Are you ready for some FOOOOTBAAAAALLLLL?!?!?

Whether you follow the sport or not, I’m sure you’re aware that there’s kind of a big game next week.

Some people are avid football fans and watch the games every week. I fall into this category. I love the game so much, I’m nervous that I may start having withdrawals two Sundays from now!

This year was especially fun for me because I got to watch my Jags in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years! (Stupid Tom Brady and your ridiculously good looks and throwing abilities.)

Some people, however, just like watching the Super Bowl for the hilarious beer and Dorito commercials.

Or perhaps you’re going to someone’s Super Bowl Party simply to see if J. T. creates another “wardrobe malfunction” at half time this year! Whatever reason you have for watching the sport, you’re going to need some good football snacks for game time right?!?

Can you think of a better football snack than nachos?!?….

I can.

Nachos that are healthy for you! (C’mon you knew I’d say that) You may be thinking—how on Earth could nachos be healthy? Well, one of my main goals is to show people that by making a few simple swaps they can still enjoy the foods they love while at the same time, maintaining nutritious eating habits. I mean “healthy and delicious deserve each other,” am I right?

Okay, enough, enough! Back to the food. Instead of fried tortilla chips, we are going to be subbing bite sized pieces of bell peppers! This is a terrific substitute because when baked, bell peppers lose some of their pungent pepper taste, but they still give you the same crunch you get from a chip. I’ve also brought back textured vegetable protein (TVP) to use as a swap for greasy ground beef. You may remember TVP from my meatless meatball post . TVP tastes like pretty much whatever seasonings you’re cooking it with.

Scroll down for the bonus recipe this week: taco seasoning! (Yes you can also buy the packets if you want).

I also use fat free cheese in this recipe. I know some people might say this is blasphemy, but hey I’m trying not to break my scale over here! However, if you need full fat cheese go for it. This recipe will still be a much healthier option than its greasy, carby alternative.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 3 servings


For nachos:

½ cup TVP

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup diced onions

2 tsp taco seasoning, recipe to follow

3 bell peppers, cut into 1-in squares

1 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup lettuce

½ avocado, chopped small

1 tomato, chopped small

1.     Preheat oven to 400.

2.     Place TVP in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak X ~10 minutes or until it rehydrates and becomes soft.

3.     Squeeze out water from TVP with hands.

4.     Heat oil in a saute pan. Add TVP, onions, and taco seasoning and cook over medium heat X ~5 minutes.

5.     When you notice TVP mixture starting to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a few tbsp. water to get all the goodies (aka flavor) from the bottom of the pan. Cook another minute.

6.     Fill pepper boats with onion mixture and place in preheated oven. Bake X ~10 minutes.

7.     Add cheese to peppers and bake an additional 5 minutes.

8.     Take peppers out of the oven when cheese is melted and top with tomatoes, avocados, and lettuce.

For Taco Seasoning:

Yields ~1/8 cup

1 tbsp chili powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp oregano

½  tsp paprika

½  tbsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1.     Mix all seasonings together.

The Cook’s 2 Cents:

·       I have a friend who gets skeeved out by proteins that she says “pretend to be meat.” If you’re like my friend, and are skeptical of TVP, an alternative to this is to use black beans instead as your protein.

·       When cutting the bell peppers, use the ribs to your advantage. The ribs are the little indentations of the pepper that have the white pith on the inside. Try to slice the peppers from top to bottom along the rib. This will cause the edges of the cut pepper to curve upward, providing a perfect little bowl to hold all of your goodies.

·       I love guacamole and salsa. So I always top the peppers with both of these despite the fact that I’ve already got avocados and tomatoes on there! Although it makes it taste great, that part is totally optional.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings Per Recipe: 3 (variable depending on the size of the pepper used)

Serving Size: ~12 pieces

Calories: 247       Fat: 9g   Sodium: 1160mg               Carbs: 23g             Fiber: 8g                 Sugars: 6g              Protein: 22g