Question: What do you get when you cross one of the world’s healthiest foods with one of the world’s junkiest?

Answer:  Layered Lentil Nachos.

They’re everything nachos should be: cheesy, crunchy, salty, satisfying.

Without any of the funny business that goes into a typical plate of nachos (hello, hydrogenated fats, Yellow Dye 5, MSG).

Low-fat?

Not exactly

Low-sodium?

Nope.

BUT, when shared with family and friends while watching a ball game? Head and shoulders (in nutrition and taste) above what you’d get at a ball park (or is it a bowl park?).

Serve it alongside a generous plate of vegetable crudités and call it a meal. 

You start with the ingredients: Two kinds of cheese, blue corn tortilla chips, cooked lentils, salsa, and a few other goodies. If you’re really watching your fat and calories, you could go a little lighter with this by using baked chips and/or reduced fat cheese. You can also take a short cut by buying pre-cooked lentils sold in the refrigerated section of some markets. Or cook your own (easy) following this “how to” from The Kitchn.  Make extra to use in your next meal….or in your next round of Layered Lentil Nachos. Hope you’ve brought along some friends.

Play Bowl.

Layered Lentil Nachos

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Layered Lentil Nachos

Ingredients

  • 6 generous handfuls salted corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked green or brown lentils
  • Fresh salsa
  • Extras: Sour cream, diced avocado, pickled jalapenos, or other favorite nacho accompaniments

Instructions

  1. Spread out 3 generous handfuls tortilla chips on a platter. Warm the lentils in a little pot on the stove and keep them warm until ready to use.
  2. Make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and use a whisk to quickly blend it into the butter until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium-high and slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking continuously until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Continue to cook, whisking regularly, until the milk thickens to a light sauce.
  4. Add the cheese, paprika, cayenne, and a few grinds of black pepper, and stir with a whisk until the cheese melts into a creamy, smooth, hot sauce. Add a little more milk -- no more than a tablespoon at a time -- if the sauce is too thick.
  5. Drizzle half the cheese sauce on top of the chips followed by half the lentils. Distribute the remaining 3 handfuls of chips on top. Repeat with the remaining cheese sauce and lentils. Spoon salsa over the nachos along with any of your favorite nacho sides.
  6. Serve immediately.