Cheese and Walnut Dip

In April of 2022 my husband and I visited Cappadocia, Turkey. It was an incredible destination, to say the least, highlighted by a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over the unique landscape.

The food was a delight to me – vegetables, bean dips, pickles, salads, breads, fruits, desserts, and more. Oddly enough I never found Turkish eggs anywhere!

When I was searching a while back for a lamb dish I’d enjoyed on that same trip, I used a Greg Malouf recipe, then proceeded to discover that Greg and his wife, Lucy, had written a multitude of cookbooks together, including one on Turkish cuisine. After our visit, I just had to buy this, called Turquoise, published in 2008.

As the cookbook begins, Lucy tells the story of people’s reactions to them writing a book about Turkish cuisine, basically saying “Isn’t it all about eggplant?” I found that funny because that was my husband’s impression of the food in Cappadocia. Here are some food photos to prove him wrong!

The cookbook is a wonderful read, and the recipes are fantastic, sometimes modernized by the chefs, but I have no problem with that. There are ingredients in the book that are definitely unique, like grape molasses and pickled fig seeds. But basic Turkish ingredients are readily available for the most part, although I wish I could have used Turkish feta in this recipe.

This dip recipe intrigued me because of its simplicity. I love strained yogurt, and was quite impressed with how widely and creatively yogurt was used in Turkey. My favorite was a fermented yogurt soup called Tarhana, pictured in the above mosaic.

About this recipe, by the authors, “Simple to make, this dip is nice and peppery, and the walnuts give it a pleasing crunch. Serve as a spread for fresh crusty bread or smeared on croutons as an appetizer with predinner drinks.”

Soft White Cheese and Walnut Dip

2/3 cup walnuts
6 ounces feta
2 tablespoons strained yogurt (recipe below)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter the walnuts onto a baking tray and roast for 5-10 minutes until a deep golden brown. Tip the nuts into a tea towel and rub well to remove as much skin as possible.

Chop the walnuts finely and toss in a sieve to remove any remaining skin and dust.

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mash everything together thoroughly with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

The texture of this is interesting, and the flavors are really good.

I served it with some pita and crackers plus some other goodies.

The dip/spread is delicious. The toasted walnut flavor really shines. I imagine an authentic Turkish feta would have a stronger flavor, but the cheese was still wonderful.

By Published On: October 26th, 202252 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

52 Comments

  1. Angela October 26, 2022 at 6:32 AM - Reply

    Oh my goodness… I just did some « paring » of the cookbook library, so I now have room for this one. That dip sounds and looks wonderful!

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 7:06 AM - Reply

      There’s always room for one more cookbook, right?!

  2. David @ Spiced October 26, 2022 at 6:38 AM - Reply

    Well that appetizer board looks fantastic, Mimi! You want to come over for drinks this weekend?? :-) This dip is right up my alley for sure. And I had no idea that Cappadocia had such unique landscape. That hot air balloon ride is a memory of a lifetime for sure!

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 7:05 AM - Reply

      It was a magnificent ride. Our first in a balloon! And such good food.

  3. Hannah October 26, 2022 at 7:52 AM - Reply

    Now that’s one inviting party starter if I ever did see one, perfect for the holidays ahead!

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 8:14 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Hannah!

  4. angiesrecipes October 26, 2022 at 8:01 AM - Reply

    We adore Turkish food! The dip looks magnificent.

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 8:14 AM - Reply

      I never really knew much about it! That will change.

      • Ben | Havocinthekitchen October 27, 2022 at 5:11 PM

        Oh yeah, Turkish cuisine is phenomenal (Personally cannot ignore delicious breads, dips, and desserts.) This dip is exactly what I love in Mediterranean cuisine!

      • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:11 PM

        I agree with you!!!

  5. terrie gura October 26, 2022 at 9:20 AM - Reply

    Sounds like an incredible adventure! This dip looks scrumptious, and I agree with David on the appetizer board. Looking forward to see what else you whip up from this new cookbook!

  6. lulu October 26, 2022 at 12:40 PM - Reply

    Good for you for taking a hot air balloon ride. That is something to to miss.

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 12:42 PM - Reply

      Yes! It was so beautiful, especially at sunrise.

  7. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons October 26, 2022 at 1:15 PM - Reply

    That landscape is amazing, it looks as if the earth has teeth…bit dinosaur teeth! I am so envious that you were able to travel this year, what a treat.

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 1:28 PM - Reply

      thanks. We were so happy to finally travel.

  8. pauline October 26, 2022 at 5:14 PM - Reply

    I’ve been to Turkey, just Istanbul, and the food was delicious, the spice markets were incredible, and your dip looks perfect for casual eating Mimi. I must check if the local library has this Malouf book, I love just reading their books as well. This dip is on my list to make. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chef Mimi October 26, 2022 at 5:40 PM - Reply

      Yes, the food was so much fun for me! I can’t believe people think it’s all about eggplant!!

  9. Sherry M October 26, 2022 at 7:33 PM - Reply

    oh yum I’m drooling here Mimi. I love that sort of food. Glad to see you are enjoying Greg Malouf’s book – a great aussie chef! And I love eggplant anyway …

    • Chef Mimi October 27, 2022 at 6:45 AM - Reply

      I somehow missed that he’s Australian. Or, I forgot! Beautiful book.

  10. Valentina October 26, 2022 at 9:48 PM - Reply

    What an incredible trip that must have been. That landscape is unique indeed! I’ve never seen anything like it. (Not to mention from a balloon!!) Feta is one of my favorite cheeses and the other flavors with it should delicious. Yum! :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi October 27, 2022 at 6:44 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Valentina! It was quite the trip!

  11. Tandy | Lavender and Lime October 26, 2022 at 10:58 PM - Reply

    I cannot bring up in my taste memories how Turkish feta differs from others I’ve had. I am going to look up the milk they use.

    • Chef Mimi October 27, 2022 at 6:44 AM - Reply

      I know Bulgarian feta is very strong, but of course that’s not Turkey. I just assumed it’s not like American feta.

  12. 2pots2cook October 27, 2022 at 4:48 AM - Reply

    Many years ago, my father brought me a cookbook when coming back from his business trip to Turkey and I was enchanted with it. So was he. :-) Great Mediterranean dishes but so different then the ones we were used to! Amazing!

    • Chef Mimi October 27, 2022 at 6:43 AM - Reply

      That describes the cuisine perfectly!!! And how nice of your father.

  13. cookingwithauntjuju.com October 27, 2022 at 8:04 AM - Reply

    Fabulous picture – did you take that from your balloon? I gave my hubby a hot air balloon ride as a present once but the scenery did not compare! Always love a good cheese dip :)

    • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:11 PM - Reply

      Yes! I took the photo from the balloon! What also made it so spectacular was the fact that it was sunrise!

  14. Ben | Havocinthekitchen October 27, 2022 at 5:11 PM - Reply

    Oh yeah, Turkish cuisine is phenomenal (Personally cannot ignore delicious breads, dips, and desserts.) This dip is exactly what I love in Mediterranean cuisine!

  15. Debra October 27, 2022 at 7:51 PM - Reply

    Years ago I had a good friend who had lived in Turkey for many years. I loved going to her house and being treated to the most wonderful tastes! I love this recipe you’ve shared, and can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t love it. What a wonderful trip you took earlier this year, punctuated by the balloon ride! It must have been a magical experience. :-)

    • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:10 PM - Reply

      It was truly magical, and at least I had fun with all of the lovely foods! How nice to have had a friend there.

  16. neil@neilshealthymeals.com October 28, 2022 at 4:25 AM - Reply

    What a lovely dip! I’m glad you had a good time in Turkey in April. Turkey is on our list too, and I can’t wait to try out all their foods. I’m taking a note of this dip for a possible addition to our Hogmanay finger buffet. Yum!

    • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:09 PM - Reply

      Fun! I hope you get to Turkey.

  17. BERNADETTE October 28, 2022 at 6:00 AM - Reply

    I just started to make my own yogurt and have been wondering about dips. Definitely will try this. Thanks.

    • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:09 PM - Reply

      You don’t use too much of the strained yogurt in this dip, but it definitely adds a zing!

  18. Ann Coleman October 28, 2022 at 2:07 PM - Reply

    I’m not very familiar with Turkish cuisine, but that dip sure looks good. I think that’s one of the best parts of traveling: it introduces us to new food that we grow to love!

    • Chef Mimi October 28, 2022 at 7:08 PM - Reply

      Exactly !

  19. David Scott Allen October 29, 2022 at 11:39 AM - Reply

    The cookbook looks wonderful, and the recipe sounds fantastic. The only Turkish cookbook I have is one of the tourist variety, and this one seems to go way beyond. Even if everything was “all eggplant“, Mark and I would be really happy because we love eggplant.

    • Chef Mimi October 29, 2022 at 5:38 PM - Reply

      Right! I was very happy at every meal!

  20. Jeff the Chef October 29, 2022 at 7:15 PM - Reply

    What a fabulous place to take a trip, and what a great dip. Walnuts are one of the few things that my husband doesn’t like, and although he’s always say, “Oh, you should make it anyway,” I never do. :-(

    • Chef Mimi October 30, 2022 at 9:03 AM - Reply

      Right. I understand. I’m very limited because of my husband as well. Which is why I love blogging. But then, I have to eat everything by myself!!!

  21. In Good Flavor (@InGoodFlavor) October 30, 2022 at 3:22 PM - Reply

    What an incredible landscape!! It looks surreal. I like the simplicity of the dip, and the board looks delicious!

    • Chef Mimi November 1, 2022 at 7:56 AM - Reply

      I know. It was beautiful and breath taking!

  22. Healthy World Cuisine November 1, 2022 at 6:30 PM - Reply

    This is going to be a very delicious evening as we have everything in our pantry to make your fantastically simple walnut dip- including a red that has just been opened. Come on over and help me polish this off!! LOL

    • Chef Mimi November 2, 2022 at 9:06 AM - Reply

      Nice! And, I wish!

  23. Raymund November 1, 2022 at 8:45 PM - Reply

    That looks like a really good dip, a perfect addition to a cheese board

    • Chef Mimi November 2, 2022 at 9:05 AM - Reply

      Thanks. It was wonderful!

  24. StefanGourmet November 3, 2022 at 1:54 AM - Reply

    Love the idea of sieving the walnuts after chopping. Why haven’t I thought of that!
    Although Greeks and Turks deny it vehemently, their food is very similar. If you can get imported Greek feta, that should be fine, too. In my experience, non-imported (i.e. not from Turkey or Greece) feta has little flavor other than salt.

    • Chef Mimi November 3, 2022 at 9:08 AM - Reply

      I’ve bad Bulgarian feta that was incredible – so much flavor. Unfortunately that cheese shop closed! Yes, the walnuts were excellent flavor.

  25. Ronit November 4, 2022 at 10:58 AM - Reply

    Love this dip, especially the use of walnuts. Turkish food is so full of flavors and fresh ingredients.

    • Chef Mimi November 4, 2022 at 11:18 AM - Reply

      Yes!!! It was wonderful!

  26. Gerlinde de Broekert November 9, 2022 at 7:59 PM - Reply

    What a great story and wonderful recipe. I had some great Turkish meals in Germany but I have never been to Turkey.

    • Chef Mimi November 10, 2022 at 7:58 AM - Reply

      Turkish food is fabulous! I never knew!!!

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