Introducing: Heavenly Baked Feta Medley – cheese like you’ve never known before! Get ready for a game-changer appetizer for your next get together!
Have you ever wondered what pure joy tastes like? Look no further than this sensationally creamy, astonishingly flavorful, Baked Feta!
Imagine a decadent block of feta cheese, creamy and soft bliss amidst a riot of colorful vegetables, all in a citrusy, herb-infused olive oil.
The moment it comes out of the oven, you’re greeted with soft, bursting cherry tomatoes and a feta so tender, it practically begs to be scooped onto a warm slice of bread or a crunchy pita chip.
This dish elevates a simple cheese to a celestial experience. With hints of garlic, pops of chili, briny olives and the fresh tang of lemon, this simple and easy appetizer will win hearts of your friends and family, big time.
So, prepare your taste buds for an extraordinary journey and make room on your Instagram, because this dish is as photogenic as it is delicious!
Baked Feta Recipe
Have you even wondered what happens to Feta Cheese when baked in the oven? Unlike cheeses like mozzarella or cheddar, which melt into a gooey, stringy texture, feta has its own unique melting profile.
When exposed to heat, feta doesn’t turn into a liquid puddle. Instead, it softens beautifully, gaining a creamy, spreadable consistency that’s perfect for smearing on a piece of crusty bread or blending with other ingredients in the dish.
This transformation is due to its lower fat content and higher salt and acidity levels compared to other melting cheeses. The result is a cheese that becomes incredibly creamy and luxurious, but maintains its essential character and shape.
It’s this delectable creaminess, coupled with its ability to infuse flavors without overwhelming them, that makes feta such a dream in baked dishes. It melts just enough to mingle with other flavors, creating a harmonious blend that’s truly unforgettable.
Today, our block of feta is surrounded by cherry tomatoes that have popped into sweet, juicy morsels, briny olives, and bell peppers and onions that are tender and full of flavor. Everything is beautifully coated in a lemony, herby olive oil.
Why this Recipe Works
- Absolutely Delicious: This dish is a harmonious blend of tangy, sweet, salty, and spicy. The feta’s natural creaminess perfectly balances the bright acidity of the tomatoes and lemon, while the chili flakes add just the right kick!
- Effortless Elegance: It looks and tastes like you’ve slaved away in the kitchen for hours, but it’s astonishingly simple to make. A gourmet experience without the hassle? Yes, please! Simply drop everything in the baking dish and bake!!
- Versatility: Serve it as a mind-blowing appetizer, a side dish, or even make it the star of your meal. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for dinner parties, casual gatherings, or romantic dinners for two.
- Instagrammable: This dish isn’t just delicious, it’s downright photogenic. Those vibrant colors and textures will make your social media feed shine!
- Customizable: Feel like adding sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, or even a sprinkle of honey? Go for it!
- Feta Cheese – Go for a high-quality, block-style feta for the best results. The creamier the better! Sheep’s milk feta tends to be richer and tangier.
- Garlic – Fresh is key! Thinly sliced garlic infuses its delightful aroma into the oil and other ingredients without overpowering.
- Bell Pepper – Opt for a vibrant color like red or yellow to add visual appeal and a touch of sweetness.
- Red Onion – Using a red onion adds a pop of color and a mild, sweet flavor that caramelizes beautifully when baked.
- Cherry Tomatoes – Choose ripe but firm tomatoes for that burst-in-your-mouth experience.
- Olives – We used kalamata and pitted green olives.
- Lemon – Use a fresh lemon for the best citrusy zest.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is your friend here. It adds depth and richness to the dish.
- Dried Oregano – Just a little for an herby touch.
- Chili Flakes – Adjust the heat to your liking. A little goes a long way in adding a kick to the dish!
- Salt and Pepper – A pinch of each is usually enough, especially since feta is naturally salty.
- Fresh Herbs – For a fresh contrast to the baked elements. Use any or all which is available after baking (today we used thyme).
- Serving Options – Whether it’s toasted bread, baguette, pita chips, or crackers, make sure they are sturdy enough to scoop up all the goodness!
How to Make Baked Feta
1. Preheat Your Oven: Get that oven heating to 400°F. This high heat is essential for softening the feta and roasting the veggies to perfection.
2. Prepare the Baking Dish: Place the block of feta right in the center of an oven-proof dish. Frame feta block with your thinly sliced garlic, bell pepper pieces, olives, red onion wedges, and cherry tomatoes. Slice the remaining half of the lemon and place around the dish.
3. Make Olive Oil Mixture: In a small bowl, whisk together the juice from half of the lemon, olive oil, dried oregano, and chili flakes. Don’t forget a pinch of salt and pepper to taste!
4. Drizzle: Pour this flavorful concoction over your prepped feta and vegetables. Gently toss the vegetables to make sure they’re well-coated.
5. Time for the Oven: Bake for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the feta has softened to creamy bliss and the tomatoes look like they’re on the brink of bursting.
6. Garnish Galore: Finish off with sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano, and/or basil. This adds not only flavor but also a splash of color that will make your dish the star of any table. (You can also drizzle fresh extra virgin olive oil all over)
7. Serve: Accompany this melty, creamy, veggie-packed spectacle with toasted bread, baguette, pita chips, or crackers.
Alpana’s Tips and Tricks
- Feta First: Always go for block feta, not the crumbled feta. The block allows for that dreamy, creamy texture you’re after. Use
- What Dish to Use: Use an oven-safe dish for this recipe like a small baking pan. A small cast iron skillet is also a good option.
- Oil Matters: Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the most robust flavor. Trust me, it makes a difference.
- Fresh Over Dry: If you have fresh oregano, thyme, or basil, feel free to substitute the dried herbs. Just remember, you’ll need about three times the amount when using fresh.
- Cherry Tomato Choice: Go with juicy, fresh cherry tomatoes that will roast beautifully. You can also use multi color cherry tomatoes for more color in your dish.
- Test for Tenderness: To ensure your feta has reached peak creaminess, poke it gently with a fork. It should yield easily but not fall apart.
- Keep It Juicy: If you find your dish is looking a little dry toward the end of baking, you can add a splash more olive oil.
- Serving Style: Consider serving directly in the baking dish for a rustic look, or carefully transferring to a serving platter to impress your guests.
- Serve Immediately: Serve this dish right away when the feta comes out of the oven creamy and soft, as it can harden if left to sit.
- Cook’s Reward: After taking the dish out of the oven, don’t forget to dunk a piece of bread into the pan juices for the chef’s treat!
- Drizzle Honey: Try drizzling honey over the feta or mix in with olive oil. As it bakes, the honey will caramelize, adding a layer of sweet complexity that complements the saltiness of the feta and the savoriness of the veggies.
- Herb Delight: Use different fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, or parsley for a different aromatic twist.
- Veggie Twist: Switch out or add different vegetables like zucchini, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, capers or asparagus to vary the taste.
- Go Nuts: A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds can add a great crunch to the final dish.
- Make it into Baked Feta Pasta: Simply cook your preferred pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it directly to the baking dish with the baked feta and veggies. Stir everything together, making sure the pasta is well-coated with that glorious, cheesy sauce. The heat from the pasta will help meld all the flavors, turning your Baked Feta Medley into an irresistibly delicious Baked Feta Pasta!
For the most authentic and flavorful result, go with a block of high-quality Greek feta cheese made from sheep’s milk. This type of feta offers a rich, tangy flavor and a creamy texture that softens beautifully when baked. Avoid pre-crumbled feta, as it tends to dry out more quickly.
Feta cheese softens when baked but maintains its shape better than many other cheeses. It won’t become a gooey, melted mess like mozzarella or cheddar, but it will turn wonderfully soft and creamy, perfect for mixing with other ingredients or spreading on crusty bread.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Absolutely! Feel free to add more chili flakes or even some sliced jalapeños for extra heat.
This Baked Feta is the perfect way to start any meal, or can be a light meal by itself. It’s like a little trip to the Mediterranean right from your kitchen.
Simple to make, yet packed with flavor, it’s the appetizer everyone will be talking about the minute they dunk their bread into this creamy new cheesiness.
Just plop everything in your baking dish and relax and enjoy the company while your trusty oven whips up an amazing dish for you all!
- 6-8oz feta cheese block
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- ½ yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
- ¼ red onion, sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes on vine (can sub with multi-color)
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ cup olives (we used a mix of kalamata and green olives)
- 1 lemon, divided
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- thyme sprigs/fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- In a small bowl, mix extra virgin oil, juice of half lemon, oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
- Place the feta block in the center of an oven proof baking dish. Surround the block with cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, red onion and garlic cloves. Slice the other half of the lemon into slices or wedges and arrange them around.
- Pour the olive oil mixture over the feta, peppers, onions and tomatoes and gently toss it with the vegetables.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the feta has softened, tomatoes are starting to burst, and veggies are caramelized.
- Cut the vine off the tomatoes. Garnish with herbs.
- Serve it right from the baking dish with baguette, crackers or pita chips .
- Drizzle a little honey on the feta block in the last 5 minutes of baking. Broil it a bit to get a little caramelization on top.
- Serve Immediately: Serve this dish right away when the feta is creamy and soft, as it may begin to harden if left to sit.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 29mgSodium 487mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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