I'm keeping it warm and cosy today with this baked feta dish. This dish is on repeat in my house at the moment and is fast becoming a firm favourite with the whole family. It's rich and warming and perfect for a chilly January. This recipe was inspired by a recipe I came across on Mark Bittman's website which is also an adaptation of this recipe here. Funny how recipes come about isn't it. The original recipe by David Tamarkin is really good, but I wanted something else. I wanted baked feta in tomato sauce, with spinach rather than kale and I wanted it to be spicy. David Tamarkin's recipe came close to what I wanted but it wasn't quite there. So I adapted it to make this, baked feta in a rich, spicy tomato sauce with chickpeas and spinach.
I think this is how our food should be, always evolving, making changes to suit our own tastes. Unless you are baking of course, then you should follow the recipe to the letter. Baking is a whole other ball game. Other recipes are different, you can play around with them and you should, I think. And I'm not very good at following recipes to the letter anyway, I think it's the rebel in me, buried deep down in my subconscious! Anyway, that, I think is where the magic happens with recipes, you tweak, adapt, and you adjust until it becomes something else, something that is your own.
Anyway back to this baked feta, the secret to this dish is in the sauce. A good helping of harissa in the tomato sauce makes it spicy yes, but also gives that sauce another layer of flavour that complements that creamy feta. Baked feta is a joy on its own and makes for a very nice appetiser. Baked feta in tomato sauce with chickpeas and spinach, however, is a whole other meal. It makes for a very good lunch, especially served with some good crusty bed. The addition of chickpeas and spinach makes it filling and virtuous almost.
How To Make Baked Feta with Chickpeas and Spinach:
Start with the tomato sauce, cook down the onion for a good 10 minutes, add in the oregano and garlic then add the harissa. Two cans of chopped tomatoes are then added and they need to cook down and reduce to an almost jammy sauce. This sauce is magic, its spicy, warming and rich. Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, then tuck in the feta and bake. It really is that easy. Once the feta is soft and a little tinged around the edges you're done. Finish off the dish with some lemon juice, parsley and serve it with some good crusty bread. The recipe below will make enough for a light lunch for 3, however, it also makes enough for a perfectly good dinner for two.
Baked Feta with Chickpeas and Spinach
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling
- 1 onion (150g) finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ tablespoon harissa
- 2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400g can of chickpeas drained and rinsed under the cold tap
- 1 x 200g block of feta cut into 3 thick strips
- 60 g baby leaf spinach any thick stems removed
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- A small handful of flat leaf parsley leaves picked and chopped
- The juice of half a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper + more for the feta
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Crusty bread to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C / 392F.
- In a cast iron skillet heat 1 and a half tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, for about 10 minutes. Stir the onion often so it doesn't catch.
- Stir in the dried oregano and the garlic and cook for a minute, until you can smell the garlic. Now add the harissa and stir that into the onion. Pour the chopped tomatoes into the skillet and stir well. Add the salt and pepper then turn up the heat, bring the sauce to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes. Or until the sauce is nice and thick.
- Once the sauce is nice and thick, add the chickpeas and stir in the spinach. Place the feta in the sauce, add some thyme onto the feta along with a sprinkling of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.Carefully place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Once the feta is soft and a little browned take the skillet out of the oven, squeeze half a lemon over everything and sprinkle over the parsley.Serve hot with some good crusty bread and lemon wedges.
- Calories are approximate and are based on a serving of 3.
- This recipe was roughly adapted from this recipe here
- I used a 23cm cast iron skillet.
- My cast iron skillet is well seasoned, if you use a cast iron skillet please make sure it is well seasoned. The acid in the tomatoes may damage the cast iron if it is not well seasoned.
- If you don't have a cast iron skillet then any stove to oven pan will do.
- If you can, use a firm block of feta, if the feta is too crumbly it may break up in the sauce.
- The sauce is on the spicy side, my 12-year-old loved it, however, younger kids may find it too much. For younger taste buds I would reduce the harissa to 1 or half a tablespoon. Start with a half tablespoon then test the sauce and add more if you need it.
More Cheesy Veggie Lunches for Chilly Days:
- Goat's Cheese Tart with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Tart
- Harissa Roasted Vegetable Pasta
- Vegetable Pasta Bake
- Vegetarian Quesadilla
- Artichoke & Spinach Flatbread Pizza
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious food.
Hi, I’m going to give this a try! Looks really tasty and I’m trying to cut down on meat... Could you please tell me, do you have to eat this once made or will it keep and reheat? Thanks 🙂
Hi Caroline, this is best eaten once made. You could probably reheat it but there will be some change in the texture if the feta and the chickpeas. I hope this helps 🙂
Absolutely scrumptious! Loved the flavours in this recipe. It’s going in my Keepers!
Thanks so much Miko, I'm so glad you liked it.
This is so so good. I’ve made it a handful of times now and it has become a staple for me. It is so filling and rich and the best meatless meal I have in rotation, hell, it’s Just as satisfying as any meat dish. Thank you for sharing!!
Hi Kelly, thank you so much for getting in touch! I'm so glad you like it 🙂
I replaced the feta with 3 eggs, and it was sooo tasty! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
You're so welcome Becky! I'm going to try it with the eggs too, I like that idea 😉
Monica | Nourish + Fete
Michelle, this looks delicious, and the photos are absolutely gorgeous! I love the backdrop and how vibrant the colors are!
Thank you so much Monica Xx
This dish sounds amazing! Adding this to my list of must makes coming up next month.
Thanks Jacque, I hope you enjoy it x
This dish looks so hearty and full of umami. Perfect cold weather dish that doesn't make me feel bad afterward.
Thanks Jenni x
Ok, can we say YUM!! This looks good and I love chickpeas so much! I need more chickpea recipes!! I'm so making this soon!!
Thanks Amanda, I hope you enjoy it x
I loooooove feta, but I've never tried it baked! This recipe sounds right up my street though, especially with the spicy tomato sauce and chickpeas. Absolutely delicious!
Thanks Elizabeth x
This dish is absolutely stunning! I loved that you used harissa! It's like the condiment no one knows they need, but when they have it they use it in everything ...or maybe that's just me! 🙂
Thanks, Krista, and no it's not just you! I think I could use it everything! I have to try and control my harissa use sometimes 😉
This dish looks so warm and comforting. I love the sauce, chickpeas, and feta in this. This will be on my dinner plan for this week.
Thank you, Sharon, I hope you enjoy it x
Never tried cooked feta before. As I had planned tomato and celery pasta sauce, I added chickpeas, spinach and the pasta. Then the feta instead of grateful cheese topping. A meal in a bowl, perfect TV supper. Thank you for the inspiration Michelle.
You're so welcome!That sounds great Jean! I like the idea of adding pasta too, I'm going to have to try that x
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
Spinach and feta is one of my favourite combos ever!! This looks like such a tasty meal!
This looks so good and just perfect for lunch or dinner!
Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen
This looks so so good - I love your photos! So comforting and I love the hit of spice!
I never follow recipes to the letter unless it's baking. I've never baked feta before and this is intriguing. I love all the flavors going on here specially the harissa. I''ll have to try this.
I hope you enjoy it Farwin x
Love this dish! You pictures and presentation are so stunning, it makes me wanna just grab a spoon and dig in to this goodness! Baked feta is one of my favourite things!
Thank you so much Anna x
I love feta cheese and chickpeas very much so this would be a real treat for me. Love how pretty the color is too. Sounds so easy and simple. Saving for later.
Thanks Veena, I hope you enjoy it 🙂