Loaded Lentil Nachos

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.

Lentil Nachos

If you’re a fan of Loaded Lentil Nachos, check out these other shareable snack foods:

Cauliflower Artichoke Dip

Sweet Potato Nachos

Oven-Baked Chicken Taquitos

Vegan Queso

Lentil Nachos
5 from 1 vote
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Loaded Lentil Nachos

A nacho recipe that's every bit as crunchy and cheesy as a standard one, only embellished with nourishing lentils. 

Course Dinner, Snack
Cuisine Tex Mex
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 to 5 servings
Calories 443 kcal
Author Katie Morford

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 (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

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.

Comments

01.27.2014 at 6:13 AM #

Mandy

Wow – these look amazing. I’ll definitely be making a version of these soon, although pretty sure I’ll struggle to find Monterey Jack cheese here in the UK, so it might have to be extra cheddar.

01.27.2014 at 6:13 AM #

Katie Morford

All Cheddar would be great!

01.27.2014 at 10:15 AM #

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

What a great idea! I love beans on my nachos, but never thought about lentils. Sounds great!

01.27.2014 at 10:15 AM #

Katie Morford

The lentils are kind of nice because they stay on the chips better than beans (so tiny)!

01.27.2014 at 5:56 PM #

Aida Mollenkamp

What a fun twist on the classic nacho!

01.27.2014 at 6:21 PM #

Kathy D

I am so making these next Sunday (if I can wait that long!). Looking forward to exploring your blog more.

01.27.2014 at 6:21 PM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Kathy. Hope you like them as much as I did 🙂

01.28.2014 at 9:42 AM #

HeatherChristo

I love that you put lentils in your nachos!! What an awesome source of protein- and they look delicious! GO HAWKS!!!

01.28.2014 at 9:42 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Heather. Good luck to the Hawks on Sunday!

01.28.2014 at 2:12 PM #

[email protected]

Fantastic re-think of poor old fat and cholesterol-laden nachos. Love this idea, even though in the UK we don’t really get into Superbowl fever (it is on too late for us!). Must, however, try for a rugby evening get-together.

01.28.2014 at 2:12 PM #

Katie Morford

Works for rugby, too.

02.01.2014 at 8:14 PM #

fried

“6 generous handfuls salted blue corn tortilla chips”

How are these better than frech fries? same nutritional value..

02.01.2014 at 8:14 PM #

katiemorford

Hi there

I don’t make a comparison to french fries here. I do say that these nachos are an improvement over traditional ones. And I also suggest that baked chips are an option as well. This isn’t something I’d make often, but for the occasional ball game shared with a crowd, perfectly delicious in my book.

10.03.2017 at 5:28 PM #

Angie

Delicious! I made these tonight. Do you know calories per serving?

10.03.2017 at 5:28 PM #

Katie Morford

For 5 servings, it comes in at a little under 450 calories a serving.

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