Nachos without corn chips? Surely such a thing doesn’t exist… right?
Wrong. While it’s hard to image a world in which chip free nachos exist, it’s definitely a thing and they’re delicious.
Nowadays, it’s a good idea to have a tortilla-chip free recipe in your arsenal, what with food allergies, special diets, and the “shocking” news that corn chips may not be that healthy for you. (What?!)
Enter the vegetable chip. If you’ve already mastered the art of the kale chip, now it’s time to expand your horizons to more exotic veggie chip alternatives.
The key to getting the proper crisp is to cut your preferred vegetable thin and bake the chips at a higher temperature; the baking standard of 325 degrees (depending on your oven) will likely yield a floppy end product. Otherwise, the basic formula is the same: baking sheet + sliced veggies tossed with oil and flavoring of choice = healthy “nacho” chips.
1. Kale Chips
Consider this your starter alterna-chip recipe: All you need is kale and about a tablespoon of oil. Tear lacinato, purple, or standard green kale into bite-sized pieces and bake at 350–375 degrees for 10–15 minutes.
These “chips” are delicate, so top them lightly and be gentle! (Or grab a fork and go nuts.)
2. Zucchini Chips
A mandolin, or the slicing blade of a food processor, will be your BFF when it comes zucchini chips. Slice thinly, toss with oil, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Make sure you check them every 2–3 minutes after the 10-minute mark — the time between lightly golden and overly dark isn’t long.
3. Sweet Potato Chips
The number of healthy meals you can make with sweet potatoes is endless, and you can add baked sweet potato chips to the list. These are a great choice for nachos because their starchy goodness will fill you up and keep you satiated. Roast at 400 degrees for at least 25 minutes.
4. Bell Pepper
Go raw, stay crunchy: Bell pepper “chips” require no effort beyond slicing. To get a chip-shaped bell pepper, cut the pepper into four equal side segments, then cut each quarter diagonally into two triangles. Load them up with your favorite healthy toppings and you’re ready to go.
5. Rainbow Carrot Chips
Skip the blah orange for the colorful tie-dye of rainbow carrots. Slice them lengthwise and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes for a beautiful base that’s almost too pretty to cover up. (Psssst… rainbow carrots are pretty good on their own, too.)
6. Swiss Chard Chips
You might not believe that chard chips taste amazingly like potato skins, but they do. Use rainbow chard for the most beautiful choice, but standard green will do.
These veggie chips are hardier than kale, so they’re a good choice if you want to go heavy with the toppings. You can tear the leaves into any size, just keep in mind that they’ll shrink up a bit when cooked. Roast at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes; they should be flat and crunchy when ready.
7. Cauliflower Chips
To make cauliflower chips, simply mix one egg (or two egg whites) per cup of steamed, riced cauliflower. Pat into thin rounds on a baking sheet, then use a knife to score your preferred shape: triangles, strips, or squares. Bake at 375 degrees until golden — at least 15 minutes. The extra step of prep is worth it for a result that’s so close to the real thing.
If you’re following a healthy eating plan, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your favorite comfort foods. It just means you’ve got to get a little creative in the kitchen. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to hack typically high-calorie foods into healthy, low-calorie treats.