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Creamy Pesto-Cheese Spread

Yield 18 servings (serving size: 1 tablespoon cheese spread, 2 baguette slices, and 2 teaspoons marinara sauce)
Prep: 17 minutes; other: 8 hoursTraditional pesto, which was created in Genoa, is a no-cook sauce made with puréed basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. We used a commercial pesto as a shortcut to create this layered spread. You can make this appetizer as little as one day or as much as one week in advance--the longer it refrigerates, the more flavorful it becomes. Try using sun-dried tomato pesto along with the basil pesto for a festive holiday appetizer.


  • 1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons commercial pesto, divided
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 36 (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut Italian or French bread baguette
  • 3/4 cup bottled or homemade marinara sauce

Nutrition Information

  • calories 79
  • fat 2.6 g
  • satfat 0.8 g
  • protein 3.8 g
  • carbohydrate 10.3 g
  • fiber 0.5 g
  • cholesterol 3 mg
  • iron 0.6 mg
  • sodium 316 mg
  • calcium 45 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

  2. Line a 10-ounce custard cup, small bowl, or 1-cup glass measuring cup with plastic wrap. Spread one-third of cheese mixture into bottom of prepared cup. Top with 1 tablespoon pesto, spreading to cover cream cheese mixture. Repeat procedure with one-third cheese mixture and remaining pesto; top with remaining cheese mixture. Tap cup gently against countertop to compact the layers. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours or overnight.

  3. Uncover and invert spread onto a serving plate; remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle sliced basil over top of spread. Serve with baguette slices and marinara sauce.

Oxmoor House Healthy Eating Collection