With heaps of ground beef, cheese sauce, beans, guacamole, and sour cream over fried and salted tortilla chips―a plate of nachos― satisfies a comfort-food craving. A lot less comforting: That nacho serving exceeds daily needs for sodium, saturated fat, and calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There’s good-for-you potential in the meat, veggies, and avocados, but the fun in in the crunchy-salty-cheesy deliciousness. So next time that nacho craving hits this football season try the following lightened-up recipe featuring regular tortilla chips covered with bacon-studded beans, shredded roasted lean pork tenderloin, finely shaved low-fat cheese and a salsa with avocado top the dish in place of mounds of guacamole, sour cream, and cheese sauce. Serve with a cool margarita… and don’t feel bad about taking a nice siesta afterward.

1,258 calories per serving  |   517 calories per serving
74.6 grams total fat  |  26.9 grams total fat
29 grams saturated fat  |  6.8 grams saturated fat
2,199 milligrams sodium  |  991 milligrams sodium
Ground beef  |  Shredded pork tenderloin
12 ounces shredded full-fat cheese  |  5 ounces finely shredded reduced-fat cheese

Lightened Up Nachos

Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 ounce chips, 1/2 cup beans, 1/3 cup pork, and 1/2 cup topping)


  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato
  • 1 cup diced avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped jicama
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Remaining ingredients:


  • 6 ounces sturdy tortilla chips (8 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 500°.

2. For meat, rub pork with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Place pork in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 23 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Remove from pan; cool 10 minutes. Shred pork with two forks to measure 2 cups; place in a small bowl. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons juice, and garlic.

3. For beans, remove 2 chipotle chiles and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Drop chiles through food chute with food processor on; pulse 3 times or until coarsely chopped. Add adobo sauce, water, and next 4 ingredients (through beans); process 5 seconds or until smooth. Stir in bacon.

4. Preheat broiler.

5. For topping, combine plum tomato and the next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); toss well to coat.

6. Arrange tortilla chips in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Top evenly with bean mixture; top with meat mixture, and sprinkle with cheese. Broil 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Top evenly with topping, cilantro, and jalapeño. Serve immediately.