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First you get the tequila and the limes. For the matching margaritas, then you need ground beef, cheese, chips, and jalapenos slices. Pickled jalapenos naturally.

Uh, slow down. Reconsider the idea. Think outside the box. Way, way outside the box.

From the brilliant and delicious Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients, author John Waite suggests a middle eastern alternative. It’s gorgeous and can be either an appetizer or your main meal.

Pita bread replaces the usual chips. Ground lamb for ground beef. Feta cheese now, not one of those Mexican ideas. And pomegranate seeds substitute for jalapenos.

Surprise you family or party guests. Announce “nachos” as your approach the table. Put down the platter and let everywhere guess where these “different” things are from. Don’t worry. One bite and Mexico will be but a memory.

Middle Eastern Lamb Nachos

Yield: serves 6 to 8


  • 6 pita breads
  • 18 ounces ground lamb (20% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons sumac, plus extra to finish
  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 3 ½ ounces feta cheese
  • Sea salt flakes coarse black pepper
  • Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Cut the pita breads into bite-sized triangles—I cut each one into about six—and place them, well-spaced, onto a large baking sheet. Once the oven is hot, bake the pita pieces for 15 minutes, until crisped up, and ever so slightly browned. Remove the sheet from the oven, but leave the pita pieces on it to crisp even more as they cool.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the lamb and sumac with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons olive oil—I use my hands to squelch everything together, so that it’s all perfectly mixed.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet—one you have a lid for—over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground lamb and fry, turning once, until lightly browned. Cover with the lid to trap in the steam. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes—the lamb should be flavorful and tender, and there should be a little bit of juice in the pan.

Scatter the pita pieces around the serving plate and scatter the spiced lamb over the top. Top with the seeds from the pomegranate (I slice the pomegranate in half, hold one half cut-side down over the plate, and bash the top side with the back of a wooden spoon, scattering seeds and juice on top of the lamb). Finish by crumbling over the feta, and adding an extra sprinkling of sumac.

Source: Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients [Kyle Books, 2017]