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Holiday Pesto Cheese Log

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This cheesy appetizer is made for the holidays! The bright red from the sun-dried tomatoes and earthy green from the turnip greens pesto make it feel extra festive. Mini cheese logs make excellent gifts for hosts, friends, and family members. It’s a great make-ahead recipe that holds up well in the fridge for up to a week. It’s delicious served with crackers and nut or even scrambled into your eggs in the morning if there’s any leftover.

Recipe and photo by Rebecca Taylor of Souley Nourished

Yields 3 mini cheese logs

Ingredient

  • Three 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened 
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 oz sun dried tomatoes, julienned
  • ¼ c basil
  • 1 c turnip greens (or any leftover greens you have)
  • ½ – ¾  c grated parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ c + 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 lb thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 6 basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Make the pesto: chop turnip greens and basil, then add to a food processor with ⅓ of the chopped garlic, parmesan, and walnuts. Pulse a few times then slowly add in the oil until well combined. This pesto should be thick and crumbly, so add more cheese if the mix looks too wet. Set aside.
  3. Make the tomato mix: add ⅓ of the garlic with the sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tbsp of olive oil and pulse until finely chopped into small pieces. Set aside.
  4. Make the cream cheese: add the rest of the garlic and all of the cream cheese to a food processor and pulse until the texture is creamy.
  5. Line a mini loaf pan with plastic wrap, then completely cover the pan with a layer of provolone cheese. 
  6. Assemble the layers, starting with cream cheese as the base, enough to cover the bottom. Top with a generous spoonful of pesto and a healthy sprinkle of the tomato mix. Add another layer of provolone cheese, then repeat the layers. Finish with cream cheese and then place another layer of provolone on top to cover. 
  7. Carefully fold up the sides of the plastic wrap and press the cheese log gently to seal. Leave covered in the fridge preferably overnight but at least 12 hours.
  8. To serve, remove from the fridge 20 mins before serving so it softens. Flip out of the pan and remove plastic wrap. Run a knife around the edge of the bottom if there’s any extra provolone so it’s a perfect rectangle. Top your cheese log with 2 basil leaves.

Recipe Notes and Variations

  • Use what you have around to make the pesto! You can use carrot tops, broccoli stems, kale, beet greens – it’s a great way to be sustainable by cooking “root to leaf.” Store-bought pesto won’t work here, as the pesto needs to have a thicker texture so it doesn’t bleed out of the loaf.
  • When spreading the cream cheese layer, have a little bowl of water to dip your fingers into so you can get a nice clean finish. 
  • It’s important to get provolone cheese from the deli and to ask for it very thinly sliced. If it’s too thick, it will crack and not be pliable. This recipe calls for more cheese than you’ll need, just so you have enough to fully cover everything, so be sure to store your leftover cheese properly.

2 Comments

  • Avatar
    Jackie Linder
    March 2, 2021 at 6:20 am

    Haven’t tried this recipe but the picture looks good and the recipe sounds great. However, it says that the “yield” is 3 mini-cheese logs. Do I put it in a metal meatloaf pan, a Pyrex meatlof baking container — or do I have to buy 3 mini-loaf pans???? The recipe is not explicit except to say that there are more ingredients called for in the recipe than what is needed and that we should refrigerate the extra cheese, etc. The size of the pan or pans is not very precise. Help! (Also, how come the picture does not show when I print the recipe out? That also is annoying.)

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      Imperfect
      March 2, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      You’ll need to use all three cream cheeses to blend together to create the mixture for the one single cheese log! Any mini sized loaf pan will do because you can sculpt the holiday cheese log to fit your pan! 💚

      Reply

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