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For our top party tips episode, "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons shares two go-to sheet pan recipes—these Mediterranean nachos made with toasted pita wedges, chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, tahini sauce and feta and a giant Loaded Quesadilla. Both are fun crowd-pleasers and a breeze to prep and clean up. 

Pro Tip from Gail: There's no need to save these recipes for a party. They are also great for just one or two people. That way, you have the bonus of leftovers

Note: Any remaining pickled onion can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. 


  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo or cayenne pepper
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Four 8-inch whole wheat pitas
  • 3 tablespoons za'atar
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 lemon, ½ juiced and ½ quartered
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1/3 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
  • ½ seedless hothouse cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill (optional)


Serves: 4 to 6


Preheat oven to 400°F.  

On a sheet pan, pat the chickpeas between 2 layers of paper towels, repeating as necessary until they are very dry. Discard any loose skins.  

Toss the chickpeas with 1 tablespoon of the oil, ¾ teaspoon salt and the Aleppo or cayenne pepper, then spread in a single layer. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and crispy, 35 to 45 minutes (chickpeas may pop; this is okay). Set aside to cool.  

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the onion, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set the pickled onions aside for at least 30 minutes.  

Cut each pita into 4 even wedges, then separate each pocket into 2 pieces. Place pita wedges on a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle each wedge with half the za'atar and ½ teaspoon salt. Turn wedges over and repeat the process with the remaining oil and za'atar and more salt.  

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake wedges until lightly golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.  

In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir vigorously for at least a minute, until creamy, thick and smooth. Set aside.  

On a large platter, spread half the pita chips in a single layer. Drizzle with half the tahini sauce, then top with half the crispy chickpeas, olives, pickled onions (see Note), cucumbers, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle with half the feta. Repeat with the remaining pita wedges, sauce and toppings. Garnish with parsley and dill (if using) and serve immediately.