This spicy feta dip, based on the wonderful Greek dish of tirokafteri (also called ktipiti), is definitely my favorite vegetarian dip. Just a handful of ingredients a food processor and moments later WOW – thick luscious creamy spicy goodness.
It’s ready in just ten minutes and is delicious straight away (although I do recommend chilling it for at least 30 minutes to let the flavours develop, particularly the garlic).
It’s a dish I got completely addicted to when I lived in Valencia. One of my work colleagues lived quite close to me and had lived in Santorini for years. Her husband, worked in a Greek restaurant nearby and we would go there every weekend.
We would gorge ourselves on the amazing authentic food available there and dream of being able to replicate it at home on the cheap.
Platters of chunky Greek salad piled high and topped with slabs of briny feta. Trays of marinated dolmades, and terracotta bowls with various dips.
Lo and behold one of those dips was Tirokafteri and the moment I tasted the salty spicy olive oil-laden dip, I knew I had to make it mine.
Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different Tirokafteri recipes and experimented and tweaked, and this is my favourite and final recipe. The addition of pickled peppers is completely inauthentic but tastes amazing.
Tirokafteri means spicy cheese, so don’t skimp on the heat and remember that the yoghurt and cheese will remove a lot of the heat.
You’ll get the best results with 8 pickled peperoncini or guindillas. Failing that, if you can’t get a hold of them, then 4 pickled jalapeños will do. Failing that, then two fresh chili peppers can be used.
The issue with using fresh chili peppers is that depending on type and size and a million other factors, the level of heat can differ wildly from one chili pepper to the next.
So if you’re not sure how spicy the peppers you’re using are, you may want to stick with one, test it, and then blitz in an additional one (or two or three) if needed.
The dip does not become much spicier over time, unlike other dishes with chili peppers in them, as the dairy tempers it. If like me you’re a bit addicted to spice and spicy sauces, I think you’d also love my easy peri peri sauce recipe.
What to serve it with
Tirokafteri or spicy feta dip is commonly served with warm freshly made pita bread, or as part of a mezze platter.
If you haven’t got any quality pita bread to hand you can use toasted shop-bought pita (although nowhere as near as nice) or any nice crusty bread, such as a French baguette.
It’s also a great dip for crudités or potato wedges (like a pumped-up spicy sour cream dip), as a spread, in baked potatoes, or thinned with a little water and used as a salad dressing.
You can even add it to a cheese platter with crackers for some effortless entertaining.
I’m going to go an even more inauthentic step further and posit it might also be tasty with the softest focaccia ever…
(I am really rubbish at making pita bread, although apparently, I excel at making little hard pita rocks.)
How to make it
I’m not sure this section is even necessary because this spicy feta dip is so easy but bear with me.
Take your peppers, whether pickled or fresh, and destem them. Do not remove the seeds. Roughly break or chop into smaller pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor.
If you don’t have a food processor don’t worry you can also make this recipe with a blender (even a stick blender), although you may need to add up to 1/4 cup of water to get things moving, and as a consequence, your dip won’t be quite as thick.
Crush the garlic clove and add to the bowl of the processor, along with all the other ingredients. Process until smooth. Done!
Note that I like my spicy feta dip with a bit of chunk from the peppers but if you’d prefer yours to be smoother then simply process longer, or leave out the olive oil and greek yoghurt and get the chunkier items as smooth as possible before adding the liquids (olive oil and greek yoghurt).
This dip/spread will keep in the fridge for five days, getting more and more delicious with each passing day as the flavours meld even more!
Completely optional (spicy feta dip is awesome all by itself) but for an extra boost of tastiness and prettiness, to serve you can drizzle a teaspoon or two of olive oil over, sprinkle 1/8 – 1/4 tsp hot smoked paprika, use the teaspoon to swirl the paprika and oil through the dip, and grind black pepper over. Done!
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.
Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations and presentation!
- 1 large clove garlic
- 8 pickled peppers or two fresh chili peppers- see notes
- 9oz feta (250g)
- 5.3oz ricotta or cottage cheese (150g)
- 8.5oz plain greek yoghurt (250ml)
- 1/4 cup olive oil (60ml)
- 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
- (optional)To serve: Olive oil, black pepper, smoked paprika
- Remove the stems from the peppers and break into two or three pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor. Crush the garlic and add it next.
- Add in all the other ingredients and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a container and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Optionally, when serving, add freshly cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, and a teaspoon or two of olive oil and swirl through.
If you can use, pickled peppers in this recipe as it just tastes amazing, but if you can't find them use fresh ones. Ratio is 8 pickled peperoncini or guindillas can be substituted by 4 pickled jalapeños or 2 fresh hot chili peppers. It doesn't matter what colour the chili peppers are.
If you'd like to use this spicy feta dip as a salad dressing, just whizz in 1/4 cup of water in the food processor.
If you don't have a food processor and are using a blender you can add a little water to help things along, although your dip will not be as thick.
Amount Per Serving Calories 303Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 50mgSodium 504mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 13g