Roasted Veggie “Nachos”

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Roasted Veggie “Nachos” are a healthy, super satisfying spin on the typical appetizer that can be customized to taste and enjoyed as a filling, plant-based meal. Can be prepared on a single sheet pan, too!

Roasted Veggie “Nachos” are a healthy, super satisfying spin on the typical appetizer that can be customized to taste and enjoyed as a filling, plant-based meal. (Easy sheet pan prep is an added bonus!) 

 

We all know that diet and exercise go hand in hand. If we want to reach or maintain our fitness goals, we have to both eat well and get moving.

At the City Center YMCA where I try to make that happen several times a week, there’s a bulletin board where the trainers post an ever-evolving collection of motivational quotes, silly cartoons and helpful tips. Some of the postings go beyond the subject of exercise and health and can be applied to day-to-day life.

For example, a wise quote that I read years ago and have repeated many times since reads as follows: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Simple but true!

Another phrase adds perspective to many of life’s more challenging tasks: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

A recent bulletin board post, compliments of Maria, a YMCA trainer, listed the benefits exercise has on our mental health. At first glance, the list seems intuitive, yet so many of us think of a daily workout in terms of burning calories, losing weight, building muscle or looking better in our clothes.

Clearly, the benefits of a consistent fitness routine extend much further. Maria’s list, which came from Life and Fitness magazine and was based on several scientific studies, asserted that regular exercise does the following:

  1. Boosts endorphins or “happy chemicals”
  2. Lowers stress and relieves tension in the body
  3. Reduces anxiety
  4. Improves quality of sleep
  5. Improves self-confidence
  6. Increases productivity

Of course, the cold, dark days of winter can make even the most dedicated among us choose an extra hour of sleep over a brisk walk or a trip the gym – but as another quote questioned, “It only takes 21 days to make exercise a habit, so what are you waiting for?”

During one recent trip to the gym, I got chatting with Maria, who was working out with her mom, Sue. (Another tip: An exercise buddy can help keep us accountable!) Both are vegetarians and Sue is celiac. As such, they often cook together, both to accommodate their own dietary needs as well as those of Maria’s dad, the lone meat-eater in the house.

Roasted Veggie “Nachos” are a healthy, super satisfying spin on the typical appetizer that can be customized to taste and enjoyed as a filling, plant-based meal. Can be prepared on a single sheet pan, too!

We ended up trading a few favorite recipes, and the following roasted vegetable “nacho” recipe, which I’ve enjoyed several times since, seemed like the perfect balance to last week’s more indulgent game day fare.

Roasted Veggie “Nachos” are a healthy, super satisfying spin on the typical appetizer that can be customized to taste and enjoyed as a filling, plant-based meal. Can be prepared on a single sheet pan, too!

Loaded with complex carbs, plant-based protein and just enough cheese to feel decadent, this colorful dish satisfies like comfort food without sabotaging fitness goals. Similar to traditional nachos, it can be adorned with a dollop of guacamole (a heart-healthy fat), salsa (low calorie but lots of flavor) and Greek yogurt (a protein-rich alternative to sour cream).

As Maria points out, the recipe is flexible, so feel free to incorporate additional vegetables (like bell pepper and onion), or add some shredded chicken, lean ground beef or turkey along with or instead of the beans. For those who long for the crunch of tortilla chips, crumble a few on top or use a judicious amount as a base when serving.

Roasted Veggie “Nachos” are a healthy, super satisfying spin on the typical appetizer that can be customized to taste and enjoyed as a filling, plant-based meal. Can be prepared on a single sheet pan, too!

Roasted Veggie “Nachos”
Yield: 4-6 servings
Roasted vegetables take inspiration from a popular appetizer in this plant-based meal that’s healthy, easy and surprisingly satisfying – and best eaten with a fork!
Ingredients
  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds before cutting into florets)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (store-bought or easy homemade recipe)
  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Optional for serving: guacamole or chopped avocado, plain Greek yogurt, red or green salsa, chopped fresh cilantro, tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425℉.
  2. Chop the sweet potatoes into wedges (I don’t peel them) and the cauliflower into bite-size florets.
  3. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the oil and taco seasoning. For easier tossing, you can do this in two batches, coating with half the oil and seasoning at a time. (You want just enough oil to lightly coat the vegetables.)
  4. Spread the vegetables evenly over a large, rimmed baking sheet* and bake for 30 minutes, give or take a few depending on oven, or until tender and lightly golden. Check after 20 minutes or so and stir, if needed, to encourage even browning.
  5. Remove the tray from the oven and distribute the black beans and cheese evenly over top.
  6. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot. Optionally, you may broil for a minute or two, watching closely, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in spots.
  7. Serve with salsa, guacamole and other toppings of choice.
Notes

If your baking sheet isn’t big enough to evenly distribute the vegetables, you may wish to use two of them. In this case, move all the vegetables onto one baking sheet before topping with the black beans and cheese.

 

Variations

• Substitute cooked ground beef, ground turkey or shredded chicken for the black beans – or add some along with the beans.

• To appease nacho traditionalists, you may incorporate some tortilla chips when adding the beans and cheese – or simply use a small handful as a base when serving or use some crumbled chips as a topping.

• Sour cream could be used in place of Greek yogurt.

• Pepper Jack, mozzarella, a Mexican blend or a combination of cheeses can be used instead of cheddar cheese. I prefer a slightly lighter topping of cheese so use closer to 1 cup.

 

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Sources: Life and Fitness Magazine and Half Baked Harvest

 

 

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    1. Ann Post author

      I’m going to miss it, too, Carol, but am so grateful than some of those readers are finding their way here. So glad you are one of them!

      Reply