March 6, 2022

Bomb Sweet Potato Nachos

Sweet potato nachos. A love child. You need this in your life, trust me. We have a lot of clients who are looking to increase plant-based meals, so we are always experimenting with new recipes and ideas to help our clients try new things in the kitchen. 

In Defense of Potatoes

Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes really don’t get enough credit. They have taken a reputation hit in this ~carbs are the villain BS era~ we are in. The facts are: potatoes of any type are a nutrient-dense carbohydrate, providing starch, fiber, potassium, vitamin A, B vitamins, and manganese. They are also affordable, so another big win.

A common misconception is that white potatoes are bad for you, and sweet potatoes are superior. When you look at the actual data (see below for a tidbit from our social media posts way back in the day), both potatoes have nutritional benefits. 

comparison of nutrition of sweet potatoes vs russet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are slightly lower in starch (we see this reflected in the total carbohydrate number), slightly higher in fiber, a lot higher in vitamin A, and a tad higher in vitamin C. A russet or white potato is slightly higher in protein and slightly higher in potassium. Aside from the difference in vitamin A content, the other differences are slight. 

Both potatoes are great sources of a variety of nutrients. For this sweet potato nachos recipe we are sharing today, I initially made it with russet potatoes. And it was absolutely delicious. I then made a version with sweet potatoes, and it blew my socks off. 

Because sweet potatoes bring sweetness (duh), it paired so incredibly well with the heat from jalapeños and salsa. This flavor combination made me a BIG fan of sweet potato nachos. See notes below for variation in instructions based on potato type. 

 

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Nachos:

ingredients laid out on marble table for sweet potato nachos

  • Sweet potatoes or russet potatoes. See note below if using russet potatoes. Directions are slightly different.
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Kale. I prefer using lacinato or dinosaur kale. It has more tender leaves and tastes less grassy to me than curly kale. You can use whatever type you prefer!
  • Jalapeño. I leave the seeds in. If you include the jalapeño in toppings you put in the oven (vs after oven), it mellows the heat a bit. If you desire zero heat, I would recommend deseeding the jalapeño. If you love heat, you could do some of both – add some in the step where it goes in the oven and add some raw on top as well. 
  • Roma tomato. You could use any type of tomato really, but I like Roma here because they are not as juicy as some other tomato varieties. This works well for this dish so things aren’t swimming in liquid. 
  • Red onion
  • Black beans. Great source of plant-based protein, making this meal a one pan meal with a source of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Win!!
  • Grated cheese. I love a combination of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese with these sweet potato nachos. I’m going to say something that most people probably will roll their eyes at, but I am not a big fan of pregrated/preshredded cheese. It does not melt well in my opinion, plus it’s more expensive. I have a high-quality grater I love and I buy block cheese and grate by hand. It melts sooo easily and beautifully, which is a big plus in a dish like sweet potato nachos. 
  • Other toppings you like such as cilantro, Greek yogurt or sour cream, salsa and avocado

 

Directions for Sweet Potato Nachos: 

You’ll want to start by slicing your sweet potatoes. If you have a mandoline, that will speed this process up. However, it can easily be done with a knife as well. Aim for about ¼ inch thick slices. 

Uniform thickness is far more important than uniform diameter here, so it’s okay if slices are of varying circle sizes as long as they are roughly the same thickness. This helps them cook evenly.

Place the potato slices into a large bowl. Add salt, olive oil and cayenne pepper. Toss to evenly coat. 

sweet potato slices in bowl with oil and seasoning

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add potato slices in a single layer. Do not overly crowd and stack slices on top of one another, but you do want the edges of each slice touching each other (see picture below). They will shrink in the oven, and we want the toppings you put on to have a base and not be all over in between the sweet potato slices. 

sweet potato slices laid out on baking sheet

Bake for about 20 minutes. This is an ideal time to get the rest of your toppings ready. To quickly prep the kale, I will pull the leaves off with my hands to separate the tender leaves from the woody stem (see picture below). Then I chop the kale. You can also use a knife to separate leaves from the rib, but I think simply using your hands is much faster!

side by side images of a hand ripping kale leaves and a bowl with chopped kale leaves

After about 20 minutes in the oven, you should start to see light brown spots on the sweet potatoes. Flip each slice. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes or until sweet potato slices are at your desired texture. Cook longer for more crisp, or less to maintain some softness. 

sweet potato slices on baking sheet after baking

Now it’s time to add your desired toppings that you want warmed up – kale, jalapeño, Roma tomato, red onion, black beans and grated cheese. Pop back into the oven for about 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted to your liking.

sweet potato nachos after oven with toppings

Add any remaining cold toppings, such as cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt or sour cream, salsa, raw jalapeño slices if you want more heat.

Admire your work, and enjoy!!

If you try this recipe, we’d LOVE to hear what you think! Please leave us a comment and rating :)

Sweet Potato Nachos

Veggie and protein-packed sweet potato nachos with ALL the fixings
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet potato nachos
Servings: 4 people
Author: Kelly Wagner, MS, RD, LDN

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lb sweet potatoes about 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 leaves kale lacinato or dinosaur kale; leaves chopped
  • 1 jalapeño diced
  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1.5 cups grated cheese Sharp cheddar & Monterey Jack for example
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • salsa

Instructions

  • Line an 18x12 inch sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice potatoes into 1/4" thick rounds. Place slices in large bowl. Add salt, olive oil & cayenne pepper. Stir until potato slices are evenly coated with the oil and spices.
  • Lay slices out in a single layer on the sheet pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  • Take potato slices out. At this point, you should start to see light brown spots forming.
  • Use a spatula to flip each potato slice over. Put back into oven for about 10 more minutes.
  • Take potato slices out of oven. Add desired toppings (kale, jalapeño, Roma tomato, red onion, black beans and grated cheese) and put sheet pan back into oven for about 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted to your liking.
  • Take sheet pan out of oven. Add any remaining cold toppings (cilantro, avocado, Greek yogurt or sour cream, salsa). Serve!
  • ENJOY!

Notes

  • If using russet potatoes, skip step 5. Meaning you will bake potato slices for about 20 minutes, then take them out and add toppings (kale, jalapeño, Roma tomato, red onion, black beans, cheese), and bake for about 10 more minutes.
  • This serves about 3-4 people as an entrée or about 4-6 as an appetizer.
  • This dish keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheating best done in oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Add any remaining cold toppings after heating. 

 

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About the Author: Kelly Wagner, MS, RD, LDN

I'm a Registered Dietitian (RD) based in Chicago, IL. I have worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including dialysis, ICU, as well as one-on-one nutrition counseling and groups.