Starting first and foremost on the list of loves is the lightened up cheese sauce that has just a tiny touch of garlic butter yumminess and any cheese you want in the whole wide world. And now you can add this to my resume in the full time blogger section: pouring –> cheese sauce –> into my mouth –> all –> day –> long. It’s almost inappropriate. Except not at all because I need lotza cheezzz on de nachoz.
There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you guys but I’ve been sort of hesitant about making it public. Today I’m coming clean, but I don’t want any judgement. Promise?
I am totally and completely hooked on The Bachelorette. I’m not really a trashy reality TV person (that’s about 30% true) but this season we joined the Bachelorette club with our two couple friends and so the six of us gather together on a weekly basis to swoon/eye roll over the latest shtuff that this is happening on this altogether hilarious, wonderful, and horrible show.
It’s to the point where I start looking forward to the next episode immediately after finishing the current one. It’s like I’m filling my life’s drama bank with the extremely entertaining disaster of four guys who are all traveling through Europe and simultaneously “falling in love” with the same person on public television. I’ve secretly taken to Twitter and analyzed the public opinion on all the remaining “contestants” (the fact that these men searching for sparkly true love are technically called contestants — that right there should be enough to make me stop watching this show) and I’m going to withhold my feelings about the best guy for Andi because I fear the wrath of you fellow Bachelorette watchers. Enough said. *palms sweaty*
To nachooooos. Nachos belong on a big plate in front of me at all times during the summer. They are flavor bombs that are crispy and full of color, and they can become anything you dream up, just like that. Chicken or beef, beans or no beans, hot or mild, avocado or more avacado, and things like that.
Enter: healthy grilled sweet potato nachos. These nachos are my favorite of all the nachos because I can eat them as a meal without feeling like I need to follow it up with fifteen salads and green juice for life. These are veggie-LOADED, so say hello to roasted corn, black beans, and the kicker: grilled sweet potatoes! I’m loving up on all that jazzy flavor with a whole bunch of nutrition as a bonus. Party in the houzzz.
Grilling skills? I lack them. But when I was forced to do the grilling when we made these for the second time in two days, it didn’t even matter that I was maybe just a leeeetle ambitious with my golden brown grill marks. Once they’re in the nachos, they are hiding under a nice little blanket of that lightened up cheese sauce. If the grill is just not your thing and you insist on being difficult, the oven works, too. Roasty toasty yum!
Here’s how the nacho-makeage goes.
Really truly, with a second person helping to grill so you don’t have to run back and forth from kitchen to patio, this can take you as little as 20 minutes. It might be less classy than a meal that takes hours, but… is it really? I have no shame in my love for speed meals.
And just like that, summer = nachos = healthy = vegetarian = delicious = big plate = happy happy joy.
These Healthy Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos are veggie-loaded and smothered with a lighter homemade cheese sauce and tons of fresh toppings.
For the nachos
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon each chili powder and cumin
1 14-ounce can refried black beans (I like Amy’s Organic brand)
1 cup frozen sweet corn
3 oz. multigrain tortilla chips (enough for a single layer)
chopped cilantro for topping
crumbled Cotija cheese for topping
For the cheese sauce:
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt – more to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used Monterrey Jack)
Sweet potatoes: Turn the grill on to medium high heat. Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce with a fork. Wrap the sweet potatoes in a paper towel and microwave on high for 4 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut sweet potatoes into wedges and toss with the olive oil, chili powder, and cumin (+ salt to taste). Transfer sweet potatoes to the hot grill and grill for a few minutes on each side until roasty and delicious.
Nacho assembly: Meanwhile, heat the refried beans on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through and roast the corn in a dry nonstick skillet until golden brown (see notes). On a large platter, arrange the chips in a single layer. Top with the sweet potato wedges, black beans, and corn.
Cheese sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup milk and heat until simmering. Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup milk with the flour; add to the saucepan and stir until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and the cheese until melted. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the nachos and top with cilantro and Cotija cheese.
There are always a few people who comment that dry roasting the corn ruins their skillets, so if you are not using a really well-finished nonstick surface, you might want to find another way to roast your corn!
The cheese sauce will congeal as it sits, so it’s best to use it right away after you whisk in the cheese or whisk in extra liquid as needed.
I liked the texture of the refried beans because they stuck to the chips a little better than regular black beans, but you could use either.
PS. I am totally obsessed with these chips – they’re Boulder Canyon Ancient Grains snack chips and they are rocking my world. You almost don’t even need the nacho toppings to experience their true deliciousness. ALMOST.