During the summer, I often refuse to turn on the oven or spend extended periods using the stove because of how hot it can get. For those days, I tend to turn to recipes like my whipped feta platter, loaded with sweet and spicy pickled vegetables to go along with the herby and briny feta dip. What's unique about this recipe is that it only requires only a few minutes of cooking with heat, which means you'll have a cool kitchen while preparing a veggie-packed dish that is light, fresh, robust in flavor and will leave everyone wanting seconds.
Special equipment: Food processor or high-powered blender, sterilized Mason jars and a funnel or ladle.
Technique tip: Avoid over-blending the feta dip by slowly pulsing together instead of blending consistently. Use leftover feta dip as a sandwich spread or serve with grilled meat or chicken.
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 6-8 cups assorted vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli florets, sliced bell peppers, chopped zucchini, sliced red onions, mushrooms, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice
- 2 jalapeños, sliced
- 6 scallions, cut in half lengthwise
- a few good-sized dill sprigs for each jar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 bunches green onions (about 2 cups), chopped
- 1-1¼ pounds (about 4 cups) feta
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1½ tablespoons za'atar, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons honey
- kosher salt
- pita bread, for serving
Heat the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.2.
To assemble your pickled vegetables, fill sterilized Mason jars with the assorted vegetables, leaving 1 inch from the top. Top with the pickling spice, jalapeño, scallion and dill. When dividing the vegetables into multiple jars, divide the pickling spices, jalapeños, scallions and dill by the numbers of jars being used.3.
Submerge the vegetables with the pickling liquid, then screw the lid onto the jars. Allow the jars to cool down slightly before placing them into the fridge. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
Place the olive oil into a medium pot over medium heat. After 30 seconds, place in a few pieces of scallions to test the temperature. If they sizzle, it's ready. Cook the scallions for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool partially.2.
Place the feta, parsley, za'atar, honey, kosher salt and scallion oil into a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse together until smooth.3.
Remove from the processor and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When serving, spread the feta dip onto a large platter, top with pickled vegetables and garnish with additional olive oil, chopped parsley and za'atar seasoning. Serve with warm sliced pita.
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