Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Red Pepper Pitzas with French Feta, Basil and Red Onion

It's such an easy feat sometimes to find a combination that's just miraculous -- it hit your tastebuds perfectly, it quelled your bad mood dutifully, and it spaced you out ...

It’s such an easy feat sometimes to find a combination that’s just miraculous — it hit your tastebuds perfectly, it quelled your bad mood dutifully, and it spaced you out for an hour after eating it as you thought about it again and again. By this point, we’ve all had it drilled in our heads that the best food is often made with the most simply prepared, fresh ingredients. Which in part makes your life simple, too, and when it comes to leftovers, you’ll have a lot more uses for that leftover half of an onion than a dried-out casserole of something that took you two and a half hours to make. So maybe I’m drilling the simplicity point even further into our heads by saying all the above — but the truth is, I normally don’t follow it. I pickle the red onion, if you know what I mean. Well, in this case I didn’t, and I was humbled beyond words.

French feta is a recent discovery for me. This sheep’s milk cheese is just a touch moister, milkier and less salty than Greek feta — but still satisfyingly salty and briny. You don’t need to sprinkle any salt on these pitzas before baking them. I never quite liked how most Greek fetas, especially when baked a few minutes on a pita, have this rubbery, dry texture. French feta seems more inclined to melting, and so better for pitza-making.

If you’re wondering how these looked after they had been baked, I regret not having a photo for you. I just wanted to eat it right away. It happens sometimes.

Red Pepper Pitzas with French Feta, Basil and Red Onion
(makes 2 single-serve pitzas)

2 pocketless pitas
about 1/2 of a medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
about 3/4 cup French feta, crumbled
2 Tb olive oil
5-6 basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pitas on a baking sheet and arrange peppers, onions, feta and basil on both. Drizzle each with 1 Tb of olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper and a touch of salt if desired. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from sheet and let cool a moment before serving (or not).

Cost Calculator
(for 2 servings)

1/2 red bell pepper (1/3 lb at $2.99/lb at Fairway): $1.00
1/4 red onion (at $1.20/lb): $0.20
3/4 cup French feta (at $6.99/lb at Fairway): $1.75
2 Tb olive oil: $0.15
5-6 basil leaves (from my plant): $0.20
salt and pepper: $0.05

Total: $3.35

Health Factor


Three brownie points: Red peppers run very few calories and are one of the most nutritionally dense of vegetables, with more Vitamin C than an orange, Vitamin A, B6, antioxidants and lycopene. (No wonder they’re usually so expensive.) As a lighter alternative, fresh mozzarella could be substituted for the feta in this dish for a little less pungency.

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9 Responses to “Red Pepper Pitzas with French Feta, Basil and Red Onion”

  1. Kalyn says:

    This looks so wonderful. I love the French sheep’s milk feta, and amazingly enough,here I can get it at Costco. I’m definitely going to try this.

  2. Laura Wehrman says:

    Have to repeat how much I love your blog! You are on my bookmarks bar.

    I love this recipe and made a similar version for my lunch just now. For a healthier alternative, I used an Ezekial sprouted grain tortilla (It has been making fantastic crust!) yellow peppers, thyme from my plant, shallots and a Greek feta called Manouri that is very creamy and mild. The Garden, here in Greenpoint sells it. It was so great! Thanks for the recipe.

    You always have such inspiring recipes and insights! The foraging post was so interesting.

  3. Michael says:

    Another excellent feta can be had at Trader Joe’s. It is not French; it is from Israel. The brand name is Pastures of Eden, and it comes in a green and yellow suction pack with a bit of brine. Rinse well when it comes out of the package and you’ll enjoy it very much. I do like the French feta at Costco, but I find the Pastures of Eden excellent as well.

  4. masticator says:

    Bulgarian feta (at Sahadi’s and eatern european markets)is also very nice. Sheep’s milk, not too salty, and amazing texture.

  5. Stef says:

    I loved this pizza! It was great to make the night before and bring to work the next day. Keep the great recipes coming!

  6. Christina says:

    Right on about the French feta! It’s so good. I can hardly wait for my pitzas to come out of the oven.

  7. Raincoats and Recipes » Pita with Red Peppers, Onions and Feta: says:

    [...] Pita with Red Pepper, French Feta and Red Onion (Adapted from Not Eating Out in New York) [...]

  8. Tamara says:

    I just posted about pita pizzas on my blog and am totally jealous that I didn’t think of the term “pitza”! That rocks, as do your blog, book, recipes, etc…

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