You might think nachos are just for snacking and can’t be very healthy for dinner, but with a few tweaks, you can create a nutritious meal out of nachos. Best of all, this is one meal your kids will actually beg to eat! Mine sure do. You should see how their eyes light up when I tell them we’re having nachos for dinner.
Nachos can be whatever you want them to be. All you need is some kind of chip or chip-like vessel, and then pile on whatever toppings your heart desires. This is a fantastic way to let your creativity flow in the kitchen. The nachos in these photos have multi-grain tortilla chips topped with black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, chili powder, and cheddar cheese. They were extremely quick to make. I just popped them in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and they were done. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, they work great on the BBQ, too. They’re a perfect summer feast.
The key to making your nachos dinner-worthy is to choose a healthy chip with not too much fat or salt, then make sure your toppings have lots of fresh veggies and lean protein. And you don’t need to be limited to just tortilla chips. Try pita chips, like I did for these Greek Nachos, topped with Greek salad, grilled chicken, and Tzatziki:
Or don’t use chips at all! Anything that you can pick up and scoop up toppings with will work, like sliced sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, or cauliflower, to name a few.
My kids don’t mind eating all those veggies when they’re in nacho form. The Whine Critics approve of all kinds of nachos for dinner, and I don’t think I’ve had an unpopular nacho night yet.
I’ve created a meal template to give you plenty of ideas for your next nacho night. If you have any other ways to enjoy nachos, please share! I think we can all use more nacho inspiration.
Nachos for Dinner
- Tortilla chips (look for multigrain/quinoa/flax, reduced fat, reduced salt)
- Pita Chips (homemade recipe here)
- Naan chips
- Roasted Sweet Potato slices
- Bell Pepper wedges
- Roasted Zucchini slices
- Roasted cauliflower
- Jicama slices
Topping – Protein
- Cooked ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef, pork)
- Grilled meat, sliced (chicken, beef)
Topping – Vegetables
- Bell peppers
- Jalapeno peppers
- Broccoli florets
- Shredded cabbage*
- Shredded carrot*
*Add to nachos after cooking.
- Mexican: lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, salsa
- Greek: lemon juice, Greek dressing, Tzatziki, hummus, oregano
- Indian: curry powder, chutney, Raita, cilantro
- Italian: pizza sauce, oregano, basil
- Monterey Jack
- Feta (for Greek Nachos)
- Mozzarella (for Italian Nachos)
- Paneer (for Indian Nachos) – make your own Paneer
On a baking sheet, layer chips, protein, vegetables, seasonings and cheese. Bake, broil, or barbecue until warmed through (about 10 minutes).