Think feta is just for Greek salads? Think again. As I mentioned in the previous post, Greeks are the highest consumers of cheese, with feta making up over half of the cheese consumed. How do Greeks manage to eat over 25 pounds of feta a year? Easy! For Greeks, feta is like bread, it will be on every table regardless of what is being served. We eat it with everything! But first you want to make sure you get the good stuff, so check this post out on how to buy the best feta.
Traditionally it is coupled with lathera (vegetables cooked in olive oil and tomato sauce). The Greek diet has plenty of vegetables and bean dishes and they were consumed as a main course with feta being the protein source, making it a very important nutritional component of the diet.
The simple combination of feta and bread can make a meal, there is even a word for it: psomo-tyri, which translates to bread-cheese. Add a few olives and some tomato and you have a complete meal.
Another common use of feta in the Greek diet is in savory pies. It is added to almost every single pie such as spanakopita (spinach pie), tyropita (cheese pie), hortopita (wild greens pie), and prassopita (leek pie).
But there are also plenty non-traditional ways to use feta. Personally, I can manage to fit in feta in almost every recipe because it so versatile, but here are some traditional and non-traditional ideas:
1. On potatoes – Sprinkle feta on mashed potatoes or baked and scalloped potatoes.
2. Pizza – Sprinkle it on top of pizza. Tastes good with fresh tomato, olives and artichokes.
3. In a sandwich – Drizzle the inside of a baguette with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle some oregano and top with a slice of feta. Or in grilled cheese, use feta and olive oil instead of butter.
4. Use it as stuffing – Use it to make stuffed mushrooms or stuffed peppers along with some olive oil, herbs, and breadcrumbs.
5. Use it with salads – Greek salad (tomato-cucumber-olives), lettuce salad along with spring onion or beet salad.
6. With fruit – Pair watermelon or cantaloupe or grapes with feta, a perfect combination especially in the summer.
7. Make phyllo turnovers – Fill with vegetables (spinach, greens, zucchini) and feta or Greek savoury pies (pites).
8. With cooked vegetables – Combine with any type of vegetables cooked with olive oil and tomato (lathera).
9. Grilled – Grill feta in the oven with a sprinkle of pepper flakes.
10. In dips – Use to make the spicy feta dip tirokafteri. Click here for recipe.
11. Nachos – Sprinkle on nacho chips along with some sliced black olives and heat until cheese softens.
13. With pasta – Add to pasta, pairs well with sun dried tomatoes, zucchini and olives.
15. On meat – Top a greek style beef patty with a thin slice of feta, serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of oregano.
16. In muffins – Make savory muffins using various veggies and feta cheese.
17. In a quiche – Works well with spinach or leek.
19. And my favorite way….as a table cheese – just put on the table and eat it with whatever else you are serving.
Photo Credit: Greek Pizza by The Hungry Dudes