Greece has made a ton of contributions to human civilization. If it weren’t for the Greeks, we wouldn’t have democracy, odometers, alarm clocks, the Olympics, modern medicine, or philosophy. But perhaps their most significant contribution to the world has been feta cheese.
Can you imagine a world without rich and creamy feta cheese? It really is a sad thought. Feta cheese is so important in Greek culture that Greece doesn’t even export it. Most imported feta cheese comes from Italy, but feta is so popular around the world that countries like Australia, Denmark, Germany, and even the United States have begun to produce their own versions.
Authentic Greek feta has been around for centuries, and it is made from whole sheep’s milk. Some cheesemakers combine sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. Modern-day versions of feta from other countries are usually made from cow’s milk or skim milk.
Finding the real thing outside of Greece is nearly impossible. If you do score some authentic feta, it’s going to cost you a fortune. If you don’t live in Greece, chances are you are going to have to settle for the imitation — but the imitation is still incredibly delicious.
Classified as a soft cheese, feta is traditionally made from 45 to 60 percent fat whole sheep’s or goat’s milk and aged for four to six weeks. It is then cured in a salty whey and brine.
Feta is creamy white in color and has a crumbly texture, and as the cheese ages, its flavor becomes saltier and sharper. You will normally find feta in square cakes without rinds, and unlike other aged cheeses (cheddar and Parmesan, for instance), it is low in fat and calories, contains lots of calcium, and is loaded with vitamin B. However, it is high in sodium, so if you are on a low-salt diet, you’ll have to say no to feta.
Feta’s crumbly texture makes it the perfect topping for salads, pizza, and even burgers. You can serve it with olive oil and a baguette; with meats, olives, and crackers; or as a dip for veggies or pita bread.
Feta is also delicious in hot dishes like baked eggplant or quiche, and it goes perfectly with lamb.
To get the best flavor from feta, take it out of the fridge a bit early and let it warm to room temperature before using it. When you are storing feta, keep it in the liquid that it was packaged in to keep it fresh. If feta dries out, it can turn sour.
11 Recipes That Are Better With Feta
1. Roasted Greek Potatoes With Feta
This tasty recipe from Kid Friendly Things To Do is loaded with flavor thanks to seasonings like onion powder, dried basil, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Once you add the lemon juice, minced garlic, and feta to the sliced red potatoes, you will have a side dish that everyone will love.
2. Chicken With Feta Cheese Sauce
One of the most popular recipes from Garnish With Lemon, this quick and easy dish that you can make in just 30 minutes is the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight. This dish isn’t fancy or complicated, but it will still be a crowd-pleaser, and the feta will absolutely steal the show.
3. Zucchini Cakes With Feta And Red Onion
As the name suggests, this recipe from The Dinner Mom is loaded with feta and red onion, and the cakes are so tasty that they will be gone the minute you place them on the table. You can either serve the cakes by themselves as an appetizer or put them on buns and make sliders.
4. Avocado Feta Crack Dip
You’ll quickly become addicted to this healthy dip from Gather For Bread. It features Roma tomatoes, chopped onions, minced garlic, oregano, and avocados in addition to the feta cheese. You can either serve it right away or wait an hour or two for the flavors to marinate.
5. Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Casserole
If you are looking for a dish that will get your kids to eat more greens, try this recipe from The Seasoned Mom. The zucchini is hidden in three different kinds of cheese and under a buttery Parmesan breadcrumb topping.
6. Greek Shrimp With Tomatoes And Feta
This delicious recipe comes from Once Upon A Chef. Start by making a tomato sauce on the stovetop, and then add the shrimp and feta. Finish with a minute or two under the broiler so that the cheese can brown, and top everything off with fresh mint. Serve this dish with bread or pasta so that you can sop up the yummy goodness.
7. Spaghetti Squash With Feta And Herbs
This dish from Recipe Runner is fresh, light, and loaded with flavor. You can buy spaghetti squash at any time of year, but its peak season is in the fall. To make the spaghetti squash “noodles,” start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and spraying it with cooking spray. Then roast the squash in the oven for about 40 minutes, and after it cools, you can scrape out the flesh. That flesh will come out in long strands — spaghetti squash noodles!
Once you add some fresh herbs and seasonings and some feta cheese, you will have a delicious dish that you can eat hot or cold.
8. Crustless Quiche With Spinach, Tomato, And Feta
This low-carb dish from Kylee Cooks is full of color and flavor, and you’ll only need onions, baby spinach, eggs, flour, baking powder, milk, feta, cherry tomatoes, and some fresh basil leaves to make it. Top it off with a little salt and pepper to taste, and you can eat it hot, at room temperature, or chilled.
9. Baby Broccoli Frittata With Feta
You can enjoy feta for breakfast with this dish from Naturally Ella. It features baby broccoli, or broccolini, which is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale). It looks like broccoli, but it is a bit sweeter and more tender.
The only other ingredients you’ll need are olive oil, red onions, eggs, whole milk, salt, and pepper. And, of course, you’ll need to have the feta!
10. Pasta With Steak, Spinach, And Feta
Feta cheese on top of tender New York strip steak tossed with spinach, pasta, and Dijon mustard and balsamic dressing? Yes, please! This amazing recipe comes from Girl Gone Gourmet, and it is the perfect dinner for two that you can make in just 30 minutes.
11. Greek Spinach Pie With Feta
Also known as spanakopita, this dish from Olive Tomato can serve as an appetizer, meal, or snack. It is easy to make, but there are a couple of things you’ll need to remember. First, the filling is supposed to be sweet, not salty. Second, even though you will be tempted to add garlic, don’t do it. Also, be careful with your filling-to-phyllo ratio, and be prepared for this dish to be messy but delicious.
If you haven’t tried Mediterranean food, now is the time. Once you have experienced the fantastic flavor of feta, it will become a staple in your kitchen.