Nachos get a bad rap, but if done right, they can be the perfect vehicle for delivering a ton of protein. And you can’t go wrong with this healthier take from executive chef Cliff Crooks, of BLT Restaurants and ESquared Hospitality.

The chef himself balances out all of the calories he consumes on the job by running from restaurant to restaurant and working out three times a week, but he also finds ways to lighten up the foods he eats off the clock. This Super Bowl Sunday, he’ll be making this hearty turkey-chickpea chili, which he then pours over a pile of chips.

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Just go easy on the chips—find baked ones if you can—before loading the good stuff on top.



  • 1-½ lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 2 oz tomato paste
  • 1-½ tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-½ tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1-½ tablespoons pasilla chile powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1-½ tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 chipotle peppers, seeded and chopped
  • Tortilla chips, 2 bags, your choice
  • 4 oz sliced pickled jalapenos
  • 1-½ cups grated cotija cheese
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro


  1. In large pot, add vegetable oil and heat. Brown ground turkey, making sure to continuously break up large pieces with a spoon or spatula.
  2. Once browned, add onions and bell pepper, and lower to medium heat while stirring continuously until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic, ancho chile powder, pasilla chile powder, cumin, sugar, thyme, cayenne pepper, oregano and black pepper. Heat over medium heat while stirring for 12 minutes.
  4. Pour in chicken stock, chickpeas, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cider vinegar and chipotle peppers. Keep stirring to mix well and reduce heat to a simmer for at least 40 minutes. Reserve until needed.
  5. To assemble the nachos: Arrange tortilla chips in a pile on serving platter and pour turkey chili over chips. Garnish with grated cotija cheese, pickled jalapenos and fresh chopped cilantro.