crunchy mexican salad nachos

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mexican salad nachos
fresh and crunchy, raw and cooked

I am wild about Mexican food and I love Nachos.  I don’t mean the greasy, one-dimensional nachos you get at many restaurants, but proper Nachos.  Using good quality corn chips that hold their crunch, nice spicy and fresh salsa, melted cheese and then all the other bits and pieces.

I love adding fresh and raw ingredients to my nachos, so thought this was a healthier way to get my fix without too much of the ‘bad’ (but very tasty) stuff.  So there is no sour cream or guacamole, and only a sprinkle of cheese, but lots and lots of flavour.


When I’m in a hurry, I make a ‘cheats’ salsa.  I chop up ripe tomatoes (and by this I mean tomatoes that have ripened out of the fridge) because I want the freshness in the salsa.  To this I then add some finely chopped red onion or spring onion, and then a few tablespoons of a good quality jar salsa like Old El Paso’ or Woolies. Approximately 1 tablespoon of salsa per tomato.


My favourite corn chips are from Mexicorn. They are the perfect size and thickness to hold the sauce without going all limp. They do a large range of flavoured cornchips called ‘Nachos Grande’, but I quite like using just the plain salted when making Nachos.


For the salad part that goes on top use whatever ingredients you like or have available. I find nachos, along with quesadillas to be a perfect meal to use up bits and pieces lying around the fridge. I had one mielie (corn on the cob) so scraped off the kernels and quickly steamed (frozen corn is also perfect).  I like finely sliced red onions, cucumber and peppers. Fresh cherry tomatoes and then coriander leaves to scatter. You could add slices of fresh avocado, beans or carrot.

How to make:

  • Heat your oven grill. Microwave your corn chips for 1 minute – I do this in order to a) heat them up and, b) they become even more crunchy
  • Place a layer of corn chips at the bottom of a baking tray or dish according to desired quantity
  • spread over a few generous dollops of the salsa and then sprinkle over some grated cheddar
  • place under the grill until the cheese is melted (I always put the nachos on the middle shelf, so not directly under the element)
  • scatter over your salad ingredients, season generously and serve

With this recipe junk food got a whole lot healthier.

scoop and eat, the perfect sharing foodbright and colourful and full of flavour
bright and colourful


  1. You`re a legend.

  2. Fresh and delicious Sam, this looks amazing.

  3. Such a healthy makeover – I think nachos will be featuring a lot more regularly on our menu from now on! Love the pretty colours of the toppings too – it screams summer.

  4. THIS is what I will be making to satisfy my craving for Nachos without the guilt. YUM!

  5. Lori – it really hits the spot without as much of the guilt.

  6. Love the composition in the first photo. Healthy and delicious looking salad.

  7. Guacamole is one of those good fats, like olive oil, that you are actually better off eating in moderation than totally avoiding. Please don’t equate it with sour cream and cheese. nice, colorful salad though. I love the idea of crunch using nacho chips.

  8. Poornima, you are right, avo would be lovely in this salad and I would have included a few thin sliceds if I had had on hand.

  9. Drool! Thanks so much for a gorgeous recipe. Such a good option for gluten-free as well as looking so scrumptiously healthy with those veggies.

  10. Thank you Mel, I love that its healthy and still delicious and nachos-ey.

  11. Hey Sam, being American it is in my blood to obsess about mexican food. So, I would love your advice on which restsurant in cape town you think serves the nicest Mexican? Still searching to find mine!

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