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News / Life / Clark County Life

Fabulous Feta: Whirl roasted vegetables with cheese and herbs for scrumptious soup

The Columbian
Published: May 29, 2024, 6:02am
4 Photos
Roast vegetables with feta cheese and blend them with broth and you&rsquo;ve got soup!
Roast vegetables with feta cheese and blend them with broth and you’ve got soup! (Photos by Monika Spykerman/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

I don’t jump on every internet food fad but I occasionally see something that piques my interest. I’m skeptical of any recipe that claims to be the easiest, quickest, most mouth-watering dish ever devised. Most things on YouTube aren’t as life-changing as promised (like the gloopy crock pot cobbler I made recently) but some are worth making again, like baked feta and cherry tomato pasta. Now I’ve found another keeper: roasted vegetable and feta soup.

At least one person in our house (me) absolutely loves feta and the other one (my husband) thinks he doesn’t but actually does, since I put feta in all kinds of things and he never breathes a word of protest. You might get the idea that I derive significant amusement from sneaking foods my husband dislikes into many home-cooked dishes. You’d be right. I personally believe we’ve stayed married for so long because he loves my little jokes at his expense, even if his face and mouth communicate an entirely different story. If you think I’m mean, let me add that whenever I lose my keys or my cellphone — in other words, every day — my husband just laughs and laughs. We have a fun marriage.

So, a couple of weeks ago, when I saw a recipe for roasted vegetable and feta soup, my eyes lit up and I started wondering how I could slip that feta under my picky husband’s radar. This soup starts the same way as the feta and cherry tomato pasta sauce does: oven-roasted vegetables and feta. Then you just throw everything — well, put it carefully — in a blender with vegetable stock, and boom, soup!

If you think that putting feta in a soup seems odd, consider all the beloved soup recipes that contain cheddar cheese: broccoli cheddar, potato cheddar and the cheese-lover’s favorite, cheese soup, which doesn’t have any pesky vegetable to dilute the pure cheese flavor. Like cheddar, feta’s natural saltiness and slight tang make it an ideal partner for mellow roasted vegetables.

Here’s what you’ll need: One 8-ounce block of feta, three large tomatoes, one large onion, one large bell pepper, five or six large garlic cloves (unpeeled), a sprig of fresh oregano and a sprig of fresh rosemary, plus olive oil for roasting and salt and pepper to taste. You’ll also need a big roasting pan and a blender or food processor.

Set your oven to 400 degrees and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil on your biggest roasting pan. Place the intact block of feta in the middle, then chop all the veggies into rustic, 1-inch chunks (more or less — it’s not an exact science). Place the vegetables on the pan around the cheese. Add a sprig of fresh oregano and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over everything then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon garlic salt and ½ teaspoon lemon pepper or black pepper. Add a couple more dashes of plain salt if you want but remember that feta is also very salty.

Stick the whole pan in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. After about 20 minutes, you’ll start to smell a delicious aroma and you’ll get excited about the soup you’re going to have with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches or what have you. When the oven timer dings, take the veggies out of the oven and let them cool. They don’t have to be room temperature, just cool enough to handle. Carefully scoop everything into a blender or food processor along with a 32-ounce box of vegetable stock. The garlic skins should have split during roasting and you can pop the soft garlic cloves right out. Remove the leaves from the stems of oregano and rosemary and put the leaves in the blender, too.

Blend on high for a minute or two or until very smooth. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and an extra sprinkle of lemon pepper.

My husband wolfed down the and had seconds. Inside my mind, I just laughed and laughed. Then I felt bad, so I confessed there was feta in the soup. He was unfazed and even took the soup to work for lunch the next day. He really is a big sweetheart. In fact, I’d like to call him right now and tell him how much I love him, if only I could find my cellphone.

Roasted Vegetable and Feta Soup

8 ounces feta 
2-3 large tomatoes
1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper
1 large onion
1 head of garlic
Sprigs of rosemary and oregano
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
Salt to taste

Set oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle half of olive oil onto baking sheet or baking dish. Place whole block of feta in center. Cut vegetables into rough one-inch chunks and arrange them in a single layer around the feta. Slice top off of garlic and place, whole, on the pan. Add sprigs of fresh rosemary and oregano. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt and lemon pepper over everything. Use additional salt if desired (but don’t forget that feta is very salty). Roast in oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch. Put everything in blender with a 32-ounce box of vegetable broth and blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Pour into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper. Goes well with grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas or crusty bread.