I’ve learned more about dips during my time in the Midwest. Midwesterners love warm dips – cheesy artichoke, nacho cheese with Ro-Tel, and more recently, buffalo chicken (yes, chicken in the dip). Northern California is more of a cold-dip-and-veggies kind of place – guacamole, hummus, and the occasional spinach dip in a sourdough bread bowl. It must be the weather.
Though inspired by a local market in Ohio, this Mediterranean dip with roasted red pepper, kalamata olives and feta cheese has more of a California vibe. It’s packed with flavor and goes as great with crunchy cruditÃ©s as it does with a sturdy chip.
With creamy mayonnaise, cheese or sour cream bases, dips can be dangerous territory. A bit of chatting and munching, and suddenly no one has room for dinner. Since a little goes a long way, I find I can enjoy this dip without accidentally eating too much.
Technically more of a cream cheese spread than a dip, this blend so versatile I can eat it all day – spread on a bagel in the morning, alongside a bowl of raw vegetables for lunch, with a handful of pita chips as an afternoon snack. It keeps well but doesn’t last long in my house.
I reverse-engineered this recipe, which wasn’t hard since the package lists the ingredients. The only one I was missing was the roasted red peppers. I could have roasted my own, but the jar from Costco is great quality and well priced. And the jarred peppers make this an easy pantry appetizer.
I left out the garlic, which is extremely heavy in the store version. One clove would be perfect. But it’s also great without.
Cream cheese in my mini chopper.
And everything else: roasted peppers, feta, olives, capers, oregano, lemon juice. Olive, capers and feta make it salty, but they also make it very tasty.
It might look better if I chopped the olives and capers by hand and folded them after blending the rest. But the store makes it this way too, all mixed in. It’s not the prettiest dip.
But it does taste good.
Any time of day.
Feta and olive lovers in my house adore a Mediterranean dip my mother-in-law buys from a local market. We usually have the ingredients to make our own at home. Use as a dip or a spread – it adds savory goodness to just about everything.
- 8 oz cream cheese (or Neufchatel cheese, Kraft’s light version)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 pieces (130 g) roasted red pepper
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced fine (optional)
- If you have a food processor, add all ingredients to the bowl and pulse until combined.
- If you are mixing by hand, cut cream cheese into pieces and place in mixing bowl. Dice red peppers and add to bowl along with crumbled feta, oregano, lemon juice and garlic. Mix well with a sturdy spoon. Chop olives and capers and add to bowl. Mix well again.
- Serve as a spread with crackers or as a dip with raw vegetables or sturdy chips such as pita chips. Also great on sandwiches or bagels.
Here the link to a printable version.
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