Lemony Basil Almond Feta

Marinated Almond Feta // The Pancake Princess

If you are a person of normal humility levels, I would argue that there is no greater way to be humbled than to go to business school. Or anywhere, really, where you’re surrounded with really smart people every day. But add pretty strong social skills, really intense motivation and a huge collection of accomplishments on top of that really smart population surrounding you daily, and it’s a pretty good recipe for a pummeling to the self-esteem.

The other day, after a particularly grueling day fueled by little sleep and yet another day of failing to participate in class (my own personal struggle), I went home, had a quiet little mini crisis, and then watched a string of Ted Talks all in a row. I happen to think Ted Talks are some of the greatest things around—the best of the wisdom from REALLY smart people, FREE. Even the ones verging on cheesy never fail to inspire me or at least lift me out of the dumps, so I wanted to share some favorites from the ones I watched:

And bonus: this TED talk is from one of my favorite bloggers, though she’s really more of a writer, like a real one. I’m betting you’ll love it.

Marinated Almond Feta // The Pancake PrincessMarinated Vegan Feta // The Pancake Princess

Marinated Almond Feta // The Pancake Princess

Now that your self-esteem is sufficiently boosted (I hope), about this feta: it’s inspired (aka ripped off from) Ottolenghi’s marinated buffalo mozzarella and tomato in Plenty. Except that it uses leftover almond feta from this recipe—so it’s crumblier than mozzarella, but just as delicious. It’s zingy with lemon, herby and fresh with basil with surprising highlights of oregano and fennel, which I happened to have on hand (but you can omit, if needed). If you can find any super-late last summer tomatoes, they are amazing on toast with this feta! Or with my new favorite crackers. Or it could be amazing on pizza with some roasted winter squash, caramelized onions and the like…

Marinated Almond Feta // The Pancake Princess Marinated Almond Feta // The Pancake Princess

Lemony Basil Almond Feta


  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • ¼ cup packed basil leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste if needed
  • black pepper

  • about 1/2 recipe almond feta


Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat until they begin to pop and brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle (alternatively: you can use a plastic bag and a rolling pin or heavy object) and crush roughly. Stir together the crushed seeds and rest of the marinade in a bowl.

Place the almond feta in another bowl and drizzle the marinade on top. Let sit for 10-30 minutes before eating.


Adapted from Ottolenghi's marinated buffalo mozzarella and tomato.


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26 thoughts on “Lemony Basil Almond Feta

  1. Pingback: Tahini Kale Chips | The Pancake Princess

  2. Nora

    YES. To everything you said about business school (just know that it does get better, and you will have off days, and everyone else does too), to Ted Talks, especially Andie’s, and to THIS CHEESE.

  3. Nik@ABrownTable

    I’m an Ottolenghi fan club member too, this looks delicious! Don’t worry about grad school too much, I went through that crazy phase where I felt like an idiot but you learn to deal with the know-it-alls and also meet and make some wonderful friends. I need to watch the TedTalks more often, the links you shared today are so inspirational.

  4. Veronika

    So glad you liked Drew’s talk! He is an alum of my university and I had the pleasure of hearing him live and working with him a few times – he is just as inspiring in person!!!

    Good luck with school, I completely understand about participating in class (it makes me so scared!!).

    1. erika Post author

      Oh wow what a coincidence!!! That is so cool!! Thanks for your kind words, Veronika! Ugh, best of luck to you, participating-in-class-wise…it is seriously my Achilles’ heel when it comes to school!

  5. cynthia

    Oh man, I am so with you on everything you wrote in this post, Erika. (By the way, I was going to say something about impostor syndrome just now, but then I read the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome and according to them, it doesn’t quite mean what I’ve always used it as! ) I love that you turned to these TED talks — and this gorgeous feta!!!! Suffice it to say, I KNOW you are a BAMF and you are killing it in b-school. So much admiration for you, lady :)

  6. Natasha @ The Cake Merchant

    School can definitely be a self-esteem buster, but kudos to you for going to business school! And thank you for pointing out some good TED talks. Also, yes please to almond feta. I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan (or maybe trying it for a month) but I’m scared with the holidays coming up. Have you been eating mostly vegan lately?

  7. Sophie

    oh man, we LOVE those crackers, too! Love that you threw up some Ottolenghi! I would love to try this feta treatment. I’m sorry that your self-esteem took a hit because I think you are a super amazing gal!! You are smart and talented for realz, keep your chin up. xo

  8. susan @ the wimpy vegetarian

    I’m on this! But will use regular feta due to my nut(ty) allergies. And love all things Ottolenghi. TED talks are fantastic. They were all the rage when I was working. I was in business for many years – corporate and field. I feel for you on what you’re going through in B-school life right now. Hang in there. I’ve found that high energy drivers who participate up the ying-yang sometime burn out – their pace isn’t sustainable. In business, listening skills are often just as important as talking. I think of it as a different way of participating. I’m willing to bet when you say something, it’s thought through. Creative types, like I think of you, often are thinkers. They frequently have the ability to see new angles for solving problems, or see new opportunities when drivers are so busy executing, they don’t see it. Both are valuable players, and business needs both. Give yourself time – you’ll find your voice too. I can’t know exactly what you’re going through, but your post reminded me of situations I’ve been in over the years. Just my 2¢ ☺

  9. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    I love Ted Talks too. In fact, I think that you’ve referred me to a few pretty awesome ones, which I totally appreciate. I’ll be sure to check out some of these over the weekend. I definitely need the inspiration – in my line of work, there are ALWAYS a thousand other lawyers who are way smarter, confident, skilled, competent than me. I watch them and think, I will never be as good as you. It sucks. But like all the other commenters here say, we judge ourselves too harshly, we are all individuals and we all have strengths. You’re hilarious, smart and a way better cook than I will ever be. Look at how inventive and delicious this dish is! I hope you have a great weekend, lady!

  10. shelley @ Bacon Egg & Cheese{cake}

    Eek I totally feel you… I have trouble participating in class too. I try my best to say one thing per class now, but it’s definitely a struggle most days.
    LOVE ottolenghi, so it’s pretty guaranteed that I’m going to love this! Bet it would be amazing in a salad.

  11. Kathryn

    Oh, I absolutely now how you feel. I work in a competitive environment filled with great + intelligent people which is good but it’s also, as you say, totally humbling. Thank you for sharing those talks, especially the one on leadership which really resonates with me right now. Also, marinated feta? best thing ever.

  12. Pang @circahappy

    I understand how you feel completely; I felt the same way when I was a music major student. Though (I promise) you will realise later on that you are not alone, and you are not THAT bad. Huge hugs to you, Erika.

    Btw, I am so glad you still make time to blog; I will really miss you otherwise :)

  13. laurasmess

    Amazing amazing amazing! I love anything Ottolenghi and I have spied this gorgeous marinated cheese recipe on a number of occasions. Love your adaptation with the almond feta. Yum. As for being humbled, ah… I know how you feel. When I started at university (at law school, of all things) I went from being the smartest kid in my high school class to feeling… stupid. Absolutely stupid. It’s incredibly grounding to enrol yourself in a class full of smart people. It’s both inspiring in terms of learning but also, well, frustrating when some of the smart ones turn out to be arrogant ***holes. Anyway, I am glad that you found the TED talks useful, I’ve never heard of them but I do think that I need to do a bit of research myself! Thanks for sharing the wonderful links. I think I need to make a batch of this deliciousness, sit myself down and click through some of them xxx

  14. The Vegan 8

    Gosh Erika, this looks so delicious and simple too! Love all the spices and herbs going on here!
    Don’t be too hard on yourself…I think you are pretty amazing and I’m super impressed with your skills and the fact that you are going to business school. I know it’s so easier said than done, that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but it’s so true. It’s a constant battle for me, but I try to continually remind myself that what I do is my own way, my own special me and nobody should be just like another individual. That’d be boring. We are all unique and special and have something amazing to offer


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