorites? In several of my recipe posts I’ve shared how to “up” the nutrition and cut back on some of the ingredients that don’t provide much nourishment, and this recipe is no exception! Most of us (okay, probably all of us) love nachos, so why not do a little round up on how I make nachos better-for-you?
- I choose a lean protein like chicken, turkey or lean beef as my base. Higher fat beef and pork provide a ton of flavor, but have much more fat than most of us need in one meal, so that’s why I aim for a leaner cut. If using a fattier cut or if you’re interested in cutting back on your meat consumption, you can use 1/2 pound of meat instead of 1 pound and swap in more beans. (If you are looking for a vegetarian version, you can swap out all of the meat for black or pinto beans.)
- Instead of the using the store-bought packets of taco seasoning which have a lot of salt added to them, I make my own using chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. You can add a bit of spice with red pepper flakes or cayenne. I do add some salt, but the beauty of making your own spice mix is you’re in charge!
- I always add beans to my taco meat. Depending on what dish I’m making, I’ll use whole beans like pinto or black or I’ll use refried beans (I choose the fat free kind). Like meat, beans are also a great source of protein, but they have fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. And – bonus – they’re inexpensive and shelf stable!
- I aim for a bit less cheese than the normal plate of nachos you’d get from the corner bar. I LOVE cheese, as most of us do, but it’s best to limit the amount, so I do a light sprinkle, then load up on the toppings.
- My favorite nutritious toppings are salsa, avocado or guacamole, black olives, fajita peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro and Greek yogurt. You seriously can’t go wrong here.
- Portion size is key. I know this comment gets the eye roll every now and then, but portion control is very important. We all need different amounts of macronutrients and calories, so adjust as needed! Pay particular attention to the number of tortilla chips per serving – most brands are made with corn, oil and salt and are ~15 chips per serving.
This version of nachos is made on a sheet pan and baked because I love how it brings everything together. But, if you want to skip that step, you can simply load up your nachos and dig right in. YUM!Print
Easy cheesy chicken and black bean nachos cooked on a sheet pan.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1-pound ground chicken or turkey
- 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 60 tortilla chips
- ½ cup shredded Mexican cheeses
- Toppings of choice: Salsa, plain Greek yogurt, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced black olives, diced tomato, diced red onion, fajita peppers, Mexi-corn, shredded lettuce
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Add ground chicken or turkey and cook 5-7 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up into pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir in the black beans, taco seasoning, salt and ¼ cup water and bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Line the tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Evenly distribute the chicken bean mixture onto the chips, then evenly sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 8-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, scoop onto plates and serving with desired toppings.
Cooking Tip: Make your own taco seasoning with 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 304
- Sugar: 1g
- Sodium: 404mg
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 27g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 26g
- Cholesterol: 23mg
Keywords: nachos, sheet pan, chicken, black beans