Not-So-Average Nachos


They look like they’re slathered in a pile of melted cheese but that rich and gooey sauce you see is actually made with low-fat milk. The queso is simmered with onions and poblanos to add some heat, then Pepper Jack cheese and lime juice are stirred in right at the end. One of our favorite parts about these nachos is that you don’t need to bake them (because the cheese is already melted). You also don’t need to cook through the chicken, because the recipe starts with a rotisserie that gets shredded and briefly sautéed with spices. The dish is finished with crunchy nutrient-dense veggies: shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and cilantro.

Not-So-Average Nachos
It takes a lot of melted cheese to give a pile of chips full coverage. That’s why this plate is drizzled with our new and improved homemade queso, just as gooey and satisfying with a fraction of the cheese. Piles of pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and cilantro get served on top. These are basically salad nachos. Get the recipe:Not-So-Average Nachos. Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 ½ cups 1% milk, divided

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped 

  • 1 large poblano chile, chopped

  • 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 

  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 (11-oz.) bag tortilla chips

  • 1 cup drained and rinsed canned black beans

  • 1 ½ cups thinly shredded purple cabbage

  • ½ cup drained fresh pico de gallo

  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. Whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup milk in a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium high. Add the onion and poblano; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1¼ cups of milk. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt; stir until the cheese melts. Cover and keep warm.

  3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the cumin, chili powder, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Spread the chips on a platter and top with the chicken and beans. Drizzle the nachos with the cheese mixture and top with the cabbage, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

676 Calories
32g Fat
56g Carbs
43g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 676
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 1155mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 43g
Calcium 457mg 35%
Iron 3mg 18%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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