A cream cheese sandwich spread is ideal for adding creamy flavor and “glueing” a sandwich roll-up into place.
I had a great veggie sandwich the other day held together with a cream cheese filling flavored with pesto and artichoke hearts. The sandwich was loaded with diced fresh tomatoes and spinach and that’s all it needed. The cream cheese added a creaminess that kind of corralled all the stray vegetables together.
It was a nice reminder of the versatility and convenience of keeping a block of cream cheese in the refrigerator. You can flavor it with just about anything, which is excellent motivation for using up those almost-empty condiment jars, bits of cheeses, nuts and any stray produce in the refrigerator. It’s easiest to use a food processor, but you can stir up a spread by hand if all the ingredients are chopped up. I go the easy route and just toss the block in the food processor, start adding and start whizzing. The last one I made for a batch of veggie roll-ups filled with thinly sliced cucumber, lettuces, green onion slices and chopped tomatos, combined a couple of kinds of olives, a roasted red bell pepper or two, a handful of herbs from the garden, a few toasted walnuts, a garlic clove and some black pepper. It worked out great. I went all vegetable, but there’s nothing stopping you from smearing this on a burger or on a sliced ham or turkey sandwich.
Another time-tested luncheon favorite that deserves a comeback is the combination of crisp green bell pepper, drained crushed pineapple, shredded cheddar cheese and toasted pecans blended with cream cheese. It’s a wonderfully sweet and savory spread. Of course, you can also use any cream cheese creation as an appetizer surrounded by crudite and crackers. See my quick refrigerator list below and add to it. Pick and choose and see what you come up with. My only advice is to keep it simple. Too many wet ingredients will make the spread too soft.
Throw it all in a food processor and let her rip! Creamy Cream Cheese Sandwich Spread or appetizer cheese spread, if you prefer.
- 8 ounces (one block) cream cheese
- Plus a few clean-out-the-fridge add-ins:
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, almonds, pecans or pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 1/2 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts or marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/3 cup chopped olives--fancy cured olives or regular black or pimiento stuffed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh bell pepper
- 1/3 cup grated carrot
- 1/3 cup grated radish
- 1/2 cup grated fresh cucumber, well drained
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/3 cup well drained crushed pineapple
- 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- Small handful of fresh herbs like parsley, chives, oregano, thyme
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Spoonful of prepared horseradish
- Black pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta or sharp cheddar cheese
- Spoonfuls of pickled mixes like chow chow or Jezabel or prepared salsa
- Chopped fresh jalapeno, to taste
Combine the block of cream cheese with any of the other add-in ingredients in a food processor. Whizz until all the ingredients are well chopped. One block of cream cheese plus some add-tos is enough for at least 6 sandwiches.