Beef & Quinoa Squash Nachos

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One exclamatory word . . . SQUACHOS!  These chip-free nachos, made on slices of summer’s finest squash are life-changing and worth shouting about, especially for those on a low-carb or higher protein diet. Actually, my Beef Fajita Quinoa Squachos are a snack revolution regardless of your dietary leanings. Not only does this finger food taste fantastic (even my kids eat them), but who among us couldn’t stand to squeeze a few more veggies into the day!

Use your favorite variety of summer squash – it’s cheap and plentiful!

The “crunch factor” is of the utmost importance in nachos enjoyment, whether traditional tortilla chip nachos or an alternative spin on the beloved appetizer. The primary job of the bottom layer ingredient is to transport toppings from the platter to the mouth while minimizing spillage and sogginess. A nice round slice of zucchini or crookneck squash makes the perfect vehicle to get the job done, especially if given a boost in texture from ingredients that crunch upon cooking. I’ve created a topping to do just that, made from almond meal, quinoa and cheese. As these melt together under the broiler, that little crunch thing starts happening.

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In addition to being an excellent snack for people on a low-carb, higher-protein diet (and possibly following the#ProteinChallenge ), this recipe also has the dietary distinction of gluten-free. All the ingredients used in Squachos are naturally free of gluten, so those allergic, intolerant or just avoiders can dig in without a worry in the world.

Let me offer a few tips for speed and convenience in the making of Squachos. First, instead of grilling up skirt steak specifically for this recipe, I use leftovers from earlier in the week or even swap out the skirt steak with slices of steak I’ve stashed in the freezer. I’ve also prepared the recipe using pre-cooked beef fajita strips found packaged in the meat department. Also, if you make quinoa often, just double up the recipe one night and stash the uneaten portion in the freezer. This time-saving tip makes it easy to grab and defrost the small amount needed for this recipe. However, if cooking from scratch, don’t fret – it only takes 15 minutes to make quinoa on the stove top.

I have been known to make a batch of Beef Fajita Quinoa Squachos as a quick weeknight meal. They are also the ideal healthy snack for all those upcoming end-of-summer gatherings, including the viewing party I’m planning for the Summer Olympic Games.  Enjoy!

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Beef Fajita Quinoa Squachos

*Serves 4 as light meal or 8 as appetizer.

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