Oh man do I love a good football game. And while I'm still fighting back tears of sorrow after the depressing season that my Denver Broncos had, I can still appreciate a good match-up and I AM PUMPED for the Superbowl. This may also be influenced by the fact that Justin Timberlake is on for the halftime show. And then there's the food. I love a good "food holiday" or really any excuse to get together and share some delicious party snacks.
If you still need ideas for what to make, you can find thousands of cutesy football-themed recipes on Pinterest but I'm keeping it simple and sharing my go-to football snack of choice: sheet pan nachos. So easy, so stinking good and a total crowd-pleaser. Jacob and I sometimes make these on Sundays for lunch (nachos for 2!). They are so satisfying and full of vegetables in that not-so-obvious sort of way.
I love the standard chips and dip as much as the next person but I also like variety when it comes to a snack spread (no pun intended) so these always hit the spot. You can customize them based on what you have on hand or your personal preferences.
Here are few different variations of "vegged out" nachos that I have tried and love:
Buffalo Chicken: blue corn tortilla chips, shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro and blue cheese crumbles
Greek: use pita chips, hummus, tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, dill, and a squeeze of lemon
Sweet Potato: roasted sweet potato rounds, pinto beans, shredded romaine, guacamole, tomatoes, and chipotle cream sauce (chipotles in adobo mixed with Greek yogurt)
Pulled Pork: tortilla chips pulled pork, corn, shredded jack cheese, BBQ sauce & slaw to finish
If you ever need to use up some leftovers but don't want to eat the same thing again, chances are you can turn it into nachos - that's my mantra at least!
How to Make The Classic Version
The first thing you need is obviously the base (i.e. the chips). I really like the blue corn ones for the pop of color, but any restaurant style version will do. You need surface area to get the maximum amount of toppings on each chip so skip the scoops or strips for this one.
Next, add your protein of choice (like cooked shredded chicken or carnitas) and/or beans. I always have a can of beans so those are a staple, then if we happen to have leftover meat I'll add that too.
Layer on the cheese.
The cheese melts better when you shred it yourself (versus buying the packaged stuff) but if you're short on time go for the pre-shredded. A blend of cheddar and jack is perfect for almost any combination. Any other "Mexican blend" style cheese will work too.
One thing I've learned is that you don't need as much cheese as you might think. With all of the texture and flavor from the other toppings, start lighter and then add more later if you need it. Throw the tray in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Keep a close eye on them so nothing burns!
While your pan is in the oven, prep the rest of your toppings (aka the cold stuff).
I love diced tomato, cilantro, avocado and an assortment of hot sauces but you could also thinly slice some lettuce, salsa and sliced green onion. Save anything fresh for after cooking, especially things that have a lot of moisture (like tomatoes or salsa) since they will make your chips soggy if you add them before.
My favorite part about these is they are colorful, easy to serve and easy to eat. Once you add all of the toppings you serve them straight from the pan and have lime wedges scattered around for a little pop of citrus just before eating.
Great for a crowd, or even just you and your favorite sports-watching buddy on game day!
Vegged Out Game-Day Nachos
Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: Serves 2 for an entree, 4 for appetizers | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes
8 oz tortilla chips (restaurant style)
14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheese blend (cheddar/monterrey jack)
5-6 grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small avocado, diced
2 green onions, sliced
Hot sauce to taste
1 lime, cut in wedges
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line a large jelly roll pan with tin foil (for easy clean-up) and coat with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spread your chips out in one layer. Top with beans or other protein, then cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly, watching closely to prevent burning.
3. Meanwhile, wash and prep tomatoes through green onions. When the nachos are done, pull them out of the oven and top with fresh vegetables/herbs, then scatter lime wedges around so guests can squeeze the juice over the top just before eating.
Leave me a comment and tell me about the most creative nacho you have ever had!
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