Spinach Pesto Cheese Ball

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 10 to 12 servings

This basil- and parmesan-infused party ball is simple and wonderful.

You can double or triple the recipe and store the extra cheese balls in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic until ready for use. They will keep a week in the refrigerator. Serve with crackers, flat bread, crudites or crostini.

Ingredients

1/2 cup pine nuts
Water
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 cup loose-packed fresh basil leaves, trimmed
4 ounces parmesan cheese, shredded (1 cup) plus 2 tablespoons, for garnish
2 ounces (1/2 cup) Italian shredded cheese blend
1 (8-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepepr
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Place pine nuts on a baking dish and toast in oven 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a plate and let cool.
  3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chopped spinach and basil leaves and cook 3 minutes until defrosted and tender or place in a microwave-safe dish, lightly cover with plastic wrap and cook on high 2 minutes until defrosted and tender.
  4. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Press to extract excess moisture.
  5. Place spinach, basil, 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded cheese blend, cream cheese, garlic and pepper in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or blender and process or blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  6. Combine 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, parsley and pine nuts on a plate. Moisten your hands with water and roll cheese mixture into a ball. Roll in nut mixture to coat.  

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