Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegetarian Mediterranean Dip

Over the weekend we were part of a Progressive Party. Our part was to host the appetizer portion. I prepared this popular dish and as always it lived up to its reputation, everyone loved it! It's healthy, colorful and the combination of flavors is so complimenting. 
My favorite vessel to use for dipping is pita chips. I prefer to prepare homemade chips using store bought pita bread. It's really easy. Separate the top and bottom of each piece of pita bread, stack the rounds and cut into bite size wedges. Fry them in hot canola oil until light brown. While they're still warm, sprinkle with a little salt.  
Helpful to know: To avoid the dip from becoming watery, allow artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers to drain well (place in a colander and let stand for an hour or more) before adding to dip. My favorite feta (pronounced FEH-tah) is Valbreso French Feta Cheese which can be found in most grocery stores nationwide. Feta is probably the best known Greek cheese and, some say, the national cheese of Greece. Traditional Greek feta is soft in texture, rich in aroma and tangy in flavor, while French feta cheese tends to be milder, creamier and less salty.

Vegetarian Mediterranean Dip

Olive oil
1 generous handful fresh spinach (once cooked, it will yield about ⅓ of a cup)
In a saute pan over moderate heat, heat olive oil, add spinach and cook until just wilted. Transfer to a small bowl and when cool enough to handle, chop spinach.  

One (8-ounce) container hummus
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
One (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, roughly chopped
⅓ cup cooked spinach
½ cup roasted red peppers, drained, roughly chopped
⅓ cup (about 10 olives) Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
⅓ cup Valbresso feta cheese, crumbled 

Spread hummus evenly in the bottom of an 8-inch round or square dish. Spread yogurt evenly over hummus. Scatter artichoke hearts over yogurt. Scatter spinach, peppers and olives over artichoke hearts. Top with green onions and feta cheese. Yield: 8 servings