Tortilla chips are delicious, crispy, and always seem to be in endless supply. Until you reach into the bag and poof, there’s nothing waiting for you there.
There’s also the case of people who would rather eat something else than tortilla chips in a macho dish, or they just want to switch things up a little. There is hope for everyone. If you ever find yourself in a situation that calls for tortilla chip substitutes, we’ve got you covered.
Tortilla chips substitute
The best tortilla chips substitute provide some crunch, such as potato chips, sweet potato chips, tofu chips, plain ol’ carrots, belle peppers or jalapenos, lettuce leaves, radicchio, cauliflower, roast beet chips, and butternut squash chips.
All of these offer a wide variety of taste and texture. Some can be used raw, some are best baked, some can be fried, and you can always mix and match a few of them. The key point when deciding your tortilla replacements is what you love the most about a nacho dish: the crunch or the excuse to get that dip ?
Your substitutes will be decided by that answer, so take everything into account. And if you’re not sure, or you love both, just make a mixed platter of ‘chips’. Let’s take a look at what you can get.
While potato chips are obviously not made of corn, they are crispy, they are thin, and they’re shaped in a way that is just as efficient as a tortilla chip (for dipping we mean).
The upside to this is that you can easily find potato chips in many flavors and serving sizes. And they’re likely to please everyone.
The downside to potato chips is that they’re not tortilla chips, so they may not sit well with just everyone. And if you’re looking to cut down calories, this is not a good option.
Read also: Pico De Gallo VS Salsa
Sweet potato chips
Sweet potato chips are not as immediately obvious as regular potato chips, but they bring a lot to the table. They’ve got a nice texture and they’ve got just a bit of sweetness, like a tortilla chip. And they might be different enough from potato chips that mot people will readily accept them.
You can get sweet potato chips pre-made, or make a few batches at home. You’d need to slice the chips very thinly, so you’d need a mandolin to make thig work. Don’t fry these, instead dehydrate them in a low oven.
Tofu chips may sound a bit odd, but they’re made the same way as the above-mentioned sweet potato chips. You may need to cut the slices a little thicker so they don’t fall apart. You can get a whole lot of protein going if you’re looking for a low-carb alternative with these.
Carrots can be used as-is, in their raw form for some nice crunch, or baked to get a crispy texture instead. If you’re using the carrots raw you have a better chance at just chopping them into sticks that chips. Or, you can do big diagonal cuts to get the chips, or look for really big, thick carrots to get large enough chips.
Bell pepper or jalapeno
Bell peppers are delicious and the perfect excuse to get some cheesy dip, it’s what works best with these. If you want to spice things up you can throw in some halved jalapenos (seeds removed).
These work best as raw chips, because if you try to bake them they’ll only get soggy and sad. And in their raw form they keep a lot of their beautiful color, so you can get some nice plating going on.
Lettuce is also a great excuse to get some more sauce, and if you’re working with small yet sturdy lettuce leaves then it’s perfect. Some of the best leaves for dipping (or holding sauce) are found in smaller heads of lettuce, or more towards the inside of the lettuce if you have a bigger one.
The large floppy ones on the outside won’t help you in this endeavor. It doesn’t really matter what kind of lettuce you use, as long as it’s got the right texture and the leaf can hold its shape if it has some sauce on it.
Radicchio may sound like it should be right up there with lettuce, but we’re discussing it separately because of the difference in flavor. Radicchio is delicious and has a distinct earthy, bitter undertone that lettuce does not have. Not everyone likes that, so if you’re not interested you can skip over this.
But if a hint of bitterness is right up your alley, you’ll find both radicchio and endives to be incredibly useful in a tortilla chip substitute situation. With these the cheesy sauces work best, since they pair nicely with the bitter, earthy notes.
Cauliflower is probably not what you’d expect, but hear us out. This cruciferous veggie is great both raw and baked, meaning you can easily use it with a dip.
If you use it raw you’ll have a guaranteed crunch, though baking them is more difficult. You have to cook them, grind them to a paste (or close to a paste), strain them as best you can, and them mix them into something that holds them together. it could be aquafaba, it could be shredded cheese, whatever you like.
You have to form each individual ‘chip’ and bake them, several trays at a time. Or, you can look for pre-made ones though you can expect those to be already smashed inside the bag. These are incredibly fragile things.
Roast beet chips
Beets are a little earthy and sweet, with a flavor very close to corn. And this is great for a substitute, since you’ll get a nice flavor going. They have a completely different color and you will spend a while making these. Like sweet potato chips, you have to dehydrate them in a low oven. You can sprinkle on a bit of cooking oil to get some more flavor.
Butternut squash chips
Like roast beet chips, butternut squash chips are somewhat sweet and they may remind you of corn, but are a whole lot of work. These, too need to be sliced thinly and then baked in a low oven until dry. The trouble with these is that cutting a raw butternut squash is amazingly difficult, your knife will get stuck in it a lot.
Be very careful when handling this vegetable, and try to go for a smaller one.
In the end, the veggie you use for a tortilla chip substitute doesn’t really matter as long as you get the texture and flavor you’re looking for. You can mix and match and get several kinds of substitutes. The point here is to enjoy yourself, and your food.