Moroccan Baked Feta with Olive Tapenade

5 from 7 votes
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Moroccan Baked Feta with Olive Tapenade is the ultimate crowd-pleasing appetizer. Serve this incredibly delicious dip with crusty bread or pita in right under 40 minutes. 

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Moroccan Baked Feta dip in a square dish topped with olive tapenade and surrounded by grilled bread.

Why You’ll Love this Moroccan Baked Feta

Picture this: Crumbles of salty feta cheese swimming in a luscious Moroccan red pepper sauce.

Now picture it topped with a briny olive tapenade to round out each bite with bright flavor and freshness.

THIS is my new go-to appetizer this holiday season, and trust me when I say it’s a bonafide crowd-pleaser.

Not only is this recipe aesthetically pleasing, but it offers a flavor profile that I personally crave this time of year.

Because, let’s be honest, most holiday appetizer spreads offer many of the same dips and small bites. So, amongst the sea of sausage balls and spinach-artichoke bread bowls, a rush of Moroccan flavor can really help revitalize the palate.

BONUS: you can prepare this appetizer one day ahead and wait to bake it until ready to serve.

Once warm and toasty, top it with tapenade and serve alongside crusty bread or pita. Both adults and kids will go wild for it!

And if you love cheesy baked dips like this, also check out my Baked Feta Artichoke Dip and Goat Cheese Dip.

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls on a wooden board with labels.
  • Red Peppers: I prefer using jarred roasted red peppers instead of roasting and peeling them myself. This saves SO much time, however if you prefer the latter method, go for it!
  • Tomato Paste: For extra bright, tangy flavor.
  • Walnuts: A fantastic source of heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, and important minerals, such as magnesium.
  • Harissa: I buy Mina brand harissa paste, which is available in both spicy and mild. If you’re using harissa powder, you can make a paste by mixing it with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Feta: You can either use pre-crumbled feta, or crumble a block of feta yourself. Feta adds richness, and salty, briny flavor.
  • Olives: I love Castelvetrano olives for this recipe because they’re mild and super buttery. When they’re in season, you can typically find them pitted at most well-stocked olive bars.
  • Parsley: For a fresh, herb-y punch.
  • Dippers: Crusty bread or pita work best!

For a complete list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.

A piece of grilled bread being dipped into a dish of Moroccan baked feta.

Substitutions and Additions: 

  • Use a Different Nut: The recipe calls for walnuts, however you can also use almonds. For extra richness, toast either nut in a 350°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Swap the Olives: Any kind of green olive will work (if you can’t find Castelvetrano). I have also used Cerignola olives with success!
  • Omit Harissa: If you can’t find harissa, you can add any brand of chili-garlic sauce.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Preparing this dip couldn’t be easier, and the food processor does most of the work for you.

Step 1: Blend red peppers, tomato paste, harissa, garlic, and walnuts.

Step 2: Transfer half of it to a 1 1/2-quart broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish. Next, sprinkle half of the feta cheese over the red pepper mixture, then spoon the remaining sauce overtop. Finish off with the remainder of the feta cheese, and bake for 25 minutes.

Roasted red pepper mixture being blended in a food processor, and layered in a baking dish with feta.

Step 3: Prepare Olive Tapenade by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture over baked dip, and dig in!

Olives, parsley, walnuts, and olive oil being mixed in a blue bowl.

Recipe FAQs

What is Harissa Made of?

Harissa is made of a variety of peppers (red peppers, serrano peppers, etc.), garlic, and spices such as coriander, saffron, and caraway. I suggest buying mild harissa paste, and if the dish needs extra heat, just add some chili flakes.

Harissa is one of my go-to condiments when I want to add layers of complexity and heat to dishes. I use it liberally and flexibly, but it can vary in heat depending on the region and maker.

What to Serve with Baked Feta:

I love serving this cheesy baked dip with crusty bread or baked pita for scooping. (Bonus points if you grill the bread on a cast iron or toast in the oven before serving.)
You can also serve it with any sturdy cracker or tortilla chip!

Leftover Suggestions:

If you end up with leftover Moroccan Baked Feta, you can turn the dip into a spread for sandwiches or wraps. It’s also delicious with roasted vegetables like eggplant and fennel, or spooned over baked white fish. I have also used it as the base for shakshuka!

Baked feta dip topped with olive tapenade in a square baking dish surrounded by crostini.

More Easy Appetizer Recipes to Try:

If you give this Moroccan Baked Feta a try, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 7 votes

Moroccan Baked Feta with Olive Tapenade

Moroccan Baked Feta with Olive Tapenade is the ultimate crowd-pleasing appetizer. Serve this incredibly delicious dip with crusty bread or pita in right under 40 minutes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 servings

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • 8×8-inch Baking Dish

Ingredients  

Baked Feta

  • 1 (16-oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 3 Tbsp. mild harissa (such as Mina brand)
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • Crusty bread or baked pita for serving (see other serving suggestions below)

Olive Tapenade

  • 1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped or sliced (I recommend Castelvetrano olives)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Prepare Baked Feta: Combine roasted red peppers, walnuts, harissa, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor; blend until mostly smooth.
  • Spoon half of mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of feta cheese overtop, and then spoon remaining red pepper sauce over cheese.
    Top with remaining feta and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until bubbly. Turn broiler to HIGH, and broil for 2 minutes.
  • While mixture bakes, prepare Olive Tapenade by adding olives, parsley, walnuts, olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl; stir to combine.
  • Top baked feta with olive tapenade and serve warm.

Notes

*I do NOT recommend Trader Joe’s Harissa for this recipe (it is way too spicy for the amount we need).
*You can also turn this dip into a satisfying dinner by tossing the baked feta mixture with your pasta of choice, and scattering the olive mixture over each serving.
*Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy chilled, or reheat portions in the microwave if you prefer it warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 780mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

 

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    I’m making this for a dinner party and want to make ahead. Can I prepare’/mix together the olive topping a day ahead and refrigerate? I’ll make the part you bake the day before and bake on the day of serving, but I’d like to make the topping ahead of time if that’s ok. Thank you!

  2. Jasson says:

    5 stars
    Very nice recipe chef 👍👌👏. Delicious 😋. Thank you for your effort 🌞😎

  3. Lindsay says:

    5 stars
    I made this for New Year’s Eve. It was a big hit with everyone! I substituted the harissa for gochujang (because that’s what I had on hand). 10/10 would make again!

  4. Kelly Ann says:

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS!!! Enjoyed it very much with warm bread

  5. Jerri says:

    5 stars
    AMAZING recipe!! Everyone in the house commented on how phenomenal the taste of this dip is.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Woohoo! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit, Jeri! Thank you for leaving a review!

  6. Henri says:

    Raving reviews from my party guests! So delicious thank you!!

  7. Kaley says:

    5 stars
    SO good I could have eaten the whole pan!!