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Spicy Tomato-Marinated Feta

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

I love this easy appetizer because it has tons of flavor to get your palate going before dinner. It's a little spicy, a bit salty and very saucy. If you put this marinated cheese on crackers or toast, it tastes exactly like pizza!

Technique tip: Feta can be marinated up to 1 week ahead, tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

Swap option: You can use goat cheese, ricotta salata or queso fresco instead of feta.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 small (or 1 medium) ripe tomatoes (4 to 6 ounces total), coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch slabs or 1/2-inch cubes



Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, swirling the skillet occasionally, until the garlic is tender and nearly golden brown, 2-3 minutes.


Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they've broken down into a thick, chunky sauce, 5-8 minutes.


Add the harissa and continue to cook until the sauce is a bit more paste-like, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then add the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil until it becomes savory and spoonable.


Place the feta in a serving dish or bowl and pour the tomato mixture over. Let sit at least 10 minutes, or up to a week in advance, refrigerated. Drizzle with more olive oil before serving.