Hi everyone! We just returned from a 10-day family trip in Israel to celebrate our kids’ bar and bat mitzvahs. It was the trip of a lifetime and I’m still in a jet-lagged haze trying to process it all. Our wonderful guide weaved the country’s rich history, geography, archeology, and politics into a milestone celebration for our family – and also made the trip an adventure for the kids (thank you, Amit Grinfeld!). We visited the holy and historic sites in Jerusalem, hit the beach in Tel Aviv, climbed through man-made caves in the ancient city of Maresha, floated in the Dead Sea, and walked through an underground bunker on the northern border with Syria.
We also stuffed ourselves silly with Israeli food. From a cooking class in a tiny hole-in-the-wall (literally!) kebab and hummus shop in Jerusalem’s Old City, to sampling Yemenite “burritos” in Tzfat, to a tasting tour of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, we not only got a taste of daily life in Israel but also a taste of the country’s eclectic cuisine. (And that’s not even mentioning the vibrant restaurant scene!) Israel is a delicious melting pot of Mediterranean, North African, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European food. Think: olives, falafel, spices, shakshuka, kebabs, salads, salads, and more salads, pita, yogurt, white cheese, and infinite bowls of hummus. See why we kept eating?
I have so many dishes that I want to recreate at home and share with you, I almost don’t know where to begin! But first up: this creamy whipped feta dip. It’s an American riff on htipiti, the salty, tangy feta spread that’s typically served as part of a Mediterranean mezze. Serve it with sliced vegetables and toasted pita wedges, and garnish it with crushed red pepper flakes, toasted sesame seeds, and olive oil. (Or for a different twist, drizzle it with honey.) You can also add a few tablespoons of milk to the dip to make it a sauce or salad dressing-like consistency.
It’s super easy to make. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
And process until smooth.
To make the toasted pita, brush the bread with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Cut into wedges.
Arrange the wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.
Then bake for 10 minutes at 350°F.
To toast the sesame seeds for the garnish, simply place them in a small pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until golden.
Serve the dip drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
My Recipe Videos
Creamy Whipped Feta Dip
- 1 8-oz block feta cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellman's or Duke's
- Zest from 1 lemon (about 1 teaspoon, packed)
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Extra virgin olive, for drizzling
- Toasted pita wedges (or pita chips) and/or sliced vegetables
- Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and use a small spoon to create a swirl on the surface of the dip. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.
- MAKE AHEAD: This dip can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will stiffen up in the fridge to a spread-like consistency, so be sure to let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
- To make the toasted pita wedges: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the pita bread on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cut into wedges, then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly toasted.
- To make the toasted sesame seeds: In a small pan over medium heat, cook the sesame seeds, stirring frequently, until golden, a few minutes. Watch carefully as they are quick to burn.
- Serving size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 137
- Fat: 13 g
- Saturated fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 1 g
- Sugar: 1 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Sodium: 233 mg
- Cholesterol: 26 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.