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Roasted Garlic & Jalapeno Whipped Feta

Pickles, peanut butter, olives, mangoes, donuts…my pregnancy cravings have been all over the map this time around, so I was thankful for the sudden onset of this week’s obsession with roasted peppers and feta cheese.  Finally, I am craving two foods that pair well together and can be incorporated into fairly normal meals for my family!

Feta cheese is one of those foods that I hate to love.  The texture can be a little odd in certain recipes, and it’s crumbly nature lends it to misbehavior on sandwiches, inside wraps, or in salads.  I finally found a way to enjoy feta without dealing with the stray crumbles.  Best of all, it’s super easy and sounds fancy!

Whipping feta with a little Greek yogurt and olive oil smooths out the texture and makes it a perfect spread for sandwiches and burgers as well as a yummy dip for pita chips.  We tried it both ways – first as a dip, and then as a spread for turkey pita burgers with spinach, cucumber and tomatoes.  It was amazing both ways, and I will post the burger recipe soon!

The fresh lemon juice and zest brighten up the flavors, and roasted garlic and jalapenos give it a little kick.  If you haven’t tried roasting garlic yet, it’s so incredibly easy and makes simple dishes so flavorful.  And if you’re lazy like me, you will love not having to mince cloves of garlic.  When it’s been roasted, the cloves separate from the peel and are easily mashed and added to recipes.  If jalapenos aren’t your thing, you can always add roasted red bell pepper or a handful of chopped kalamata olives.

Roasted Garlic & Jalapeno Whipped Feta

(40 minutes, serves 6 to 8)

1 whole bulb of garlic

3 to 4 whole jalapenos

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

16 oz block of feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

1 lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice the top off the bulb of garlic.  Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap loosely in aluminum foil.  Lightly oil the jalapenos with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.

Place the jalapenos and the aluminum-wrapped garlic bulb on a baking sheet in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The jalapenos may be done a little bit sooner than the garlic, so keep an eye on them after the 15 minute mark.

When the jalapenos and garlic are done, allow them to cool to room temperature while whipping the feta.  In the bowl of a large food processor, add the crumbled feta, yogurt, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the juice and zest of half of the lemon.  Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the bulb (they should separate very easily from the skin) and into the food processor.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and transfer to a serving dish.

Peel the skin away from the roasted jalapenos – it should be thin and papery, and very easily removed.  Slice open vertically and scrape out the seeds and membranes before dicing.  Stir the diced jalapenos by hand into the whipped feta.  Serve with toasted pita, chips, or crackers.  Can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

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