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Healthy Nachos

Healthy nachos made with ground beef, chicken, or turkey, loads of veggies, and mixed with your favorite salsa.

closeup of Healthy nachos in a cast iron skillet.

It’s the new year, and that means that everyone is trying to snack more. Wait…that’s not it. Everyone’s trying to eat healthier now that we’re in the new year and the holidays are over. It’s the snacking that has to stop, right?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a comfort-food, snacking lover. I want all the food and I want to enjoy it on my terms. I’m often low-carb or Keto (which is a surprisingly wonderful way to eat for someone like me), and treats like Keto fried chicken or keto chocolate chip cookies definitely help my food sanity. Also, healthy nachos!

You may be one of those people who are in the midst of creating healthier eating habits now that 2021 is almost here. I don’t happen to be this year – at least that wasn’t part of my own resolution – but I do try to eat healthy as often as possible. But, as I mentioned, I’m a snacker. And snacking, as you know, is inherently unhealthy.

Which is part of the reason I’m so excited to bring you my version of nachos! Healthy Nachos…it’s possible!

Can Nachos be healthy?

Absolutely! By eliminating or reducing unhealthy ingredients and increasing or adding things like more veggies (such as fresh corn and peppers), you can transform fat-laden nachos into a delicious, healthy version.

Healthy nachos in a cast iron skillet.

For my healthy nachos, I took out most of the ingredients considered to be unhealthy or high calorie: cheese and sour cream being the biggest offenders. I kept a small amount of cheese (about an eighth of what I normally put on my nachos) and ditched the sour cream altogether.

I kept the ground beef but ground turkey or chicken are delicious, too.

I balance that out by adding loads of vegetables. Fresh corn off the cob, chopped poblano peppers, chopped red bells, and thinly sliced serrano peppers. Fresh tomatoes! Black beans! Chopped cilantro, too. The fresh corn is especially delicious but its the combination of all of these additions that makes such a difference.

And then I pile on some fresh salsa, either homemade or from a jar (usually the Herdez brand but there are many good ones available).

Adding so many vegetables to my healthy nachos is what makes them both scrumptious and comfort food I don’t feel bad about indulging in. I really pile them on and I actually like these healthy nachos better than the ones loaded up with cheese.

Of course, load up with cheese if you like, too! If you’re keto or low-carb, you can easily keep the cheese in to increase your fat macros.

Healthy nachos in a cast iron skillet.

What can I use instead of tortilla chips to make healthy nachos?

I do serve these with tortilla chips, although we eat keto so I’ll make my own using low-carb tortillas. If you haven’t tried Belgian endive, that’s my secret weapon for healthy snacking with any kind of dip. They’re scoopable and have a nice crunch to them!

Healthy nachos can also be served over rice, or use cauliflower rice for low-carb or keto. I have a fantastic recipe here for Buffalo Ranch Roasted Cauliflower Nachos from my fourth book, Weeknight Keto, and it’s SO good!!

Tips for making Healthy Nachos

I’ve covered most of this already, but here’s a bulleted list with some new ideas, too. Use any or all of these tips to make your perfect version of healthy nachos!

  • Use ground chicken or turkey in place of beef.
  • Mix your favorite salsa into the lean ground beef, turkey or chicken for an easy flavor boost.
  • Use low-sodium black beans to keep sodium levels in check.
  • If you shred your own cheese and choose one with a stronger flavor, such as sharp cheddar, you’ll get more flavor for less. Pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking agents that blocks of cheese don’t.
  • Make your own tortilla chips with store-bought tortillas by brushing both sides with oil then cutting them into triangles. Put them on a sheet pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake them in a 350F oven for 12-15 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking. Use low-carb tortillas for the keto diet. Or just pick up some baked tortilla chips instead of the traditional fried version at the store.
  • Skip the tortillas entirely and serve over roasted cauliflower or cauliflower rice. This makes a fantastic dinner with great leftovers.
  • Increase those veggies and get creative! Fresh corn, chopped red bells or poblano peppers, avocado (I guess that’s a fruit, but hey, they’re good for you), sliced serranos or jalapeños – these are all great additions.
Healthy nachos in a cast iron skillet.

Healthy Nachos

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Love nachos but still want to eat your heart-healthy veggies? Here's a perfect balance! To reduce the carbs even further, omit the black beans and fresh corn.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 15 oz jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 1 serrano pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Tortilla chips (see recommended products below for some healthier yet still tasty alternatives) or Belgian endive, for scooping

Instructions

  1. Cook the ground beef, turkey or chicken in a medium cast iron pan until no pink remains. Drain off any fat. Stir in 3/4 cup of the salsa. Season with salt to taste.
  2. Top with the remaining ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips or Belgian endive for scooping. (Alternatively, you can place tortilla chips on a platter and top with the other ingredients.)

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 672mgCarbohydrates: 21gNet Carbohydrates: 14gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)

C

Sunday 18th of April 2021

So delicious. Just what I needed to help me avoid a taco bell nacho box and make a healthier choice. The kids loved it, too!

Kristy Bernardo

Monday 19th of April 2021

That's great, thanks for sharing! So glad you and the kids enjoyed them. :)

C

Monday 12th of April 2021

Sounds wonderful, can't wait to try. Do you cook the corn? I've never eaten it raw

Kristy Bernardo

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

Nope, I don't cook it. I absolutely love it raw, it's sweet with a nice crunch. Let me know how you like it!

franKENStin

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Very good. But for hart patient should be aiming for 1200 sodium and no more than 6 saturated fats a day. Ill have too look into the chip sujestion and wahy them against baked sweet potato chips.

Kristy Bernardo

Friday 18th of December 2020

Also try the endive, it's good! We've been eating low-carb and use it often for other dips, too. It still gives that needed crunch. It's not the same a chips, but still very good. I'm glad you liked them!

Carolyn

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

Look at all the tastiness in there!

Jennifer Blake

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

What a great healthy alternative to cheesy nachos. My family definitely loves cheese but this just sounds so fresh!

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