I have a confession to make: I’m totally a nacho addict. They’re just so quick and easy to throw together. That ooey, gooey melted cheese keeps me coming back time and time again. The only problem with this addiction? Well, nachos aren’t exactly known for being super healthy. That only made me more determined to find a clean eating version of my favorite meal, and I finally found it with this recipe for grilled chicken nachos!
There’s nothing to hate about these. I love that they’re loaded up with heart-healthy black beans and all kinds of nutrient-dense vegetables like corn, diced tomatoes, and shredded romaine. By using fat-free cheese, I cut out a significant amount of calories in this meal. But, I still get the benefit of that oh-so-satisfying melted cheese.
So what makes these grilled chicken nachos qualify for a clean eating award? Let’s dive in and take a look!
Stone Ground Corn Tortilla Chips
This is a really important component of this recipe. Look for a tortilla chip brand that is labeled non-GMO and uses stone ground corn in the ingredients list. What’s the deal with stone ground corn? Let me fill you in!
Regular cornmeal is made by grinding corn in a mechanical press. This transforms the dried corn into very tiny flour particles, but it has one major drawback: it removes the germ and hull. Stone ground corn, on the other hand, uses two slowly moving stones to process the dried corn. This does create a coarser grind than the metal grinder, but it preserves the nutrients in the corn.
This stone ground corn not only has more flavor than the regular kind, but it’s also filled with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Get ready for a boost of vitamins like thiamine to boost immune activity and vitamin B-6 for healthy brain development.
It doesn’t really matter if you choose yellow or white corn chips, they’re both are filled with nutrients. It is important to note that yellow corn does have more cancer-fighting carotenoids than the white counterpart. So, if you’re looking to increase your antioxident intake, perhaps you should opt for yellow corn.
Charred Corn + All The Veggies
Here’s the second most important part of this recipe: giving the corn a little bit of a char. It took me a long time to realize that char, browning, and caramelization were actually kind of like secret ingredients. They add an extra layer of flavor to your cooking, and getting a little color on the corn will totally transform it from simply sweet to super sweet!
Combine that with the raw vegetable toppings of crispy romaine, savory tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, and smooth avocado and you have a winner. And, if you’re trying to get your nutrition by eating the rainbow, this is totally the way to do it!
I’m so excited about these clean eating grilled chicken nachos that I think I’m going to sign off and make a plate right now. Let me know in the comments if these are the solutions to your nacholess life. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 494 | Total Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 320mg | Carbohydrates: 35g | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Protein: 26g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 12
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces boneless and skinless chicken breast, chopped small
- 1 small purple onion, diced small
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (canned, fresh or frozen)
- 1/4 cup black beans, cooked
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 4 cups (about 3 ounces) gluten free, stone ground, unsalted corn tortilla chips
- 1 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 2 small roma tomatoes, diced small
- 1 jalapeno pepper, slice into circles
- 1 small avocado, pit removed, peeled, and sliced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook until cooked through (internal temp reaches 165 degrees Farenheit). Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
- Remove any liquid from the pan the chicken was cooked in and heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Once the oil is very hot, add the onion and corn. Cook until the onion and corn begin to lightly char. Stir in the black beans, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and cooked chicken. Mix just until combined and remove from heat.
- Lay the tortilla chips on the prepared baking sheet and top with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the chicken and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Remove the nachos from the oven and top with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, and avocado. Serve hot and enjoy!