A traditional feta cheese and pepper dip (Tirokafteri) with limitless possibilities! Dip some pita bread, tortilla chips and veggies. It's delicious!
The previous Saturday I woke up after a good night’s sleep and some dreams about me being in the kitchen and making all kinds of recipes, from a mediterranean buckwheat lentil salad to the most amazing rich chocolate mousse cake without gelatin. As you can imagine, I woke up really hungry. Opening the fridge reserved a nice surprise for me. There it was. On the middle shelf, behind a tube of Greek yogurt, a half-filled bowl of feta cheese dip was hiding!
I almost missed it at first, but luckily I didn’t. You can imagine the rest. I got dressed in seconds, rushed to the bakery for a warm loaf of freshly baked bread, and sat in front of my computer with the warm bread on one hand and the feta cheese dip bowl on the other. Twenty minutes later, the bread was almost gone and the bowl totally empty. That was a good morning…
This recipe is also called cheese salad in some parts of Greece and traditionally is made with spicy green peppers that make it really hot. It’s one of those dishes that are widely enjoyed throughout Greece and every home has its own unique recipe.
In my recipe I don’t use spicy peppers. Though the intense heat is something I totally enjoy, it gives me limitations for when I want to use it as a sauce in other recipes. That’s why most of the times I’ll use a sweet red horn pepper (or a red bell pepper) and adjust the taste with the help of some tabasco along with lots of freshly grated black pepper. The red horn pepper, except the taste, gives it a very nice color and a good dose of vitamins and nutrients.
Additionally, you’ll see that some greek yogurt and olive oil are used. You can use whole fat or reduced fat yogurt, it makes no difference. The addition of yogurt helps to cut down on the saturated fat from the cheese and makes the deep lighter and fresher. The olive oil adds a fruity note, healthy monounsaturated fat and it makes it even creamier.
What you can do with it:
- Well... of course use it as a dip. Use broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, celery, nachos, potato chips, pita bread! And that’s just off the top of my head.
- Slather it on a piece of toasted bread and eat it for breakfast.
- Eat it as a side with some bread. It goes really well with all kinds of legumes, vegetable dishes and meat dishes also!
- Use a couple of tablespoons (or more!) to thicken and add richness to sauces.
- Add a cup or two in a pot with some drained, hot spaghetti and instantly you’ll have a quick and delicious pasta dish!
- Improvise and tell me what you’ve done with it!
Note : Some types of feta cheese have more moisture than others, meaning that you may have to adjust the quantity of the greek yogurt by a tablespoon or two to get the right consistency. In Greece, this dip usually has the consistency of humus, but you can make it a little bit thinner, according to your taste. Keep in mind that after refrigeration it will firm up a little.
Love peppers? Try this 30 minute Greek sausage and peppers (Spetzofai)!
Spicy feta cheese dip with red horn peppers (Tirokafteri)
- 3 cups (about 350 grams) feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 red horn pepper, diced (about 80 grams)
- ½ cup (about 120 grams) greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet red pepper flakes (bukovo)
- Some drops of tabasco sauce, or use according to your taste
- Freshly grated pepper to taste
- Mash feta cheese with a fork (this step will help it to blend better in the food processor).
- Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until almost smooth. There will be some lumps of cheese and pepper left, but that’s normal. You may need to stop the processor and scrape the sides with a spatula a few times.
- Transfer into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Eat it with everything!