Loaded Lentil Nachos
If you ever wondered what you get when you cross one of the world’s healthiest foods with one of the world’s junkiest, this may be it. These Loaded Lentil Nachos are everything nachos should be: cheesy, crunchy, salty, satisfying. That they’re topped with tender lentils, means that they’re filling and nutritious, too.
Upside of Healthy(ish) Nacho
What these nachos don’t have is any of the funny business that goes into a typical plate of nachos (hello, hydrogenated fats, Yellow Dye 5, MSG). No, they’re not low-fat or low-sodium, but they are high flavor and deliver plenty of protein, fiber, and fun. 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.
Serve it alongside a generous plate of vegetable crudités and call it a meal.
How to Make Loaded Lentil Nachos
You start with the ingredients: Two kinds of cheese, blue corn tortilla chips, cooked lentils, salsa, and a few other goodies. To match the appeal of creamy ballpark nachos sauce, this recipe starts with a simple cheese sauce you make on the stove top. Pour that over the tortilla chips, followed by warm lentils, salsa, and any favorite nacho fixings.
Nacho Swaps and Substitutions
If you’re really watching your fat and calories, you could go a little lighter with this by using baked chips. You can also take a short cut by buying pre-cooked lentils sold in the refrigerated section of Trader Joe’s and other markets. Or cook your own lentils, it’s darn easy to do. While you’re at it, make extra to use in this scrumptious lentil salad.
If you’re a fan of Loaded Lentil Nachos, check out these other shareable snack foods:
Loaded Lentil Nachos
A nacho recipe that's every bit as crunchy and cheesy as a standard one, only embellished with nourishing lentils.
- 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 (look for pre-cooked lentils in the market for a shortcut)
- 3 tablespoons salsa
- optional extras: Sour cream, diced avocado, pickled jalapeños, fresh sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, or other favorite nacho accompaniments
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.
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.
Continue to cook, whisking regularly, until the milk thickens to a light sauce.
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.
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.