Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

Slabs of feta cheese simmered in a cumin-spiced tomato sauce may sound unconventional, but this simple dish makes a delicious vegetarian dinner.

Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

It’s Saturday…if you have friends coming over for dinner but you don’t feel like spending all day in the kitchen, I’ve got just the thing for you.

This baked feta recipe comes from the book Cook90 by David Tamarkin, the editor and digital director of Epicurious. It’s a great book that’s full of accessible, easy-to-prepare dishes. Cook90 is essentially a guide to help you get in the habit of cooking by cooking for 90 days in a row. However, it isn’t a diet plan or a cleanse or anything like that. The idea is that if you’re someone who wants to cook more, this is sort of a jump start plan to get into the habit.

I love the message of this book, especially this section from the intro: “When you COOK90, your days become healthier because cooking is an inherently healthy behavior. Cooking becomes faster, because daily cooking is a cycle in which each meal naturally connects to the next. And your food simply gets better, because you’re practicing cooking three times a day.”

If you’re someone that eats a little bit of everything, this plan would be a great one to follow (the recipes are not all vegetarian). For everyone else (me included), there are a bunch of produce-forward recipes that are fun and fast to make, like this baked feta!

I was drawn to this recipe because I am a huge fan of feta cheese. I also love chickpeas and kale, so I couldn’t resist trying this out. This recipe has only a handful of ingredients, and we all loved it – even Jack, who said, “what are those weird rectangles” before digging in and devouring his plate. (And then going back for more.)

Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

If you’re a fan of simple, comforting, and healthy food, give this recipe a try, and get more inspiration to stay in the habit of cooking from our recipe index!

Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

5.0 from 10 reviews
Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale
This recipe is adapted from Cook90 by David Tamarkin and is reprinted with permission.
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds* (see note)
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (this recipe is in the book)
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 (12-ounce) block of feta, cut into ½-inch planks
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • warm pita or baguette, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a 10 or 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle gently for a minute or two. Add the kale in batches, letting each handful shrink and wilt before adding the next.
  3. When the last of the kale has wilted, add the tomato sauce, chickpeas, lemon juice, and ½ cup water. Stir and let it come to a simmer.
  4. Nestle the feta slices into the sauce and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the feta has softened, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes and serve with warm pita and lemon wedges.
Note: the original recipe called for 3 cups tomato sauce, which I thought was too saucy, so I ended up using 2 in my final version.

*If you use ground cumin, I recommend starting with ½ teaspoon and adding it in step 3 with the tomato sauce because it'll burn quicker than whole cumin seeds.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Rachel

    Can I substitute tofu for the feta to make it vegan?

    • You could, it won’t have the same salty quality so I would season the whole dish a with a bit more salt and pepper than what’s written here. And I’d put 6 planks in the skillet to serve 3 people since tofu is lighter and less rich than feta. (so 2 tofu planks per person). I hope that helps!

  2. Susan

    When I read the ingredients my mine went immediately to the block of sheeps’ milk feta in my freezer… Fortunately my husband will eat lacinato kale (he hates the curly kind). I’ll definitely have to try making this.

  3. Ellana Bessen

    What else do you suggest to serve with this entree if you were having guest over?

  4. Jessica

    This sounds wonderful! Kale, chickpeas, and feta- all three things I love and keep stocked at home. The only thing I need to grab is some fresh cumin. Can’t wait try it out!

  5. Elizabeth

    Do you have any nutritional values on any of these recipes?

  6. Dar

    Substituting with white beans and spinach for dinner on Sunday.

  7. Gail Patterson

    Awesome recipes!!!!! Just what I have been looking for

  8. Salome Sova

    Love kale. I am going try the feta kale chickpeas. Sounds good and different.

  9. Abby

    Could I sub ground cumin for the cumin seeds? This looks so great, can’t wait to try it!

    • Scarlett

      Yes and how much ground cumin? I just bought some and want to try it!

      • I would try 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, but I’d stir it in with the tomatoes so it doesn’t burn to the pan while the kale cooks. Let me know if that helps!

        • Scarlett

          Thank you Jeanine!

      • Nancy

        Just made this tonight for book group. It was a hit! I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin but be careful it doesn’t burn. I also put in a 2 inch piece of kombu to take the gas out of the chickpeas while simmering. I removed the kombu after about 15 min. I only had crumbled organic low fat feta and sprinkled that on top of the dish and it was delish.

  10. Brian Donnelly

    I mixed spinach & kale,substituted fava beans (because I didn’t have garbanzos)& it came out great

  11. Cyleste

    How necessary is the lemon juice? I’m allergic to citrus. I’m hoping it’ll be okay to just leave it out. I’ve also had trouble digesting lot of chickpeas in the past so I thought I’d dilute them down a bit with some caramelized mushrooms and onions. Hopefully I’m on the right track here – am trying it later this week.

    • Hi Cyleste, you can leave out the lemon juice, it’ll be fine with out it. I think your idea of onions and mushrooms sounds delicious, let me know how it goes!

    • Cyleste

      We made this last night with several changes; partly because I have a lot of food issues, and partly just for fun.
      Let me begin by saying it was VERY GOOD!! We’re definitely going to do it again. Now in case anyone wants to know, here’s what we did…

      For starters, we didn’t use any lemon juice (allergy). Then I misunderstood the recipe and we used marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce. I’ll use tomato sauce next time. We started with some caramelized mushrooms and onions. Normally I can eat that stuff like candy, but I really don’t think it was necessary. The dish has so much natural umami on its own – it really didnt need it. We also used half kale and half spinach – it was perfect for me, though hubby wants more spinach next time because he doesn’t like kale. Finally we used 2/3 chickpeas and 1/3 white beans. I loved that addition so much!

      • Hi Cyleste, I’m so glad you had fun with the recipe! Sounds delicious!

  12. Ali

    This is so delicious! I didn’t have a lemon so I used balsamic vinegar, and I love tomato so I used 3 cups of the homemade sauce. My whole family (OK, not the 4-year-old) loved it! Thank you.

  13. BananaBirkLarsen

    This was really good! I’m a non-vegetarian (I am actually a butcher by profession) with a meat-and-potatoes-and-pizza boyfriend and we both just gobbled this up. All I had was a can of plain crushed tomatoes, so sauteed some onion and garlic before adding the kale, and I used little half-inch cubes of feta instead of feta steaks because that’s what I had in my fridge, but otherwise made the recipe as is. It’s really, really good. Hearty and tangy and inexpensive. Will add this to my dinner rotation for sure, especially if I keep getting lacinato kale in my veggie CSA. Even my chihuahua ate a few chickpeCD!

  14. MamaSarah

    One of your most inspiring posts, thank you! I made this tonight, using just 6 0z of cheese. My entire family loved it! The kids liked that they could choose to eat the dish as a sandwich or do “dippies”.

  15. Bipadtaran kumar

    Hi Jeanine Donofrio. i am a big lover of food specially this type of food. when i read this blog i loved it and it try friends of pho restaurant they told me thanks for giving this information. So any body can visit this website. thank you.

  16. Bipadtaran kumar

    Hi Jeanine Donofrio. i am a big lover of food specially this type of food. when i read this blog i loved it and i told it friends of pho restaurant they told me thanks for giving this information. So any body can visit this website. thank you.

  17. Heather

    Made this tonight and loved it! Wouldn’t change a thing, so delicious!

  18. Maggie

    So simple. So delicious. I made it with the 3 cups of sauce, because we like it saucy, and it was delicious!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.