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A cream cheese spread for veggie lovers that’s chock full of crunchy fresh vegetables. Heaven on whole wheat crackers–or anything!
Lately I’ve been loving flavored cream cheese–on crackers, bagels and my first love, bialys.
I was first introduced to these wonderful concoctions as a 20-something living in NYC. They caught my eye at my local Walbaum’s in the deli department. I was never much on “deli” back then and probably was at that counter because a friend asked me to pick up deli-sliced ham or something. Taking a chance, I bought 1/4 pound of the scallion variety. I spread it on a bialy and I was sold.
While I still enjoy scallion cream cheese, and often make it, the one I like best is one loaded with all different raw and crunchy veggies. Carrots, bell peppers and onion/green onion are your basic “musts” in this, but I also like to add raw broccoli, a bit of hot pepper for a little kick and if I have them, shredded raw brussels sprouts.
With all these good foods in this spread, it’s got to come close to “healthy” and if you use Neufchatel cheese (which has been around forever but now masquerades as “low-fat cream cheese” even though Neufchatel isn’t reduced-fat cream cheese but a variety of cheese in itself) which is naturally lower in fat, you’ve got yourself a pretty decent thing to snack on! Put some on whole wheat crackers and the taste is even better! I won’t recommend fat-free cream cheese because I actually hate the stuff–it tastes weird and has an even weirder texture.
You need your cream cheese good and soft to prepare this. Rather than set it out on the counter for a few hours, I find microwaving it directly from the fridge for 30 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl is the best way to achieve the proper consistency. The consistency should be almost like you could spread it as frosting on a cake. This spread tastes great slightly warm when just made, but unless you are going to use it within 15 minutes or so, refrigerate it for safety’s sake.
Let your favorite raw veggies be your guide when you make this. This is my favorite combination and I’m sure it’d be fantastic with your personal blend too!
Veggie Lover's Cream Cheese Spread
- 8 oz softened cream cheese see NOTES
- 1 tbsp finely diced jalapeño pepper optional
- 3 tbsp finely diced green bell pepper
- 3 tbsp finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 green onion chopped finely
- 3 tbsp finely diced carrot
- 3 tbsp finely diced broccoli stem and flower
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of sugar
- pinch of ground white pepper
- Mix all ingredients well.
- Refrigerate until ready for use.
- Makes 1 cup approximately