Sometimes, those last-minute pulled-together-in-a-rush dishes are even better than ones that take a few hours of cooking and ingredient planning. This recipe for a quick appetizer of baked feta with Mediterranean spices is so simple and relies on a few things that most of us always have at home – tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices and of course feta.
I always have feta on hand because it’s a versatile cheese. It works great in salads, baked savory tarts or frittatas, sandwiches or even as a topping on soups and pastas. Za’atar and paprika are two of my favorite spices. I use them liberally on hummus. In the recent years, both have become quite widely available in India in grocery stores. I use a za’atar made by Naturesmith’s and paprika by Keya. If you can’t find za’atar where you are, mix equal parts dried oregano, thyme and toasted sesame seeds with just a pinch of ground cumin. Whenever I travel, I make it a point to bring back some local spices to experiment with. If you know what you want but aren’t traveling anytime soon, ask a friend or family who might be traveling to bring you back some. It’s wonderful to share ingredient discoveries and recipes from your travels with others who have the same passion. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice; paprika is a great souvenir to bring back from Hungary.
There’s really nothing to this recipe for baked feta with Mediterranean spices – slice tomatoes and onions, assemble, bake, eat. It’s a simple but delicious appetizer for when you have friends or family over last minute or as part of a tapas platter. If you try it out, let me know what you think by leaving a comment here or on Instagram @theindiaedition. If you have a fascination for Mediterranean food like I do, peruse the website for many more classic and innovative healthy vegetarian recipes made with easily available ingredients (or replacements!) like hummus, quinoa burgers, falafels, and more.
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into small chunks
- 1 medium onion, sliced long and thin
- 60-70g feta
- ¾ tsp paprika or red chili powder (use less if you're using red chili powder)
- 1 tsp za'atar (see above if you don't have a readymade spice blend)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- In a dish, layer the tomatoes around, placing the feta in the center.
- Top the tomatoes with the sliced onion. If you're looking for crispy, charred onions, it is important to layer the onions on top of the tomatoes vs. mixed in with or below them. If you want softer, juicier onions that aren't crisp, mix them in or layer them below the tomatoes.
- Mix the spices and sprinkle evenly. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil (not extra virgin) on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 25 minutes. If you're using a small countertop oven, you may need to bake it longer.
- Serve warm with toasted bread.