Healthy Nachos for One {or Two!}

Healthy Nachos_-6Healthy food that does not taste healthy? My favorite.

Filling up a whole baking dish, settling in for a Netflix binge session, and shoving nachos in my face? Done. The Walking Dead: Season Four, you’re mine.

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These nachos may be one of my upcoming staples for 2016. They are great for weeknights and it’s easy to keep the ingredients in stock, or to memorize for quick trips to the grocery store. Prep the ingredients in advance, and you are only 5 minutes away. from. nachos.

Like any nachos, toppings are up to you, but here you will find atop baked corn tortilla chips: seasoned lean ground beef, with onions, black beans, and cilantro; shredded Mexican cheese; baked kale strips; and sliced green onions. Low-sodium salsa, guacamole or sliced avocado, and Greek yogurt are also delicious toppers.

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Here are the tricks of this trade:

The trick to keeping these nachos healthy is portion control. For the tortilla chips, one serving is three tortillas, cut in to 6 wedges each. For the beef, I use one pound of 90% or 96% lean, and that will last for a few days or servings (if your serving is 4 oz, a pound will last for 4 servings – you can do the math if you want a larger serving, or are making nachos for two!). For the cheese, if you use very finely shredded cheese, it will go farther. I use less than 4 Tablespoons of very finely shredded cheese, which is one serving per the label. I know this does not sound like a lot – but it is!

The trick to making these nachos delicious, besides using high-quality ingredients, is making a double-layer, and heating the composed dish at a high temperature. You can broil them, but make sure your dish is broiler-safe first. I find that an oven at 450, with the dish just a few inches from the heating element, is delectably sufficient.

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I juuust happen to have a perfectly-sized baking dish for this occasion. It’s a Le Creuset baker that I got on sale at Sur la Table, and it measures a bit bigger than 4″ x 6″. If you don’t have one that size – first, consider investing in your own nacho baker. But failing that, an 8″ x 4″ or 9″ x 5″ bread pan will work. Smaller baking dishes will keep the nachos close together, which helps for distributing the toppings. And, it’s much more satisfying to eat an entire casserole dish full of nachos. Even if it’s little.

If you are doubling the recipe to make two servings, an 8″ x 8″ pan is perfect.

Here we go. Layer half of the tortilla chips in the dish.

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Top with half of the portion of seasoned meat you are going to use – the meat includes onion, black beans, and cilantro.

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{I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better, so here is a bonus for you.}

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On goes 2 Tablespoons of cheese. And then repeat with the rest of the tortilla chips, meat mixture, and cheese.

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The dish will only need about 4 minutes in the oven at 450. Then, you have THIS.

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Top with your choice of accessories – I love baked kale strips on these nachos – just cut a few stalks of lacinato kale into very thin strips, toss with a spray of olive oil, and bake while you are prepping the meat mixture – anywhere from 350 to 400 will work. They are exactly like Kale Chips, but thinner. Add some green onions and salsa, and you are good to go.

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And, for the last time Netflix. YES, I AM STILL WATCHING.

Healthy Nachos for One {or Two!}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These Healthy Nachos are great for weeknights, and it's easy to keep the ingredients in stock, or to memorize for quick trips to the grocery store. Prep the ingredients in advance, and you are only 5 minutes away. from. nachos.
Recipe type: Snack, Dinner, Healthy
Serves: 1 serving
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ small sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2.5 t paprika
  • 2.25 t cumin
  • .5 t kosher salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 c low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 T fresh cilantro, chopped, including stems
  • Baked tortilla chips made from three corn tortillas
  • 4 T finely shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Toppings of your choice: baked kale strips, thinly sliced green onions, salsa, guacamole, Greek yogurt
  1. If you are making the tortilla chips now, follow the recipe for the chips.
  2. Heat the oven to 450.
  3. In a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat, breaking it up well.
  4. When the meat is brown, add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are softened.
  5. Add the seasoning, distributing evenly over the meat, onions, and garlic, stirring well. If the mixture is too thick and starts to stick to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water.
  6. Add the beans, stir, and heat through.
  7. Add the cilantro, stir, and heat through.
  8. Turn off the heat and set the meat mixture aside. Divide the meat into 4 servings in the pan. Reserve three of the servings for a later use.
  9. In a small baking dish, layer half of the chips. Top with half of the remaining meat serving. Top with 2 Tablespoons of cheese. Repeat with the remaining chips, the second half of the remaining meat serving, and another 2 T cheese.
  10. Bake at 450 for 4 minutes, close to the heating element.
  11. Remove when the cheese has melted.
  12. Top with your desired toppings. And I do mean desired! Enjoy!


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