Monday, April 27, 2009

Danica's Low Fat Healthy Pesto & Sun Dried Tomato Cream Cheese/Pesto Spread

Ok, since you all seemed to really like the Pesto Recipe, I thought I'd share my favorite version. This is the one I make all the time and use it for dips (Think Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Cream Cheese Spread (yes, it's healthy!). I love to put it on Pasta, Chicken and Fish as well. This one is lower in fat that the one I posted at lunch since it does not have nuts, but, nuts would be a nice addition.

I will have to take a picture the next time I make it.

Danica's Healthy Pesto

1) Blanch 1 – 2 cups of basil leaves. (To blanch - add to boiling water for 1-2 minutes and remove. Drain and run under cold water.) Set aside.

2) Add 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube to ¼ c hot water. Set aside.

3) Combine in the food processor (a blender will also work): blanched basil, 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add about 1-2 teaspoons of chicken broth – (Only use the amount of chicken broth needed to blend ingredients. You will not use the entire ¼ c.)

4) Blend the ingredients in the food processor until creamy and well blended.

5) Pour blended mixture into a bowl and stir in parmesan cheese to flavor (I like to use about ½ c or so – to absorb liquid.)

6) Drain excess liquid.

And since I am pretty sure you will ask, here is the recipe for the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Cream Cheese Spread. It is fabulous with crackers or bread and I make it almost every Christmas (due to the colors!).

Sun Dried Tomatoes

1 9 oz. Jar of Sun-Dried Tomato Spread made by California Sun Dry Foods (preferable as this spread is seasoned and provides additional flavor)

or –

Drain 1 small jar of marinated Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Run them through the food processor until it forms a thick paste.

Use the Pesto Recipe Above.

1 – 2 squares of low-fat or regular cream cheese. You can also use the large plastic container of cream cheese.

Spray a flexible plastic bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Start layering with either the Sun-Dried Tomato Spread or Pesto. Alternate with thick layers of cream cheese. You may need to soften the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds in order to get it to cooperate.

Refrigerate. If the spread will not pop out of the mold easily, then place it in the freezer for about a half-hour to an hour to set.

Did I mention this is the recipe I made that won the Annie's Recipe Contest Last Year? I actually created it in college but it has become such a hit with family & friends that I always make it.



  1. I'm so glad you posted this. I love pesto but normally avoid it because some versions aren't so waistline friendly - can't wait to try it!

  2. Jane ~ Let me know if you try it or the other version from last night. I thought I'd give you two to choose from - both are low cal and fat! I think it tastes so much better when you make it yourself too :) Maybe because of the work involved :)