Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recipe for Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Holiday Appetizer with Baked Whole Wheat Pita Chips

How about a meatless holiday appetizer for Meatless Monday?

I'm not sure if people will consider this Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Holiday Appetizer to be a proper Meatless Monday post, but things are about to get hectic around here and I wanted to be sure to get it posted during the holidays.  Someone suggested this idea in a comment on Trina's Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno, and then I saw a slightly different version of it at  The cranberry salsa recipe has gotten nothing but raves, and if you're looking for a fun holiday appetizer that's meatless and relatively South Beach Diet friendly, I highly recommend this recipe.  I ate it with baked pita chips that I made with Joseph's Reduced Carb Lavash, but you could also serve it with whole wheat crackers, celery sticks, jicama slices, or even tortilla chips.

I also wanted to share the information that you can freeze the salsa!  My friend Bonnie tried it first, and then I froze some that I made the day before Thanksgiving and it thawed with beautiful results.  Knowing it freezes well is just one more thing to love about Trina's Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno.

(If you're following Meatless Monday, you can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web.)

I cut the Joseph's Reduced Carb Lavash into triangles while I preheated the oven to 400F/200C.   (You could also do this with whole wheat tortillas.)

Spray the baking sheet with olive oil and spread the triangles out on the sheet in a single layer.

Spray a small baking dish and place an 8-ounce cube of low-fat cream cheese.  (I tested the recipe with only 4 ounces, just for portion control!)

Start the chips take about 4-5 minutes to start to get crisp, but check them often or you'll end up with a few overly-browned ones like I did.  (If you're not making chips you can also just soften the cream cheese in a microwave.)

I left the cream cheese in for about 10 minutes, just until it was starting to look melted.

Then spoon a generous amount of Trina's Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno over the softened cream cheese and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, celery, or jicama slices.

Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Holiday Appetizer with Baked Whole Wheat Pita Chips
(This will go quickly so you might want to double the recipe; Kalyn's version is adopted from ideas from several sources.)

Joseph's Reduced Carb Lavash or whole wheat or low carb tortilla chips, cut into triangles
8 oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese
olive oil (for spraying baking sheet and dish)
Trina's Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno
(You can also serve the dip with celery sticks or jicama slices)

Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  Spray baking sheet and crockery baking dish with olive oil.   Cut the lavash or tortilla chips into triangle shapes and arrange in a single layer on the sprayed baking sheet.  (You may need two baking sheets.)  Place unwrapped block of cream cheese in the baking dish.

Place the baking sheets and cream cheese into the oven and cook just until the chips are firm and slightly browned and the cream cheese is starting to soften.  This will take 4-5 minutes for the tortilla chips and about 10 minutes for the cream cheese, but watch carefully as the chips can get too browned pretty quickly.  (If you're not making the chips, you can also put the block of cream cheese into a microwave to soften on high for 3-4 minutes.)

To serve, spoon a generous amount of Trina's Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno over the softened cream cheese and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, celery sticks, or jicama slices to scoop up the dip.

South Beach Suggestions:
To make this suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet, make the salsa with Splenda or Stevia in the Raw sweetener, and use celery, jicama for dippers or whole wheat pita or tortillas to make the chips.

More Ideas for Diet-Friendly Holiday Appetizers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Five Favorite Appetizers for Holiday Parties from Kalyn's Kitchen
Stuffed Mushrooms with Feta and Kalamata Olives from Kalyn's Kitchen
Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites from Kalyn's Kitchen
Hummus and Cucumber Appetizer Bites with Sesame Seeds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Carrot Pate from Diet Dessert and Dogs
Tamari Almonds from Andrea Meyers
Smoked Paprika Almonds from Elana's Pantry
Roasted Shrimp Appetizer with Spicy Peanut Sauce from The Perfect Pantry
Goat Cheese with Cumin and Mint from Cook4Seasons 
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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  1. Well, I think I could easily make a meal out of this! Hope you're enjoying your holiday preparations, Kalyn!

  2. Thanks TW! And I did pretty much make a lunch of it on the day I took those photos. I am working hard so I can start to relax!

  3. I never did make a batch of this salsa at Thanksgiving, but I have cranberries in the freezer all ready to go. I love how easy this is, and I really love using the Joseph's low-carb lavash, which is a staple in my pantry. Thanks for including my roasted shrimp appetizer, too.

  4. Lydia, my pleasure. And I know you are not a cilantro fan so I would try it with a smaller amount of parsley!

  5. I think it's definitely an awesome meatless monday post! So many appetizers have meat in them somewhere so it's great to have one that doesn't!

    And one with my favorite winter/fall fruit :P

  6. Thanks Joanne. It did make a nice meatless lunch for me!

  7. I made something similar at Thanksgiving and it was a hit with everyone!!

  8. This looks good enough to bring to a holiday party, and it's so festive! I love how you made your own homemade, healthier pita chips. That's a great way to lighten up this season.

  9. Your recipes are so flavorful and GORGEOUS. This one is so incredibly bright for the holidays. Have a most wonderful Christmas!

    Cheers! - Donna

  10. Thanks everyone! I am eating this right now with SOFTENED GOAT CHEESE and it's amazing that way too.

  11. It's sad that we only eat cranberries during the holiday. This recipe is a perfect excuse to eat them more often. Hope you are doing well! Merry Christmas to you!!

  12. MMMMMM.... love all the flavor combinations!


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