It’s been a while since I’ve addressed my title selections. So, let’s take a quick look at why I’ve classified this recipe as a healthy Frito pie.
When you think “healthy” you may think of plate full of colorful fruits, vegetables, and kale—lots and lots of kale. This line of thinking isn’t wrong. Fruits, vegetables, and even kale are packed full of valuable micronutrients that are amazingly healthy. But the same things could be said for the micronutrients in meats, cheese, beans, and even corn tortillas like we’ll be using in the recipe.
My point is this: Micronutrients are in everything we eat, and nutrient deficiencies in America are increasingly rare. I’m not saying nutrient dense foods aren’t important, I’m just saying that paying attention to quantity in addition to quality is the key.
When I call a recipe healthy, it’s because its calorie composition is significantly lower than alternative options. This often means quality gets a bump as well, but the primary goal is to make eating more food for fewer calories possible.
So you may not classify a Frito chili pie as healthy on its own. But when you can eat a huge plate of food that tastes amazing and get 41 grams of protein with only 9 grams of fat, a recipe has earned its healthy stripes in my mind.
Healthy Frito Pie Ingredients
Now that we’ve got the long intro out of the way, let’s get to the ingredient deets.
Low Calorie Corn Chips
The base of your healthy Frito pie won’t actually be Fritos (sorry Frito Lay). We’ll be using thin corn tortillas and cutting them into strips.
The entire rack of corn chips you see in the photo above will only cost ya 360 calories. For comparison, 360 calories equates to only two servings of real Fritos.
These are the same tortillas I use for just about any recipe that calls for chips. Like my best healthy nachos on the internet recipe, for example.
You could also use something like my low carb cauliflower tots as a great base!
Okay, we’re technically cheating here. One of the three ingredients for the chili is actually canned chili. Doing this saves a ton of time and seasoning work, but you’re more than welcome to use your grandma’s world famous homemade chili recipe here.
For the canned chili, I used Hormel vegetarian with beans. They also make a turkey chili that’s ridiculously high protein and low fat. Since we’re adding an entire of beef, however, I decided to use a meatless chili.
If we’re being honest, it’s hard to go wrong with cheese. For this recipe, I used a reduced fat Mexican blend of cheese with 80 calories per 1/4 C (28g). If you can’t find the same cheese, do not fret. Any reduced fat or 2% cheddar would work fine, and you could even use sliced cheese instead of shredded.
That’s all I have in terms of ingredient notes. Just know you can always make modifications and make this recipe your own. Enjoy!
- 9 Extra Thin Corn Tortillas, I used Mission
- 1 lb Lean Ground Beef, 96/4
- 15 oz can Chili, I used Hormel Vegetarian w/ Beans
- 15 oz can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 C (56g) Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese, I used Sargento 4 Cheese Mexican
- Preheat an oven to 400F.
- Cut the tortillas into 7 strips and then once down the middle. (I stack all 9 and use a pizza cutter to make this easier.) Add the strips to a baking sheet or wire rack. Spray with a bit of nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the corn chips are in the oven, add the beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef as it begins to brown and add the chili once the meat is cooked through. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
- Divide the corn chips into however many servings you're going to eat and top with the beef/chili mixture and cheese. If you'd like more cheese, feel free to add some. (To fully melt the cheese, you can plate each portion and microwave for 20-30 seconds or add beef to the chips as a whole and bake for a few extra minutes.)
Each serving has 8 Smart Points.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Frito Pie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 439Total Fat: 8.5gCarbohydrates: 53.5gProtein: 40.5g