Rainbow Crudités with Fire Feta




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A round platter ofRainbow Crudités with Fire Feta

Rainbow Crudités with Fire Feta ~ an oasis of freshness and crunch in a season full of comfort foods and holiday treats, people will flock to this colorful healthy appetizer!

Rainbow Crudités with Fire Feta on a white platter

I’ve got a lot of great appetizers in my recipe index, from mini baked Brie wrapped in puff pastry and fried olives with aioli, to a cheesy mushroom bruschetta, just to name a few.  But my own personal style, at least during the holidays, is to go super light with my appetizer choices.  Want to know what I’m serving this month?   It’s this colorful plate of crunchy veggies with a fiery feta dip.

Everything else we’re eating this season is weighing us down, I feel like our appetizers should lift us up!

A round platter ofRainbow Crudités with Fire Feta

I think supermarkets everywhere are at the top of their game during the holidays, sourcing the best of everything for picky holiday shoppers.  I notice an uptick in the produce section, especially, which inspires me to gather up the freshest veggies for a crudité platter.

Fresh rainbow vegetables come as a really welcome break from heavy seasonal fare, and I love to surprise guests with a big colorful platter.  It’s also an easy thing to take with you to parties since there’s no heating or cooking involved.  People lunge at it because they’ve been starved for fresh raw veggies.

Making Fire Feta dip in a food processor

But no matter how fabulous the veggies, every crudité platter worth its salt has to be grounded by a great dip.  Fire feta is perfect because it’s super creamy and has a vibrant flavor, while still being healthy.  It’s based on a classic Greek dip made with feta cheese and roasted red peppers; it gets a kick of heat, which you can adjust to your taste, from cayenne pepper.  It’s super easy to make, just blitz the ingredients together in a food processor.  Be sure to use good quality feta cheese, the kind sold in brine.  I always buy imported sheep’s milk feta (domestic feta is usually made from cow’s milk) which I think has the best flavor.  The color is a cheery bright orange and makes the perfect centerpiece for your radiating rainbow of veggies.

A colorful platter of Rainbow Crudités with Fire Feta Dip

Tips for a superior crudité platter

  • Go beyond carrots and celery.  Look for unusual veggies like baby zucchini, watermelon radishes, jicama, and golden beets to add to your assortment.  Most veggies can be eaten raw, so get creative.
  • Look for young or baby vegetables whenever you can, they make the most tender crudité.
  • Think about the color wheel when you arrange your platter, make sure you represent as many colors as you can.
  • Gather a variety of textures, from leafy endive to sleek peppers and bumpy cauliflower, it all adds appeal.
  • Freshness is key, don’t use old or pre-cut vegetables.  I see no reason to blanch or par cook any of the vegetables, I like them crunchy.
  • Cut your vegetables into long sticks when possible, or thin slices.  Keep small items like radishes whole.  Cut them too thick and they’ll be hard to bite, too thin and they flop when you dip them.
  • If you want to prep ahead, make sure to cover the vegetables with damp (almost wet) paper towels, and then again with plastic.
  • Dips matter (put away that bottle of ranch dressing.)  A delicious homemade dip with lots of flavor is the key to turning raw veggies into a satisfying appetizer.  Make sure yours is nice and thick, not drippy…nobody want’s messy guests.

Other dips to use with crudité vegetables

  • Vivid red Muhammara, a Middle Eastern roasted red pepper and walnut dip.
  • Any version of hummus, which has the perfect dipping texture and can be flavored in so many ways ~ check out my 50 Ways to Hack Your Hummus for ideas….
  • Creamy Vidalia Onion Dip, which is an updated version of the classic onion soup mix dip.
  • Can you use ranch dressing?   Sure, just make sure it’s a good one.  Splurge on one of the jars in the refrigerated salad section.

Rainbow Crudité with Fire Feta Dip

tvfgi recommends: a basic large white platter

A large plain white platter is so handy to have around, I use mine all the time for cheese platters, crudités, fruit plates, etc.  You might recognize it from my Festive Olive Wreath Appetizer.  Why white?  It really makes the beautiful colors of your food pop.  Mine has a 12 diameter and that size can be hard to find at retail.  It keeps everything for this rainbow crudités with fire feta contained and easy to serve.

Fire Feta
Rate this recipe
7 ratings

Category: appetizer, dip

Cuisine: Greek, American

Servings: serves 10-12

A round platter ofRainbow Crudités with Fire Feta

A fiery feta and roasted red pepper dip for crisp crudité vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound block of sheep's milk feta (sold in brine)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 pound roasted red peppers
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
    garnish
  • chopped chives

Instructions

  1. Cut the feta in large chunks and add to the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic. Add the red peppers and process until mostly creamy, but still retaining a little texture. I like to pulse the machine for more control.
  2. Add the cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon at a time until it's just right for your taste.
  3. Dip can be put in an airtight container and refrigerated for several days.
  4. Serve garnished with chopped chives.
  5. Place a bowl of dip in the center of a large platter and arrange crudité around it. I used: French green beans, yellow pepper strips, radishes, baby zucchini, baby scallions, endive, red bell pepper strips, baby cucumber, baby carrots, purple cauliflower, golden beets, and watermelon radish.

Make this Rainbow Crudité with Fire Feta your own ~

  • Can’t take the heat?  Make a sweet feta dip using sweet paprika in place of the cayenne.

  • Make it vegan using tofu in place of feta.

  • Make it uber healthy and low fat ~ use Greek yogurt in place of the feta.

  • Fire Feta is utterly delicious with fresh pita bread, or toasted pita triangles, too!

 

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15 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    deb
    March 15, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    What is the purple and green veg? Never seen anything like it!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 16, 2019 at 5:24 am

      That is a watermelon radish!

  • Reply
    Dolores A Van Duzor
    January 30, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    I like the colorful veggies. What’s the purple about? Cauliflower and what? How did you do that? I’d love to give it a try.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 30, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Hey Dolores ~ so the cauliflower is actually purple cauliflower. They have orange and even green cauliflower varieties now. They’re not always available, but are becoming more and more common in large supermarkets.

  • Reply
    Libby
    December 16, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Is the golden beet raw or cooked? Beautiful photography!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

      The beets are raw, they are delicious that way, I just slice them thinly. Everyone is always surprised by that!

  • Reply
    Julie
    December 12, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    What a pretty plate that is so refreshing amongst all the comfort food! The dip sounds amazing too.

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 12, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Lovely meal for a hot summer night of which we are getting plenty at the present time. Crunch, crunch on those fresh vegetables. Yum.

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    December 11, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    What a great idea for a feta dip! Thank you Sue! What I often do is to mash feta with grilled hot green peppers and some olive oil. With your recipe it will be upgraded. You are such an inspiration !

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      I love the idea of using green peppers, Alexandra, thanks! I love this dip so much I will definitely experiment with it, and green peppers will be up next! Happy Holidays :)

      • Reply
        Alexandra
        December 11, 2018 at 9:44 pm

        Best wishes and Happy holidays to you, too –

  • Reply
    Kathleen Correll
    December 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Your recipes are wonderful – but I really love your plant-based, healthy, simple but elegant posts. This rainbow crudité is perfect!!! Will be bringing it to more than one Christmas gathering!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks Kathleen, it’s such a struggle to balance my healthy recipes with the sweet ones (which are by far more popular.) I’m always glad to hear that there are people out there who appreciate the simple healthy stuff :)

  • Reply
    CATHERINE LEE
    December 11, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Not only does this dip sound absolutely yummy, that is the most gorgeous platter of veggies and dip I’ve ever seen! Def gonna give this a try, even if it’s just me and the hubby, we can make a meal out of it! Thanks for the recipe and mouthwatering, eye candy photos!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Glad this inspired you Catherine, I love the idea of making a meal out of it, maybe add some good pita bread into the mix :)