Veggie-Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Hey there! I know it has been a least from my perspective. Since I am new to this blogging world, I've yet to establish a consistent schedule for myself. I would love to be sharing recipes and nutrition tips with you at least once a week, but life definitely got in the way over the last two months! Holiday shopping, having new responsibilities at work, starting a new car-buying process and deciding to start Game of Thrones took up a lot of my time. But now it's Super Bowl time and of course my thoughts are...."What are we eating?!"

First, some updates on my job! If you have read my About Me page, then you know I work as a clinical dietitian in a hospital setting. I provide both inpatient and outpatient services as part of a team of RDs. When I started back in May, my job was only part time. This is pretty normal for dietitians to start out with per diem or part time hours. However..there is always room for growth! My part time has become full time and I am now one of the new dietitians for the bariatric surgery department! This means that once week, I counsel patients who will be undergoing weight loss surgery, and continue to follow up with them afterwards. As I have said before, I LOVE outpatient and getting to work with patients one on one so I am really excited about my new position!

Ok...and now for food :)

If I were to really and truly, gun to my head, choose one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would very likely be chips and salsa. Like the really delicious homemade chips with some spicy and well-seasoned salsa. I can't go without. Just ask my family.
And nachos are basically that x1000.

So I was craving nachos on a game day a few weeks ago but we also needed a generally healthy dinner. And what happened? Sweet potato nachos! 

This recipe coming up is written just as messy as nachos should be. I wrote it how I made it..without really measuring anything. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking, omit some if they're not your thing, or even add some extras. Next time, I definitely want to make this with some pulled chicken or ground turkey. 

And if you are catching this recipe after football season is over, it seriously makes a great dinner option! To me, nothing is better than eating something delicious (and healthy..wink) at home that you'd otherwise pay 5x the price for at a restaurant. 

With that, here is some sweet potato nutrition:

Sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin A as you can tell by that vibrant orange color. Vitamin A is essential for skin, vision, bones, immunity, and so much more. They also contain a ton of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Potatoes often get a bad rap. However, research suggests that sweet potatoes may actually raise your blood sugar less than white potatoes, which would make it a great option for regulating blood sugar, especially for people with diabetes.

Some of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes:

- This "Stuffed Ranchero" recipe by the dietitians from Food Heaven Made Easy

- Sweet potato casserole...Amazing.

- Roasted for 40 minutes with olive oil, rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper

- The "Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies" from the Run Fast, Eat Slow Cookbook! I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook and those cookies are addicting!

- Or...simply poke holes in it, wrap it in paper towel, and microwave for about 6 minutes or until done!

Sweet potatoes are so versatile. What is not to love?

I hope you enjoy these nachos! When I first made them, Kevin tried to grab it all with his fingers like regular nachos. Even though I said this can get messy, I still recommend eating with a fork :) 

Happy eating! xoxo

Recipe: Veggie-Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos
Serves: Depends!
I would say:
As a meal - 2 with a little left over
As an appetizer or side - 4
When there is a lot of other food ;) - 6

3 medium sweet potatoes (or 2 large)
Olive or avocado oil
About 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1 jalapeño pepper, diced (or 2 if you're feeling a little extra spicy)
1 tomato, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 big handfuls of greens (I used a mix of baby spinach and baby kale)
Optional sweet potato seasonings:
- Salt
- Paprika
- Garlic powder
Optional toppings:
- Guacamole or simply mashed avocado with lemon juice
- Your favorite salsa
- A dollop of plain Siggi's dairy or any plain high-protein yogurt!

To make:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly. Cut into about 1/4 inch-thick rounds. 
3. Toss lightly with olive oil or spray with oil with a high smoke point (I love the Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray for this!)
4. Optional: Season sweet potato slices with optional seasonings listed above. I made mine plain and just took in the flavors or everything else and they came out great!
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender, flipping halfway. 
6. When potatoes are done, you can choose to create your nachos on the same baking sheet, a deeper casserole dish, or a 12-inch cast iron skillet if you've got one! I firmly believe everything tastes 100x better out of cast iron.
7. Spray bottom of baking dish of choice (Unless you're using the same baking dish, then just create a bottom layer with half the amount of sweet potato slices.
8. Add 1/2 tomato, 1/2 amount of black beans, 1/2 amount of jalapeño pepper.
9. Top those ingredients with the greens (leave some left over for the top!).
10. Top greens with 1/2 amount of cheese - about 1/3 cup.
10. Add second layer of sweet potatoes.
11. Repeat step 8 with same ingredients. Top with a small amount of greens and then the remainder of the cheese.
12. Put back in oven and bake for another 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
13. Add cilantro to your liking.
14. Dig in! Top with guac, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt/skyr, and salsa! Get messy and enjoy :)