Monday, June 28, 2010

Layered Greek Dip

I found this delectable recipe in 2008 on a Cooking Light Forum, posted by RecipeGirl.  She called it a "rather amazing Greek-style appetizer" and I must say that I and everyone who I have ever served it to fully concur!  This is one of those recipes that is a never fail hit.  It is often requested and the plate is always one of the first to be emptied.   Cutting the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes does take a bit of prep time, but the dish travels well, is visually appealing and gives you a serving of fruits and vegetables too!

I have used regular cream cheese, 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and low fat whipped cream cheese all with equal success.  The full fat cream cheese made no difference in taste and in our opinion was not worth the extra calories.   However, I don't think I would use non-fat.  The whipped cream cheese was far easier to mix, and made spreading onto the plate a snap.

Crisp Persian cucumbers add a nice texture to the topping, and heirloom tomatoes add a bit of a flavor explosion when they are in season. 
The original recipe calls for chopped black olives, but an olive fan I am not, so I always leave them out.

I didn't realize just how important the crumbled feta was until I once accidentally left if off!  Definitely a must to finish out the flavors.  Recently I have been using a Mediterranean Herbed Feta that I picked up at Trader Joe's.  Regular 'ole crumbled Feta works just as well and I frequently just use what I have on hand.  

The first time I made this recipe I followed measurements to a tee.  However, I found that there was a bit too much hummus for my taste, and that when I sometimes used a different sized plate, the recipe measure for the toppings didn't cover the hummus as much as I would have liked.  Since then I have not really measured, just chopped until it looked right.  This is one of those recipes that you can eye-ball... when it looks like you have enough cucumber, tomato or onion, you stop chopping!

The vote seems to be nearly unanimous... Layered Greek Dip is a savory delight! 

Layered Greek Dip
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 8 oz. tub 1/3 less reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup prepared hummus (my favorite is Trader Joe's Mediterranean Hummus!)
1 cup chopped cucumber
 1 cup chopped tomato 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Multigrain pita or tortilla chips for dipping

In medium mixing bowl stir the cream cheese, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and garlic until smooth and combined.

Spread the cream cheese mixture onto a 9 inch serving dish.  Evenly spread the hummus on top of the cream cheese layer.  Top with cucumber, tomato, feta cheese and green onions.  Cover and refrigerate.  Serve with multi grain pita or tortilla chips.

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