One of my favorite foods growing up was frito chili pie. I know, so not healthy – guilty as charged. But so good! Loads of crunchy, salty fritos topped with hearty chili and handfuls of cheese – so delicious. And no veggies in sight; just the way I liked it back then. Oops.
But worry not! Things have changed. I love veggies now. In fact, most nights I request “something with tons of veggies” for dinner. It’s John’s favorite (eye roll).
More evidence of my ever-evolving healthy palette is my love for baked things over fried things. Baked chips are (almost) as good as the real thing. So when I recently re-discovered my love for homemade tortilla chips and tortilla soup via the ever-talented Kate, I couldn’t help but dream to recreate my old favorite: chili cheese fritos.
These fritos are so simple and you likely already have all the ingredients on hand. You just need the spices listed above, corn tortillas and a little oil. I also added a pinch of nutritional yeast for a vegan-friendly “cheese” flavor, but it is certainly optional.
The best and easiest part, in my opinion? Once baked you just have to find something to bury them under. Like I said, BEST PART EVER.
While these chips don’t taste exactly like the original, they are seriously close and way better for you since there’s no frying and zero questionable ingredients involved. Just tortillas, spices and olive oil – straight forward food. Junk food made healthy, indeed. Enjoy!
Baked Chili Cheese Fritos
- 6 yellow corn tortillas
- 2-3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp each cumin, onion powder, garlic powder*
- 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Preheat oven to 380 degrees F (193 C).
Add all spices and seasonings to a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut your tortillas into equal strips (see photo).
Transfer to baking sheet and toss in oil until well coated.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Watch out, they’ll burn quickly past the 14- to 15-minute mark.
Once removed from the oven, immediately add tortilla strips to the seasoning mix and toss to coat. If they appear to have dried in the oven while baking, you can spritz them with a little oil so the seasonings stick better.
Transfer to a serving bowl or plate with a slotted spatula to shake off excess seasoning. You’ll likely have extra seasoning, which you can store for later use if desired.
Serve immediately with chili, soup or dips. Store leftovers in a storage bag or Tupperware at room temp for up to a couple of days, though best when fresh.
*1 tsp tomato powder is an optional and great addition, and it will add a bit more chili-tomato flavor. However, it is a difficult ingredient to find in my experience and isn’t really necessary. If you have it on hand, though, add it in!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.