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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recipe for Nutty Cheese Ball

If you need to put a quick snack or appetizer together and you want it to be on the healthy side of things, look no further.  Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Cheese-Nut Balls (Mark Bittman, The Food Matters Cookbook, Simon and Schuster, 2010, p 57.), this is more nut than cheese, but has enough cheese to keep things interesting. (On line recipe here if you don't own the cookbook)

Makes 32 TBSP, each approximately 62 calories, 5 grams fat, 2 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber and 2.5 grams protein; 2 WW Points+

2 cups roasted, salted almonds
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp paprika
Pinch each of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces crumbled extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 thin slices of prosciutto, chopped and pan fried until crispy
Chopped fresh basil
½ cup water
Slivered almonds for decoration (optional)

Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. 

Add lemon juice, paprika, cheeses, prosciutto, salt and pepper and water. 

Process until well blended and creamy.

Shape into a flat disk and sprinkle the chopped basil all over, pressing in lightly.  Top with a few slivered almonds.

Wrap up in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.  Serve with cucumber rounds, whole grain baguette, or crackers.

A nice switch up from a "normal" cheese ball with lots of cheese and a bit of nuts, to a nice mouthful of cheesy flavored nut spread!  Mark Bittman made his with blue cheese instead of the cheddar.  I think you could use any cheese with a high flavor value.  Other additions instead of the prosciutto or in addition to would be dried cranberries, chopped roasted red peppers or pimientos, or olives…anything your heart desires!

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