Sweet Pepper Toasts with Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese
Not planning on visiting with friends or family later? No date this evening? Fantastic!
You are the perfect candidate to make my sautéed Sweet Pepper Toasts with Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese tonight. These toasts make a delicious and, dare I say, beautiful snack or lunch. Plus, they’re vegetarian friendly.
However, I feel I should add a disclaimer regarding the roasted garlic cream cheese, because, well, there is an entire head of roasted garlic in the cream cheese, and I just feel that you should know that as soon as possible.
Now, while roasting the garlic does significantly reduce its potency, the roasted garlic flavor still comes through enough to create an incredibly bold and flavorful spread. So, just make sure whoever you’re dining with enjoys these toasts as well, or just eat them to your heart’s content when you have an evening to yourself. (Also, because I’m so thoughtful, I went ahead and linked to my favorite mouthwash of all time at the end of the post.)
I know I sound overly concerned with everyone’s breath right now, but I feel as a food blogger providing you with a garlic heavy recipe, my duties are to give you fair warning and perhaps provide a little remedy. 🙂
Now, let’s talk about these toasts! I’ve been obsessed with these sweet mini peppers that keep popping up in my grocery store. They’re so vibrant and cute that I’m fairly certain half the reason I buy them is because of how pretty they are. Plus, they’re sweet, mild, and delicious on top of this creamy, savory spread.
One of my favorite cooking challenges is discovering how to get the most flavor out of very few and/or very simple ingredients. Even though this toast uses just a handful of items, it definitely packs a flavorful punch. The most complicated part of the toast is making the roasted garlic cream cheese, and when I say complicated, I really just mean time consuming.
It takes an hour for those flavorful garlic nuggets to morph into super soft, golden, slightly sweet, aromatic parcels of heaven that then get mashed and mixed into the tangy, creamy cheese.
But really, the only “work” you have to do is carefully slice the head of garlic in half, drizzle the open halves with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, put the halves back together, and wrap it up tightly in some tin foil. (See Photos.)
Then, just let the garlic bake for an hour in your little toaster oven while you paint your nails, mow your lawn, or alphabetize your bookshelf.* (*Insert other random activities you can do in an hour.)
Not only is this spread great on toast, it would also be great on a sandwich, wonderful as a dip for vegetables, swirled into hot pasta (yum!), and so much more.
Once the cream cheese is prepared, you can get to work on the peppers which you simply slice and quickly sautée in a pan with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. It’s just enough acidity to add a little brightness and bring out the sweetness of the peppers. I topped the toasts with a few pieces of basil for some color and freshness and called it a day.
If garlic and savory flavors are your style, this toast is right up your alley. Just keep some mints or gum handy or try the mouthwash below if you decide to eat the whole tray. 🙂
- For the Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese:
- 1 Head of garlic (small to medium sized)
- 4 oz. whipped cream cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Sauteed Peppers:
- 1 Tbs. Olive oil
- 1 C. Mini sweet peppers, seeded and sliced
- ½ Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Loaf of bread like multi-grain or Italian, sliced and toasted
- Fresh Basil, to garnish
- For the Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese Spread: Pre-heat toaster oven (or oven) to 400 degrees F
- Carefully slice the head of garlic in half horizontally.
- Place onto a sheet of tin foil.
- Drizzle the two open halves with a little bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Place the two halves back together and wrap the head of garlic tightly in the tinfoil to seal it.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 1 hour until the garlic cloves are tender and golden.
- After roasting allow to cool.
- Place 4 oz. (half the container) of the whipped cream cheese in a bowl.
- Once the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, take a fork or knife and scoop out all of the tender cloves from the peels.
- Mix the garlic and cream cheese together and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- For the sauteed peppers: Add 1 Tbs. of olive oil to a saute pan and bring to medium-high heat.
- Toss in the sliced peppers and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add ½ Tbs. of balsamic vinegar to the pan and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Build your toasts taking your sliced and toasted bread (I used multi-grain bread) and top them with a generous spread of the roasted garlic cream cheese, some sauteed peppers, a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil, and just a pinch more salt and pepper.
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