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Trader Joe's Lentil Bruschetta Feta Dip is a quick and easy throw-together idea that is great for cookouts, game nights, parties, or even a light lunch! The original version uses just three Trader Joe's products (lentils, bruschetta sauce, and feta cheese), but this one breaks things down just a bit more to take advantage of garden fresh summer tomatoes when they are in season.
When summer hits and our tomato plants start getting loaded with gorgeous juicy tomatoes, we turn to all our favorite tomato recipes to make sure none of them go to waste! Some of our best and most popular ones are Easy Southern Tomato Pie, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Four Cheese Pizza with Tomato Basil Arugula Salad.
An easy, no-bake dip for summer
Our neighbor stopped me the other day to ask what I did to get her kids to eat this dip. She said that her son refuses to eat basically every ingredient involved, from tomatoes to the lentils, feta, and anything at all green like basil or the cucumbers I served it with. But he and his sister came home raving about this dip I had made and given them for an afternoon snack.
I had taken it out to the driveway right after taking these photos and hollered for my girls and their friends to come just try it. Between the five of them they pretty much demolished the entire bowl, one and a half english cucumbers, and two baguettes.
I mean, obviously they had been playing hard and were hungry, but I still think it's a testament to how absolutely delicious this dip is that even kids with a reputation for being picky and turning up their nose and certain foods will still devour it and extoll its virtues to their bewildered parents.
My friend Ginny introduced us to this dip when we were at her house visiting. She said that she got it from a friend at a game night, and apparently we have been living under a rock because a little internet sleuthing shows that this recipe seems to have originally come from Trader Joe's YEARS ago as a way to use their fabulous steamed lentils.
It's not the prettiest thing you'll ever eat, although holding a handful of the chopped tomatoes, sliced basil ribbons, and feta cheese in reserve to sprinkle over the top does a pretty good job of improving its appearance and making it much more appetizing to look at. They say we eat first with our eyes anyway, right?
The part of the easy, dumbed down version that I decided to forego was the bruschetta dip. It's just tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and some spices anyway, and that's easy enough to replicate at home. Plus, as good as the Trader Joe's bruschetta is, nothing beats fresh and homemade.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Lentils: I love lentils, but I usually don't feel like cooking them myself so the Trader Joe's steamed lentils are my go-to since that part is done for me. If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, Melissa's Produce also makes steamed lentils that you can order online or find at your local grocery store.
- Tomatoes: I used roma and campari tomatoes. Both have lower water content than other tomatoes and a good texture for this dip. But really any tomatoes from your garden will work, including heirlooms.
- Feta cheese: This salty, crumbly cheese gives classic mediterranean flavor to the dip.
- Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is one of my favorite ingredients. You can mince it or use a garlic press, but I highly recommend fresh cloves over the jars of pre-minced garlic you can buy at the store.
- Basil: Have you ever grown your own basil plant? It's so wonderful having fresh herbs on hand any time you need them! But you can use dried basil if you don't have fresh basil leaves on hand.
- Salt & pepper: These two help balance out all of the other flavors so you don't end up with bland dip.
- Olive oil: Just a little good quality extra virgin olive oil adds richness and flavor to this dip.
- Italian seasoning & oregano: Italian seasoning is a blend of oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. It's a staple in my pantry, but if you don't have it on hand you can get away with just the oregano.
- Balsamic vinegar: We love balsamic vinegar drizzled over our bruschetta, so it only makes sense to add its unique flavor to this dip. It reminds us of the bruschetta we ate while hiking through the five towns of Cinque Terra in Italy.
How to Make Lentil Bruschetta Dip
- Make the bruschetta: Mince the garlic, dice the tomatoes, and thinly slice the basil leaves, then toss these together in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings.
- Mix everything together: Add the lentils and feta, then mix everything together to combine. You can eat it immediately, or let it sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors all meld together a bit.
Pro Tip: This isn't the most beautiful dip when you first mix it up, even though it tastes amazing. I like to transfer it to a serving bowl and sprinkle a few reserved chopped tomatoes, basil, and feta on top for color.
What to serve with this dip
We love serving this with slices of fresh, crusty baguette and sliced cucumber. But you could also use crackers or tortilla chips that are sturdy enough to hold big scoops of dip.
But you could also top salad greens to make a light lunch. Or even top pan-seared or grilled chicken or fish with this for a healthy, easy dinner.
Make-ahead and Storage Instructions
If you want to make this in advance to take to a cookout or party, you can combine all of the ingredients up to a day in advance. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container. I don't recommend making it much farther ahead than that though because the flavors aren't as good and it starts to get a little watery by day 2 or 3. It's still totally edible, just not quite as nice as on the day it's made.
More Great Dip Recipes
- Maryland Hot Crab Dip
- Easy Refried Bean Dip
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn Dip
- Philly Cheesesteak Dip
- Jalapeno Popper Dip with Bacon
- Easy Greek 7 Layer Dip
- Healthier Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe
- 7 Layer Dip
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Trader Joe's Lentil Bruschetta Feta Dip
- 1 lb. package steamed lentils
- 4-5 diced roma tomatoes
- 12 large fresh basil leaves sliced into thin strips
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar optional
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups crumbled feta
- sliced baguette
- sliced cucumbers
- flat pretzels or tortilla chips
- Set aside a small handful of the diced tomatoes, a few of the basil leaf strips, and a tablespoon or two of the feta cheese.
- Chop the tomatoes and mince the garlic. Slice the basil leaves into thin strips by stacking the leaves and rolling them like a cigar. Then use a sharp knife to slice them, known as a "chiffonade".
- Combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, oregano, and black pepper in a bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add the lentils and feta, then stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the reserved tomatoes, basil, and feta.
- Serve with sliced baguette, crackers, sliced cucumbers, flat pretzels, or tortilla chips.
- Lentils: Trader Joe's and Melissa's Produce both make steamed lentils that work great, but you can buy 8 ounces of uncooked lentils and steam them yourself if you prefer.
- Easy version: If you want to skip making your own bruschetta, you can just use a container of Trader Joe's bruschetta along with the lentils and feta for a 3-ingredient version.
- Basil: If your leaves are small, you may need more like 20 leaves.