Don’t let anyone tell you that nachos can or should only be the Mexican variety. Tortilla chips with cheese sauce, some beef or chicken, salsa and guacamole sure is great and all, I’m the first to order it whenever I can, but maybe it’s time for nachos to get a Mediterranean makeover. Maybe it’s time they move over. Maybe we all need to back off Tex-Mex nachos for a bit, and think outside of the appetizer box. These Greek Nachos are nachos new and improved. Nachos 2.0. The new way we nacho this summer. If you’re a big fan of Mediterranean flavors like I am, then you’re going to love these, I promise. There’s no need to even think about it any longer. It’s a yes and yes again. It’s like that one time when I made Mediterranean Taquitos but even better than that. Or when I made Mediterranean Calzones, Mediterranean Meatballs, and Mediterranean Gyro Fries. As you can see, I have a thing for Greek flavors, especially when they’re mashed into new and exciting recipes that we’re not traditionally used to.
This is a great “family style” appetizer or snack to make for a crowd. So keeping that in mind, I think that this summer we should make a promise to each other to put down those phones, turn off the tv’s, walk away from our computers and just unplug from technology. Not all the time, not every single day even, but at least one day a week. Let’s take back our weekends and step outside again. Let’s play a board game with family and friends, make some good food (these Greek Nachos are a great starting point), and just have some good old fashioned fun. Like people used to. Like we used to before we got boggled down with how many likes we get on a photo or with what celebrity did what and when and what they said. Let’s forget about all that and take back our lives. I’m the first to admit that I’m always on my phone, always on my computer working nonstop, but now that I’m married, I’ve decided to take back my weekends and unplug for two days, as much as I can. I highly recommend it. It’s liberating and so incredibly rewarding.
The first rule to any nacho is that you need a crunchy vessel of some sort to lay on all those toppings. And you gotta lay it on thick. But that’s the second rule and we’re not there yet. So because these are “Greek” nachos, instead of tortillas, we’re going to use pita chips. We’re making our own because it’s super simple and because the store bought pita chips are always all just crumbs and broken up and those aren’t proper nacho chips. So cut some pita breads into wedges and toss on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a shake to ensure they’re all on an even layer. Bake until golden brown and crunchy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Give them a toss halfway through baking to ensure even crunchiness.
While the chips bake, let’s turn our attention to the toppings for our Greek nachos. The first up is marinated tomatoes, and cucumbers. In a small bowl, combine halved cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.
**Note: Two notes here, the first is I used heirloom cherry tomatoes, which is my current obsession. My grocery store only has them sometimes, but when they do I get super excited because not only are they cute, but they’re more flavorful than the regular cherry tomatoes. The second thing is that you can have the tomatoes and cucumber marinating in the fridge up to 2 days in advance.**
The second topping is a homemade tzatziki. Which is a herby cucumber yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, stir together plain Greek yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, fresh chopped parsley, mint, oregano, and dill.
Season with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. You can add crushed red pepper flakes if you want a bit of a kick. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
**Tip: This can be make up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to use. It’s also great in wraps or sandwiches.**
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the ground lamb and break up with a wooden spoon cooking until no longer pink and just starting to brown and crisp. Stir in the onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh mint, parsley and oregano. Cook for a minute or two longer.
Once ready to assemble the nachos, combine the toasted pita chips into one baking sheet, or a large serving platter. I like using the baking sheet I baked them off on, one less thing to clean. Plus the rimmed sides, helps keep the toppings in.
Top the chips with the tzatziki, and the browned lamb. Make sure to spread the toppings evenly among all of the pita chips.
Then top with the marinated tomatoes and cucumber, but make sure to drain off the liquid because you don’t want to add that excess liquid to the nachos or else they’ll become soggy.
Top with sliced olives, chopped red onion, crumbled feta, fresh mint, parsley and dill. Serve with fresh lemon slices scattered around so that people can squeeze some fresh lemon juice at their discretion.
As with any nacho recipe, it’s best eaten right away because the toppings will eventually make the chips soggy. The whole point is to have crunchy chips to hold up all of those delicious and hearty toppings.
If you’re not a fan of lamb, you can definitely swap it out for ground beef, ground chicken, turkey or even pork. Basically, what I’m saying is that you can customize these any which way you’d like. Leave the meat out altogether if you prefer a vegetarian take on these.
Next time you’re having a craving for homemade nachos, put down those tortilla chips and swap them out for crispy crunchy pita chips instead. These Greek Nachos are calling your name this summer and if you don’t add them to your recipe rotation list, then you’re missing out and we can’t be friends anymore. I mean we can totally still be friends, I’m just trying to make a point. Give these a try. You won’t regret it.
- 8 white or wheat pita bread pieces, cut into wedges
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 medium Persian cucumbers, 2 sliced and 1 finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped, divided
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided
- ¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup pitted green or black olives, sliced
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Divide the pita wedges among two large baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine and then give the pans a shake to ensure the wedges are in a single layer. Bake until golden brown and crunchy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Toss halfway through baking, for even crunchiness.
- In a small bowl, toss together the cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, 1 tablespoon olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper until evenly combined. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, half of the mint, half of the parsley, half of the oregano, half of the dill, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper until evenly combined. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use. This can be made up to 3 days in advance.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add in the ground lamb. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat and cook until no longer red or pink, and it has begun to crisp up, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped yellow onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, remaining mint, parsley, and oregano. Stir to combine and cook for a minute longer. Remove from heat.
- To assemble, combine the toasted pita chips onto one baking dish or serving platter. Drizzle the top with the cucumber yogurt sauce. Then top with the browned lamb, the marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, olives, red onion, feta, fresh mint, parsley, and remaining dill. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.