Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Whipped Feta with Pesto

Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Whipped Feta with Pesto

192b4b2e2dd5371bcaa8301841ec50f4d8a6e2bb?auto=compress&w=240&h=240&fit=crop
Sheela Prakash
Aug 1, 2017
(Image credit: Michael Wiltbank)

If you're inviting friends over who may be on the fence about feta, make them this dip. It's guaranteed to make a feta believer out of anyone. Instead of the cheese being in its usual crumbled state, it's whipped in a food processor with Greek yogurt into a gloriously creamy, tangy dip. A heaping spoonful of basil pesto drizzled over top seals the deal, making this a flavorful appetizer you can make for around five bucks. If you've got a crisp $20 on hand, use the rest to pick up a bottle of wine — we've got the perfect pairing.

A Case for Whipping Your Dip

Whipped feta sounds sort of fancy, but it's not. Toss the cheese in a food processor with some Greek yogurt and lemon zest and garlic and hit that "on" switch. You may feel skeptical in the first couple of minutes, as it will look like a big, grainy mess, but stick with it. Soon enough, the feta crumbles give in and melt into the creamiest state they've ever been in. The food processor pumps just enough air into the dip to give it a light-bodied texture, yet the flavor is rich and full of dairy goodness.

It really doesn't need anything else to make it a hit at your cocktail party, but drizzling the finished bowl with good-quality pesto, bought from the store, takes it one step further without making it one step harder.

(Image credit: Michael Wiltbank)

Make It a Party! What Wine to Drink

This luscious dip doesn't need much alongside it to make it a hit, but I do really love it washed down with a glass of rosé.

3 Great Bottles of Rosé Under $15

  • Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé, France, $10.99
  • La Vieille Ferme Rosé, France, $11.99
  • Charles & Charles Rosé, Washington, $14.99

Why Rosé Pairs Well

The lemon zest in the dip and the herby pesto give this dip warm-weather vibes, and when that's the case rosé is always my first choice. More importantly, though, is that most rosés are crisp and lean, which is a nice contrast to the rich dip you're spooning up every-which-way.

How to Throw a $20 Cocktail Party

There's nothing better than a fun and festive cocktail party with your friends — but hosting one definitely doesn't need to put a big dent in your wallet. This week, we're showing off six appetizer recipes and the budget-friendly wines that pair best with them to inspire you to throw an "Appy Hour" any night of the week.

Lemon-Garlic Whipped Feta with Pesto

Serves 6

1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons basil pesto
Pita chips, crostini, or vegetable crudités, for serving

Place the feta in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse into small crumbs, 6 to 8 pulses. Add the yogurt and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is whipped and very smooth, for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the lemon zest, garlic, and a few generous grinds of black pepper, and blend for 10 seconds more. Transfer the whipped feta to a serving bowl and drizzle with the pesto before serving with crackers, bread, or vegetables.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Created with Sketch.