Football is entertaining to watch, but let’s be real… the best thing about the season is the food. Spicy wings, loaded pizza, and bar bites galore—all paired with an ice-cold beer and team camaraderie. Sounds like the perfect Sunday, no? If you’re trying to avoid total gut-bombs, fortunately there are plenty of ways to enjoy healthyish game-day grub. The best part: There’s no need to skimp on flavor. These nine nacho-average recipes are proof.
The toughest problem to tackle when it comes to eating nachos is that once we start, we can’t stop. These mini pizzas throw a Hail Mary pass by providing pure satisfaction in just one serving. Made with whole-wheat English muffins, vegan cheese, beans, and tons of veggie toppings, they’re sure to keep you full through halftime.
Zucchinis are making a comeback. They first stole the stage as low-carb noodle substitutes, and now they’re stepping in for the beloved tortilla chip. Top with melted cheddar cheese, black beans, and the usual nacho fixings. You won’t even miss that corn chip crunch.
Sometimes the smallest changes yield the biggest results. That’s the case with this recipe, which keeps traditional ingredients such as cheese, corn, and pico de gallo, and makes small adjustments (like using black beans and grilled chicken for extra protein) to create a similar flavor with way more health benefits.
Made with multigrain tortilla chips and sweet potato wedges, this spicy spin on nachos is enough to fuel you through a full marathon (running or movie, we’re down for both). It also comes with a side of cheese sauce to drizzle on top or dip in. Need we say more?
Dessert is best when shared, and this sweet plate is definitely good enough for a group. Make your own base with multigrain flatbreads: Cut two into triangles, sprinkle with cinnamon and coconut sugar, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Then top with a cashew-based cheesecake drizzle, and pick a few toppings, such as fresh berries, cacao nibs, or toasted coconut. This one takes a little more work than the others, but it’s worth the effort, especially for vegan or dairy-free eaters.
Sick of the same old melted cheese and ground meat combo? Try these Greek-inspired nachos instead for a fresher take on the bar-food favorite. They’re made with pita chips instead of tortilla, and are loaded with feta cheese, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, olives, and a tahini dressing.
You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate (though this recipe would taste great with almond or cashew butter too). Simply melt your nut butter of choice, drizzle it over small slices of juicy apples, and top with dark chocolate chips. Yum.
Sunny-side up eggs are a great addition to basically any savory dish, and these nachos are no exception. Add them on top of blue corn chips, sweet potato slices, black beans, and cheese, then throw on some diced tomatoes, onions, and avocado (duh). These hearty nachos are definitely filling enough to be a meal, and with the runny eggs, your best bet is to eat them with a fork.
For those who want to cut back on carbs but don’t love zucchini, there’s still hope. Bell peppers make the perfect vehicle for nacho toppings, and unlike chips, the sturdy peppers won’t crumble when loaded. Spice up your night (and life) with this buffalo chicken version, which requires just five ingredients (plus mini peppers, of course): shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumbles, green onion, and shredded white American cheese.
Originally published September 2014. Updated January 2017.