Skinny Baked Feta with Cherry Tomatoes

If you’ve been unable to land yourself a package of feta at the grocery store lately, it may be due to the baked feta pasta recipe circling the internet right now. And rightfully so! This recipe is delicious!! For me, it was love at first sight. It’s hard to go wrong with feta cheese, warm cherry tomatoes and pasta so I was just as intrigued as the next guy after viewing as it made its way to the top of my “must try recipe” list. The only problem was every time I tried to get my paws on some feta, they were wiped out. After four attempts and three stores, I finally tracked down the cheesemonger (yep, it’s a word) and found out the story behind the empty shelves.

When I asked if she had any feta in brine in the back she replied, “There’s a national feta shortage right now thanks to a Tik Tok video that went viral.”

Ya heard it here first folks. This recipe is soooooo good, it caused a NATIONAL FETA SHORTAGE!! This isn’t toilet paper circa March 2020 people!! How can you pass up the opportunity to try a recipe that resulted in a national feta shortage?

Anywho, as I do, I wanted to make this recipe a little lighter, so I can return for seconds and still zip up my pants the next day. My first attempt was reducing the fat with less oil and increasing the nutritional benefit by adding some crunchy bell peppers that pack lots of vitamin A, C and potassium. Later attempts included adding in some seasoned ground turkey for some lean protein to make this a more balanced dinner. Lastly, I separated the pasta from the baked feta part to make it a little more macro friendly so I can easily modify the serving sizes to fit my goals. I baked the feta potion in these awesome pyrex glass baking sheets. I love them because it has a snap on lid so the dish goes from oven to fridge without any added dishes (let it cool down before transferring to the fridge)

This recipe is a winner for sure!!! And the deconstructed version allows for you to make it work for your diet. Watching carbs? Swap out the noodles for zoodles or a combo of half and half. Add on some toasted pine nuts and fresh parmesan cheese if you aren’t keeping it low fat. Don’t forget to top with fresh chopped basil or parsley for a little color and a pack of flavor!

Since I was trying to keep this dish low fat, I opted for 32oz. ground lean turkey, but you could also use Italian sausage or a combo of any type of ground meat you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 32oz. Italian seasoned lean ground turkey
  • 8oz feta in brine
  • 20oz cherry tomatoes
  • 10 baby bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pureed garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon dried fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12oz pasta ( I chose TInkyada gluten free penne)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 400

2. Add feta to the center of a 9 x 13 – three quart baking dish.

3. Add tomatoes and bell peppers around the feta. Drizzle the olive oil over the feta and tomatoes/peppers and mix well without disturbing the feta in the center.

4. Bake for 35 minutes.

5. Prepare pasta according to package. Drain and put to the side.

6. Lightly spray large pan with olive oil spray. Add round turkey. Season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds and begin breaking up into small pieces while turkey cooks. Continue to crumble meat and cook through until no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Put to the side.

7. When feta is done baking, remove from oven. Add in garlic and mix the feta, tomatoes and peppers together. Add the ground turkey and continue to mix until well stirred. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

8. Top with fresh basil and serve over pasta.

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