Feta Walnut Dip

Sometimes an amazing recipe just sits there, unnoticed, right in plain sight. Until you see it.

And that's exactly where this recipe was. Right there on page 101 of my ancient copy of Mollie Katzen's ridiculously wonderful Moosewood Cookbook. Yep, sitting unseen, directly across from our favorite hummus recipe, was one of the best recipes I've ever had the pleasure of sampling.

I don't know if I'd call this Feta Walnut Dip laughably cheap, but you will burst out laughing if you compare the cost of making this recipe at home to what you'd have to pay for a similarly delicious spread at a restaurant or at a Whole Foods-type specialty grocery store. Plus, because you make it yourself in your own home, you don't have to watch out for food colorings, preservatives or excess salt. What you see in this simple and delicious recipe is exactly what you get.

This dip has a memorable bite to it (thanks to the feta cheese), and it's not gooey or mayonnaise-y (shudder) like so many vile industrially-made dips and spreads.

And did I mention the other wonderful advantage to this recipe? Since it contains feta cheese, you won't have to share it with your vegan guests! In fact, the last time we had a couple of our (strangely dwindling) vegan friends over for dinner, I theatrically waved a bowl of this amazing dip in front of their faces and taunted them, saying "Ha ha ha ha ha haaaa, you can't eat this! It's all miiinnne!!"

Funny how they've had other plans the last few times we've invited them over.
Feta Walnut Dip
(adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook)

1 cup chopped walnuts
a handful of fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup water
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1) Combine walnuts and parsley in a food processor and blend with a few quick pulses.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

3) Make a small well in the center of the dip and fill it with a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with a few shakes of cayenne pepper or paprika and serve immediately with pita bread, fresh vegetables or crackers of your choice.

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

"My ideas about what is important have changed. To be of use, to have the opportunity to impart information and skills that serve to enrich people's daily lives--that is what matters most to me."
--Mollie Katzen, from the introduction of the New Revised Edition of the Moosewood Cookbook.

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oilandgarlic said...

My husband makes something similar to this but it's a walnut sauce that is meant to accompany pasta. I'm not sure how different this is, but if it could work with pasta, too, and believe me, it's really good!

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

Now this is unique and sounds delish...I must make it; right after I try and sell you some of the V stuff! :)

chacha1 said...

This may be a phenomenally stupid question, but I am curious and it seems like you're the guy to ask.

I don't have a food processor and have no intention of buying one. What combination of manual tools is best for preparations of this type? Can I just beat it all up with a wooden spoon?

Thanks much. Sounds YUM.

Daniel said...

Chacha... absolutely not a stupid question at all. In fact it's such a good question that I don't know the answer. :)

If you don't mind, I'll throw this one out to readers in an "Ask CK" post next week. It's a great question. Thanks.


chacha1 said...

Wow, awesome. Tapping the collective knowledge of the Internets! LOL

I just figure, you know, dips etc pre-date food processors by quite a few years. There MUST be a preferred manual method for us culinary Luddites.

Joanne said...

I must have stared down this recipe so many times in that cookbook but have yet to really notice it! Sounds so good. I'm picturing it on a sandwich accompanied with roasted red peppers.

Julia said...

For this recipe, you can chop the nuts by hand. Toss them with a little oil and salt first. This will keep them from bouncing all over the cutting board (same trick if you don't have a spice grinder). And you can blend everything else with a food spoon. Just make sure the cheese is at room temperature (or slightly warmer) -- It will be much easier to mix.

Daniel said...

Julia, as always, thank you. And I'd be enormously grateful if you'd drop by and share still more of your thoughts on that question next Thursday, when I address it in greater depth.


melissa said...

this was delicious! i could not stop eating it!

Daniel said...

Melissa, glad you enjoyed it. Maybe I should add a "Warning: Unstoppable Eating Risk" label to this recipe. :)