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I’ve got loads of basil in my garden, and even more comes home every week from my farm share. When I don’t have a specific recipe in mind that calls for basil, I make a big batch of pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray. That way, when I want to pull out a small portion to add to a soup or defrost for pasta, I can get just the right amount.
Another way I’ve recently been using pesto is this pesto cream cheese spread. I should actually call it “yogurt cheese” because it comes from homemade yogurt that I’ve strained into a cream cheese consistency. But who’s ever heard of yogurt cheese? Cream cheese works just as well if you want to take a shortcut. (Although if you have a cooler and a kitchen timer, you really should try making your own yogurt. It’s so easy!)
For the Pesto
- 3 cups basil loosely packed
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese optional
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Pesto Cream Cheese Spread
- 4 tbs cream cheese (or yogurt reduced to the consistency of cream cheese)
- 2 tbs pesto mixture
- Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food process and mix until well combined.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of pesto with 4 tablespoons of cream cheese. (You'll have leftover pesto for another time.)
- Spread on crackers or bread, or toss with warm pasta.
Pesto Cream Cheese Spread Price Breakdown
The batch of pesto costs $3.36 to make, or $.42 per tablespoon. The pesto cream cheese spread costs $.96. It’s enough to generously cover four pieces of bread, so it comes out to $.24 per serving. This is a great, nutritious alternative to store-bought spreads, which tend to be full of preservatives. You won’t need any preservatives if you make this spread – it will be gone in no time!