Thursday, October 27, 2011

Olive and Pimento Cream Cheese Alternative

I really miss cream cheese. I have cravings for it all the time. When I lived in Pittsburgh, PA, one of my favorite places to go for breakfast was Bruegger's Bagels, where they had a delicious selection of cream cheese to choose from, including strawberry, pumpkin, and, my all time favorite, olive and pimento.

I used to make my own flavored cream cheese when we first came out to California and had great success with pumpkin, blueberry, and olive pimento, but when dairy started bothering me I stopped. I've tried to come up with cream cheese alternatives, first by using creamy goat cheese instead. I mixed it with raspberry preserves to make raspberry cream cheese, and it was a great option, until goat cheese started bothering me as well. I thought about trying Toffuti cream cheese alternative, but I could never bring myself to buy it--it's made with hydrogenated oils and therefore contains trans fat. Why put that stuff into my body?

Then, when I was a Trader Joe's the other day, I found a container of cream cheese alternative called "This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese This is a Tub of Non-Dairy Spread." Yeah, that is literally what it's called. It is made out of coconut oil, sunflower oil, soy protein, and lots of thickeners. It is cholesterol free and also free of hydrogenated oils. The only problem with it is that it tastes nothing like cream cheese. It just looks and spreads like cream cheese. So I went to work to try to make it edible. I figured that adding strong flavor to it would really make a difference, so I mixed in some green olives and the spread became really something to be happy about. I devoured the two halves of my mini bagel with olive pimento spread and needed more. So I made another one. And another. It's almost like eating cream cheese again! Definitely worth a try. I would love to try pumpkin next.

1 container This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese This is a Tub of Non-Dairy Spread
1/2 cup Manzanilla olives stuffed with minced pimentos.
1 teaspoon Manzanilla olive juice

1. Dice the green olives with pimentos still inside.

2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the diced olives with the cream cheese alternative and the olive juice. You can easily add more olives if you want. The more olives added the more it tastes like green olives and the less it tastes of the spread.

3. Spread it on your favorite toasted bagel and watch it disappear before your eyes!