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whole food ~ well made

Dinner 911: Good-for-you Sheet Pan Nachos

Turn a bar snack of nachos into a dinner that’s a wholesome break from the usual routine–with layers of crunch, substance and freshness.

Some nights, I just want to throw in the towel. Hide out and just ditch dinner. Popcorn, anyone?

It happens unexpectedly. It can be a weeknight or a weekend. Even if I have a foolproof plan, the local meat defrosted, rice slated for the Instant Pot.

With plenty of food in the pantry, freezer and fridge, it’s only inspiration that I lack–in spades–on certain nights of the week.

But, we all need a break from the dinner routine sometimes. That’s why there’s nachos.

Nachos for Dinner?

Truth be told, I’d never made nachos at home. I mean, what’s so hard about nachos?

Nothing, except that I had to get my brain around turning this bar snack into something like a wholesome dinner. And fast.

So, how do you make nachos that are both easy and good for you? First, I ditched the fake cheese sauce, then I worked on creating layers of goodness.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Spread a bag of tortilla chips into a sheet pan so that they’re not overly crowded.
  2. Layer them with grated cheddar cheese and put it in the oven on low heat.
  3. Heat the beans: I love pinto or black beans, homemade or from a can, well drained. Or try these refried beans.
  4. Load up on the vegetables: chopped tomato, avocado, scallion & cilantro. {Pickled jalapenos on the side with the sour cream and salsa.}

There’s crunch, substance and lots of fresh flavors in these nachos. Just be sure to make every layer even by distributing the ingredients over the surface like you’re making a pizza–and all the way to the edges.

The first time I served them for dinner, they were a refreshing surprise. And a healthy change up from the usual fare.

Make it Deluxe

How do you up the ante on a sheet pan nachos dinner?

Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible until I went to a nuevo taqueria last December. No old-school nachos, braised beef studded this passel of warm tortilla chips, along with pickled onion and queso fresco.

So, whenever I make braised meat like this pork roast I plan on nachos for the leftovers. Those little bits that don’t seem to be enough for a full meal for even one person are just enough for sheet pan nachos.

It’s a big departure from the nachos that look, taste and feel like junk food. And a refreshing change we all crave once in a while.

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What’s on your sheet pan nachos? Let me know in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.
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Deluxe Sheet Pan Nachos

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: nachos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Author: Lynne Curry

With a bag of tortilla chips, dinner is on the way. This nachos recipe with cheese and beans is heavy on the fresh chopped toppings. Use your favorite brand of tortilla chips and serve with sour cream and salsa on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce bag restaurant-style tortilla chips white, yellow or blue corn
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained or 1 3/4 cups homemade
  • 1-2 cups shredded braised pork or beef optional
  • 2 medium avocados, cubed
  • 3 medium roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
  • pickled jalapenos, for serving optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease a sheet pan and arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer. Sprinkle on the cheese and toss with the chips to distribute into an even layer. Bake until the cheese is very melty, about 12 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, reheat the beans and the braised meat, if using, in separate bowls in the microwave or on the stovetop. When the cheese is melted, distribute the beans and meat evenly over the chips. Keep warm until ready to serve.

  3. Just before serving, top the nachos with the avocado, tomato, scallions and cilantro in even layers. Serve immediately with the lime wedges and jalapenos, if using.

Comments

  1. Erin Hensley

    A favorite and somewhat unexpected topping for our sheet pan nachos is leftover cooked/baked sweet potato.

    1. I love that idea, Erin! Sweet potatoes are SO good with beans!

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