Originally posted January 13, 2015. Updated June 2015.

Before marriage and kids, heading over to a local bar for happy hour to watch a game with friends was a pretty regular occurrence. Ahhh…the carefree days of meeting up for drinks and eating not-so-low-calorie bar foods with friends! Although I wasn’t a big fan of wings or sliders, I could never pass up a big plate of nachos. Beyond your basic chips and cheese, I had big love for loaded down, finger-lickin’ nachos with meat, vegetables, lime juice and (of course) lots of cilantro.

Right before Super Bowl last year, I saw tons of blog posts and recipes for “crowd pleasing,” “tailgate ready,” appetizers, dips and sides that would “score a touchdown with the football fans!” Deep fried, cheesy and creamy foods flooded the Internet. Problem was, after indulging over the holiday season, the last thing I wanted to see or eat was more gut-busting foods–all while watching other people exercise! (As a dietitian, I could spin-off into all sorts of eating behavior issues here, but I’ll spare you, for now.)

Okay, I know I’m totally sounding like a nagging mom right now…but bear with me just a bit longer.

I know the association factor of watching any sports event and eating heavy bar-type foods is major. It’s like going to the movie theater and eating popcorn; you (almost) can’t have one without the other. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting together with my family and friends to watch sports while eating great tasting foods but they don’t need to be loaded down with grease and covered with cheese or creamy dip to be satisfying. For me, the best part about watching sports with everyone is the social aspect; having my friends and family all together in one place is priceless. The second best part is watching the action of the game (especially if my team is winning!), and all the food is…a bonus.

After watching Beyoncé’s concert…ummm, I mean the Super Bowl game last year (!), I began experimenting with a recipe that I knew would not only be calorie controlled, but delicious and “a winner” with the crowd. (My last sports related pun!) I came up with my Loaded Turkey Nachos recipe using lean ground turkey, a mountain of vegetables and melted cheese hit with freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro and diced avocado for a mouthwatering finish. This dish has all the ingredients I want to scoop-up with my nacho chips and with less than 350 calories and a whopping 19 grams of protein per serving, it’s leaner than anything you’ll find at a stadium or restaurant. Not a fan of turkey meat? Swap it out for roasted chicken, lean ground beef or go meatless with pinto or black beans!

Next time you’re getting together with friends and family for a game, party or any occasion, feed the crowd with this healthy, filling and flavorful combination of sautéd vegetables and zesty ground meat. Plate the cooked mixture in the center of a large platter lined with baked corn tortilla chips and enjoy!

Loaded Turkey Nachos

Recipe by Christy Wilson
Servings: 6-8 (approx. 1 cup serving)
Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about one cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or drained and rinsed canned corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (93% lean)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon season salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese (or cheddar)
  • Juice from 1-2 key limes
  • ½ – 1 cup of chopped cilantro (save some for garnish)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Baked corn tortilla chips


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and bell pepper to the pan and sauté for a minute. Next, add tomatoes, mushrooms, corn and garlic. Sauté vegetables for about two minutes and mix ingredients to combine.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, season ground turkey with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, season salt and pepper. Add meat to skillet and crumble with wooden spoon. Cook meat for about 5 minutes and stir all ingredients together. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Reduce heat to low, allowing ingredients to simmer and flavors to combine.
  3. Squeeze fresh lime juice over meat mixture then evenly top with shredded cheese. Cover pan until cheese melts (about 2 minutes).
  4. For individual servings, place about one cup of meat mixture in the center of a medium sized plate. Line plate with about 1 ounce (10-15) of tortilla chips. Top with fresh cilantro, diced avocado and extra cheese.

*For a protein and fiber boost, add one can (or about 2 cups) of rinsed and drained pinto or black beans.
*For a spicy kick, top with sliced jalapeño chiles and your favorite hot sauce.  


Nutrition information
per serving (approx. 1 cup meat mix and 10-15 chips):
Calories: 341, Total fat: 18 gr; Saturated fat: 7 gr., Monounsaturated fat: 5 gr; Polyunsaturated fat: 3 gr; Trans fat: 0gr.
Cholesterol: 60 gr; Sodium: 480 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 27 gr; Fiber: 4 gr; sugar: 2 gr; Protein: 19 gr.
Vitamin A: 20%; Vitamin C: 30%; Calcium: 20%; Iron: 8%; Folate: 32 mg; Potassium: 385 mg.

So many vegetables are sautéed into this fun dish that make it filling and healthy!

Top this lean meat and vegetable mix with your favorite cheese. I use a shredded Mexican mix. Going with part-skim varieties will help save you some calories. 

The perfect combination of fun, delicious and healthy!