My Machos Bring All the Boys to the Yard…

As first generation Americans, my siblings and I were not exposed to nachos until we saw everyone eating them at a middle school sports rally. Like most children, we didn’t really have high culinary standards, so salty, crunchy chips drowning in a fake cheesy sauce hooked us immediately.

In high school, we looked forward to our parents’ night out so that we could raid the kitchen our own way. Thinking we were teenaged cooking prodigies, we piled cheese a foot high on stale chips and plopped them into the microwave. Regardless of the rubber-coated mountain that resulted, we were proud of our do-it-yourself nachos.

As adults, our tastes grew a bit more sophisticated, so we tried nachos with the works – topped with beef, onions, tomatoes, chiles and sour cream. There are two categories of people – those who wouldn’t touch nachos if their lives depended on it and those who will dive full throttle into a plate of nachos with no regrets, never mind the aftermath of meat sweats and lactose intolerance.

These days I can’t afford to go on nacho binges and still fit into my jeans the next day. The question of how to enjoy this treat somewhat guilt-free led to my recipe for “Machos.”

“Machos” are essentially Middle Eastern nachos, packed full of lean protein, fiber and, yes, real cheese. I swap out tortilla chips for crunchy pita chips. The thicker the pita chip, the more toppings it can hold without breaking apart. I tend to use really lean ground beef with 4% fat or ground turkey, but you can use the 80/20 ground beef for extra fat and flavor.  Instead of orangy cheese product, I use real mozzarella, which has lower saturated fat than most cheeses. I also add zesty feta cheese, because a little goes a long way.

Instead of salsa, a cucumber tomato salad, otherwise known as salata baladia, does the job of adding a juicy and crispy texture. I replace traditional sour cream with tzatziki sauce. For my recipe on tzatziki, you can check out my video here: You can also purchase store bought tzatziki for a shortcut. If you like a bit of spice, feel free to amp up the macho factor with a big splash of hot sauce. You can serve “Machos” on a platter or in bowls, so each person can dig in with a fork.

Try this recipe for a game day appetizer, or as a fun dinner any day of the week! My family loves customizing their own bowls and hope you enjoy this dish as much as they do. Check out my new video for this treat below:


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • Dash of lemon pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 12 ounces pita chips
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Tomato Cucumber Salad
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced
  • 1 large persian cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Tzatziki Sauce
  • 8 ounces full fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 large Persian cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove or 2 small cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste (about ½ tsp)

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