When I first started hosting dinner parties for friends, I thought it was crucial to make as much of the menu as possible from scratch. As the menus grew more elaborate, however, I found that the preparation started stretching into a full-day event…and then even into the preceding day. Eventually I realized that it’s not about having a 100% from-scratch meal, but rather, it’s about knowing where to maximize your efforts and where to take a few shortcuts.
The appetizer round is typically where I like to call in a little help, relying on things like crackers, bread, or chips from the store. These whipped feta crostini are a great example of how you can start with some premade items but still end up with something fresh, unique, and delicious! Just slice a baguette, zing up some feta (mixed with a little cream cheese) in a food processor, and top the slices with whatever strikes your fancy! In this case, I went with two options: a lentil/cucumber/bruschetta mix and a corn/zucchini mix. To me, ingredients like cucumbers and corn epitomize the summertime spirit, so I like to feature them whenever I can during the warmer months.
These whipped feta crostini can even pass as a light meal if you’re in the mood for something simple. The lentil medley in particular is surprisingly filling—not to mention ridiculously easy, thanks to Trader Joe’s precooked lentils and bruschetta sauce!
If you’re looking for other appetizers that are light on effort but total crowd pleasers, here are some of my favorites:
From left to right:
tortilla chips and cherry chipotle salsa
pita chips and tzatziki hummus
strawberry caprese crostini
How do you save time on preparation when you’re hosting a meal?
- 8 ounces crumbled feta
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 baguette (about 1 pound), sliced and toasted
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
- 1 Persian cucumber, diced
- 1/4 cup bruschetta sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 cup corn (see note)
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- Using a food processor, pulse the feta until it has uniformly small pieces. Add the cream cheese and olive oil and process until it has a smooth appearance. This may take 2-3 minutes.
- Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the diced zucchini and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the corn and sauté until tender, about 1 minute.
- In a medium bowl, combine the lentils, cucumber, and bruschetta sauce.
- Spread the baguette slices with whipped feta. Top with small spoonfuls of the lentil medley or the corn and zucchini medley.
- Any type of corn (fresh, frozen, or canned) will work. If you are using fresh corn, I recommend that you sauté it separately from the zucchini (about 8-10 minutes, or until tender). If you are using frozen corn, defrost it in the microwave before adding it to the zucchini in the skillet.
- Toasting the baguette slices is optional; if you prefer the softer texture of fresh bread, feel free to skip it.
- The amounts listed for the two medleys will together yield enough for about 24-28 crostini (I didn’t do an exact count of how many slices I got from the baguette, but that’s my best guess). If you only want to do one of the medleys, double the amounts listed for that one.
- Whipped feta recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is. The lentil medley was inspired by a sample I had at Trader Joe’s a few months ago (which is where I buy bruschetta sauce).
chef mimi says
They’re beautiful! So smart for a party.
Thanks, Mimi! I only wish I had figured it out a bit earlier.
Great appetizers! They look so colorful and fresh! I will definitely keep these in mind when I have people over next time.
I’m glad these caught your eye! I think they’re a great idea for even a last-minute, impromptu gathering, since they only take a few minutes to put together.
Gisela Dahm says
Looks wonderful! I will make it for company this coming Sunday!
Thanks! Please let me know what you think 🙂
Maggie Jones says
Yummy! I adore crostini and this feta twist is genius. I will be stealing for my own summer entertaining 🙂
Please do! I was blown away the first time I heard of whipped feta…I can’t believe it took me so long to try it, given how easy it is!
I totally agree with you on what you mentioned. Why spend so much time laboring when there are so many great options in supermarkets already? I love how you put this together and that whipped feta sounds amazing!
Exactly! Once I even tried to make my own baguettes from scratch for crostini…sadly, they weren’t even very good. Better to leave that one to the professional bakers!
Cristina @ I Say Nomato says
Yum!!! Feta and crostini is awesome, I’ve never tried to whip it though! Looks delicious 🙂
I saw some recipes for whipped feta last year and knew I had to try it, but it took me a while to get around to it. I highly recommend it – it’s so easy!
The hostess should definitely enjoy the party too! Love how you use smart shortcuts to make an amazing meal that makes it slightly easier to prep. These crostini sound super easy but also elegant – perfect for entertaining! Love the summer flavors here too 🙂 Pinned!
Yes, agreed – the hostess should get to relax a bit, too! And you’ve summed up these crostini perfectly: “easy but also elegant.” I hope you get a chance to try them!
This recipe looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Anita! I’m glad it caught your eye.
Yum! I love the tortilla chips and cherry chipotle salsa too! Happy FF!
Thanks, Kaila! Have a great weekend!
Debbie Spivey says
Love this! Looks so good!
Thanks, Debbie! I hope you get a chance to try it!
I’ve hosted a lot of parties as well – particularly in Korea, and I agree – sometimes you need shortcuts and I think that the appetisers are a good place to do that. I used to buy a few different types of cheese (brie, camembert, cheddar, cream-cheese and whatever else I could find in Korea, a bunch of fancy-pants crackers and voila a very simple cheese board. It took the edge off and made other preparations much easier.
I must say I really like the idea that you have above and I’ll keep it in mind for my next dinner:)
The lentil medley sounds amazing.
I’ve actually never done a cheese board (I love cheese so much that I’m worried I might just eat it all myself!), but that’s a great way to create an elegant spread without spending too much time or effort! Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think if you try these!
I will indeed!
Mara, I love it! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! I too tend to make semi-homemade appetizers! Have a great weekend.
Thanks, Suchitra! I hope you have a great weekend as well.
I have a kind of feta addiction, so your recipe it is particularly appreciated! Love the lentil medley! Thanks a lot for being at FF!
If you have a feta addiction, you would LOVE this appetizer! Thanks for being a host this week 🙂
Ginger Wroot says
I’m oh, so glad that I came across your blog! Your photos and food styling are stunning, and your recipes look oh, so lish! Pinned this lovely whipped feta crostini appetizer. I’ll be coming back soon to see more of your fab creations! –Ginger
Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad you stopped by 🙂
This looks like an easy and delicious appetizer! I love it!
Thanks, Lindsey! Gotta love it when delicious and easy coincide 🙂
Feta combined with cream cheese is just a genius idea! It sounds wonderful. I like the idea of combining some homemade with some from scratch recipes. You are so right about it taking up a whole day or 2 when having people over if you don’t do this. Thanks for this recipe. I can’t wait to make it!
I really had no idea that preparing a multi-course dinner could take SO long! I hope you get a chance to try these – let me know what you think if you do!
Erika Powell says
These look so delicious and will definitely be a part of our next dinner party!
Excellent! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do 🙂