Loaded Mini Pepper Nachos are a wonderful low-carb version of a Tex-Mex classic that is hearty, healthy and satisfying. Mini bell peppers are filled with super flavorful ground meat and black bean mixture, topped with grated cheese and baked to melty perfection. Add your favorite nacho toppings and wow your family with this easy, quick and spectacular weekday dinner or game day snack.
Nachos are probably one of my kids’ top 3 favorite dinners of all times. They could probably eat loaded nachos 5 times a week with no complaints. While I love how easy, quick and versatile this dinner is, a mount of corn tortilla chips with melted cheese is not exactly a nourishing meal.
I decided there must be a way to enjoy all the nacho flavors in a healthier way. The solution is simple but genius: mini bell peppers instead of tortilla chips! The peppers serve as fabulous vessels for all the nacho toppings – they bake fast (no need to pre-cook), they’re low-carb and they help you add more veggies to your day. That’s a true win, win, WIN type of dinner.
If you like Tex Mex flavors, be sure to also check out this super easy Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili recipe.
- Mini Bell Peppers: they usually come bagged and can be found near regular bell peppers at the grocery store.
- Ground Turkey: I used 80% lean ground turkey but you can also use ground beef, pork or chicken, if you prefer.
- Canned Black Beans: my favorite brand of canned beans in Goya.
- Taco Seasoning: I recommend my kid-friendly homemade taco seasoning that I use for all my Mexican-inspired dishes but if you prefer, use a good quality store bought brand taco seasoning.
- Tomato Paste: to make the taco meat a little more saucy and add another layer of umami flavor.
- Grated Cheese: I used a mix of 1 cup of cheddar and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese but a taco blend or any other grated cheese will work.
How to make mini pepper nachos
STEP 1: Prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink breaking the meat with a wooden spoon as you go. Then add tomato paste, taco seasoning and water. Stir everything together and cook another couple of minutes. Finally, stir in rinsed and drained black beans.
STEP 2: Prep the peppers. Cut them in half and remove all seeds and stems. Arrange the pepper halves on a large baking sheet in one layer. They should be close together.
STEP 3: Scoop the meat and bean mixture into the pepper halves. It’s ok if it spills over and in between the peppers.
STEP 4: Top your “nachos” with cheese. Start with 1.5 cups but if it looks like it could use more cheese, feel free to add more.
STEP 5: Bake in the oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Note: After 15 minutes the peppers will be cooked al-dente (tender but not soft like when you make stuffed peppers). If you prefer softer peppers, you can also cover the baking tray with aluminum foil, bake 5-10 minutes longer, then remove the foil and cook a couple more minutes to get the cheese slightly brown.
STEP 6: Add your favorite nacho toppings. I topped mine with diced acovado, tomatoes, chopped cilantro, salsa, sliced jalapenos, sour cream and lime quarters (see more suggestions below)! Serve immediately.
Toppings and serving suggestions
There are so many different ways you can dress these low-carb nachos! They’re designed to be loaded so think big! Some topping ideas include:
- Diced avocado or guacamole
- Diced tomatoes or sliced cherry tomatoes
- Diced red or sweet onions
- Chopped cilantro, scallions or green onions
- Cooked corn kernels
- Your favorite salsa
- Sour cream, Greek yogurt or blended cottage cheese
- Chopped black olives
- Lime juice or quartered limes
- Sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers
- Fresh Mango Pico de Gallo
Make sure to also check out this epic list of 20 Best Sides for Shrimp Tacos which includes a ton of tasty and exciting ideas for side dishes and toppings that will work with nachos, too!
Storage and meal prep tips
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. If your mini pepper nachos are already topped with anything “wet”, such as avocado, chopped tomato, sour cream, it’s probably best to eat the leftovers in the first 24 hours or they might get too soggy. If you would like to meal prep these sheet pan low-carb nachos, bake them topped with meat, beans and cheese according to the recipe. Then divide between airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. When ready to eat, reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through. Then add your favorite toppings and enjoy.
Substitutions and special diets
As with regular nachos, the topping possibilities are endless. You can easily adjust what you put on the peppers to make this dish fit your dietary choices. Here are some suggestions on how to alter the recipe.
- For a keto version, skip the black beans and go with all meat filling.
- If you don’t want to use ground turkey, swap it for whatever ground meat you have – beef, pork or chicken will all work great. You can also use shredded chicken or pork, if you prefer.
- For a plant-based variation, use impossible meat, chopped mushrooms or cooked lentils instead of turkey.
- These mini pepper nachos are naturally grain and gluten free.
If you try this recipe and like it, I would love for you to leave me a comment below! No time to make it now? Pin it for later!
More low-carb dinner ideas
- Chicken Caprese Sheet Pan Dinner
- Low-Carb Tuna Melt Zucchini Boats
- Egg Roll in a Bowl (Keto, Paleo)
- Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Goat Cheese and Spinach Skillet
- Creamy Coconut Tomato Shrimp
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Loaded Mini Pepper Nachos (Low-Carb, Gluten Free)
- 1 ½ lbs mini bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
- 15 oz can of black beans
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ½ cups grated cheese
- diced avocado
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- chopped cilantro
- sliced cherry tomatoes
- sliced jalapeno peppers
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Empty the black beans into a sieve, rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.
- Prep the meat. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon. Once the meat is cooked, add tomato paste, taco seasoning and water. Stir together and cook for a couple more minutes. Add black beans and stir until combined.
- Wash the mini peppers, cut them in half lengthwise, remove the stems and seeds.
- Place the pepper halves in one layer (close together) on a large baking sheet.
- Using a spoon, fill the pepper halves with the turkey-black bean mixture. Top with grated cheese and bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Top with your favorite nacho toppings and serve immediately.