Feta must be the most useful of cheeses, the saltiness of the cheese adding spark to pizzas and salads, turning dips into treasured spreads, and baking into a gorgeous stuffing or filling or centrepiece. We have brought our favourite feta dishes together for you.
Over the years of my blogging (since 1995), there have been a number of recipes that have been stolen dozens if not hundreds of times. My Dal Makhani was the most used by others, and surprisingly, this recipe for Potato, Spinach and Feta Pie too. You can still find exact reproductions if you look, and in some places small alterations have been made.
This is the original version of the recipe – well, almost. Over the years I have added turmeric to the mixture. The original recipe appeared on my first blog, called Food Matters, no longer in existence, in 1998, so it truly is a retro recipe. The pie is still as terrific today as it was then.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.
Are you looking for a gorgeous, unusual spread for crusty bread or crackers? Look no further. This mix of soft goat’s milk feta with herbs, pine nuts and preserved lemon is just for you.
The spread can be dolloped lavishly onto crackers and bread, and eaten as-is, or topped with slices of cucumber or perfect, halved cherry tomatoes.
It is also wonderful tossed through salads – think green salads, grain salads, lentil salads. Or crumbled over sliced tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. Top cucumber slices with a tiny dollop and serve as an amuse-bouche.
We love this mix so much that we even stuff grape vine leaves with it and grill them on the BBQ as a pre-meal snack.
A long time ago I fell in love with Gratin dishes when I was working in Nancy in France. There was an art theatre there that often showed films in English, so I was a regular visitor. Close by, maybe even next door, was a little cafe that served only gratin style dishes. It was very convenient to have a meal and then pop next door to the theatre, so it became routine for me to visit. It was so good, I still remember it fondly, especially its Poire Belle Helene Dessert.
We have a number of gratin dishes here as a result of that little cafe, and today it is a Fennel Gratin made utterly delicious with feta and honey. The recipe comes from Ilva Berreta, food photographer and former food blogger. I miss her blog, it was full of the most delightful stories and recipes.
Similar dishes include Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Gratinéed Sweet Potato, and Pasta Bake with Cheddar and Cheese.
Feta cheese whips up into a smooth, creamy spread when blended with olive oil in the food processor. It’s a Greek thing, and the favourite way to flavour it in Greece is with garlic, mint and capsicums as a piquant dip for pita bread. A common variation on this is to combine it with capsicums, chilli and pistachios.
The beautiful dip and spread can be served in any number of ways. Serve with crudité or toasted baguette, warmed focaccia, toast, or flat bread. Place on a platter with veggie sticks and crackers. Serve it with radishes and cucumber spears for dipping. Lather it on grilled sweet corn and top with fresh herbs and grated Mizithra cheese or grated haloumi. Drizzle dakos or friselle with tomato juice and a good olive oil and top with this dip.
Baked Feta is a perfect mezza dish, served with crackers or flatbread. Flavoursome, soft, mouth watering, the baked feta is aromatic and elicits sounds of approval from your friends at your shared table. It is the sort of dish that you can make at the last minute – your friends arrive unexpectedly at meal time, as they do.
Or it is a great snack, mid afternoon, with a pot of mint tea. And it goes really well on Summery days when the BBQ is lit and people are milling around, nibbling, while the salads are made and the vegetable kebabs are cooking. We have also had it on a Winter’s day as we sit around the fire, reading, writing and chatting. Best of all, it is a perfect Summer Holidays dish, when no-one wants to cook much at all.
This recipe is a mish-mash of Italian and Greek. Definitely Mediterranean.
There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course, you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels. Then there are rice mixtures, baked in vine leaves, and, of course, feta or goat’s cheese wrapped in vine leaves.
This recipe also uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta too – which is mixed with herbs, pinenuts and preserved lemon, and wraps the mixture in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice. Grab your goat’s milk feta from your local Middle Eastern shop.
If you are using fresh vine leaves, the leaves from a fruiting grape vine are softer then those of an ornamental grape vine. I have used the ornamental vine leaves, and they are great, particularly for baking, but fruiting vines are better for stuffing and wrapping.
Do you have mixture left over? No worries, it is great on crusty bread or crackers.
Similar recipes include Baked Feta with Tomatoes.
There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many Spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels.
This recipe uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta especially – and wraps it in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Left over filling is wonderful in toasted sandwiches with tomatoes, or spread on crusty bread or crackers. Top the spread with thin slices of cucumber or tomatoes.
Similar recipes include Vine Leaves Stuffed with Goats Cheese and Pine Nuts.
Dakos, the salad, is a loved salad of Crete, made with rock hard crisp breads and tomatoes, feta and olives. Ottolenghi has a version in his book Plenty More, born of his stay in Crete where he fell in love with it.
Dakos is alsothe name given to oven-dried breads (often called rusks), which are made with barley to make them sweeter, nuttier and more crunchy than their wheat-only counterparts. Spread out on a plate and covered with the best ripest chopped tomatoes, good olive oil, some crumbled white cheese and black olives, they are seriously addictive. (Confusingly, both this dish and the unadorned rusks themselves are called Dakos!)
Cretan barley rusks aren’t easy to come by (try Greek grocers or online), but the salad Dakos is easy to make with any dried bread, e.g. the Italian Frese Integrali (aka friselle, freselle, frisedde, fresedde, frise) or the Swedish wholemeal Krisprolls, which are more commonly available in some supermarkets and many specialty stores. The tomato juices and vinegar seep into and soften the dry bread as they mix with the creamy cheese and olive oil, to create a timeless Greek experience.
However, if you don’t have access to Dakos or other rusks, try drizzling some medium thick slices of wheat bread with olive oil and baking for 10 – 15 mins in a 175C – 180C oven. They need to be hard, and the ingredients of the salad soak into the bread to soften it and make it addictively delicious.
The taste of any simple tomato-based salad is dependent on the quality of the tomatoes. There is a rich and beefy depth to end-of-season tomatoes that can exceed even those of high summer, but if yours are anything other than bursting with flavour, a pinch of sugar or a few drops of balsamic vinegar will help draw out their natural sweetness. And maybe mix your feta with some ricotta, to simulate the flavour of the sweet Cretan mizithra cheese, which is often served with dakos. (Thanks for this advice, Ottolenghi.)
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Today’s salad is Middle Eastern in style – fresh ingredients, simply sliced and served at every meal. It features feta – get some of the creamy feta from your Middle Eastern shop if you can. We have used fresh herbs from the garden, but feel free to use baby spinach, rocket and any soft herbs that you have at your disposal.
You can add some olives too, to make it more of a Greek Mezze salad.
Similar recipes include Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon, Cucumber, Feta and Mint Salad, Broad Beans with Feta and Lemon, and Baked Eggplant with Feta.