Creamy Pesto-Cheese Spread

Prep: 17 minutes; other: 8 hours

Traditional 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.


18 servings (serving size: 1 tablespoon cheese spread, 2 baguette slices, and 2 teaspoons marinara sauce)

Recipe from

Oxmoor House

Nutritional 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


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


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.

Elizabeth Taliferro,

Oxmoor House Healthy Eating Collection,

Oxmoor House

June 2006
My Notes

Only you will be able to view, print, and edit this note.

Add Note