Whipped Feta with Beets and Nuts

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The vegetarian revenge to chicken liver pate. This fresh, whipped feta dip will blow your mind. Serve it as a dip with some toasted pita bread or spread it on crusty, toasted baguettes topped with fresh arugula leaves. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with some toasted nuts, garnish with mint leaves and dive in.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 200 grams feta cheese
  • 100 grams Philadelphia type cream cheese
  • 1 cup roasted beet (about 1 medium) – see note on how to roast beets
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Mint leaves to garnish

For the toasted pita bread

  • 2 pita breads
  • About 2 Tbs olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 160 C. Split the pita breads in the middle to end up with 4 flat pieces. Lay them flat (cut side up) on the kitchen counter and using a pastry brush, spread olive oil on their surface. Place pita pieces in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely toasted and crunchy. Cool pita on a wire rack.

Spread hazelnuts in a pan and toast in the oven for 6-7 minutes until fragrant. Put them in a kitchen towel and rub them well to remove as much of their skin as possible. It doesn’t matter if you have some skin left.

Put feta cheese in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the cream cheese, beet, 1/3 cup of the toasted hazelnuts (you will use the rest as garnish), almonds, black pepper, olive oil, vinegar and honey. Blend on high speed until you have a smooth puree.

Spread puree in a plate and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts and sprinkle on top along with some freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the mint leaves and serve with the toasted pita bread.

Note. To roast beets, wrap them individually in 2 pieces of aluminum foil and place in an oven pan. Roast at 175 C for about 50 minutes until cooked. To check for doneness, insert a skewer on the side of the beet.

 

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