Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites
I had the best of intentions to scour thrift stores in an effort to score the cheesiest of all holiday sweaters, preferably one with pom poms and a faux-fur collar. While I’ve yet to begin my hunt, I have been busy dressing my food in red and green, including today’s Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites.
Other recent red-and-green recipes: Winter Salad with Kale and Pomegranate; Slow Cooker Cranberry White Spiced Wine; Garlic Feta Dip. I might not have an ugly sweater to show my spirit, but my food is ready for a holiday soiree.
I made these cutie little Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites using one of my favorite easy appetizer hacks: Athens Mini Fillo Shells. Flakey, fully-baked phyllo dough that’s shaped for popping right into your mouth, these mini shells are an ideal vehicle for all sorts of sweet and savory ingredients. Last month, I used them to make these Mini Fig Goat Cheese Bacon Bites, and today I’m giving them an Italian twist with a creamy sun dried tomato, pesto, and Parmesan filling.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites are easy to make but look and taste impressive, a combo I prize in any party appetizer, especially at the holidays. In addition to the mini phyllo shells, my second shortcut is good quality store-bought pesto (I highly recommend DeLallo brand, which tastes superbly fresh and is among my kitchen staples). It gives the bites gourmet flavor for no extra work beyond opening the jar. Simply whip the pesto together with light cream cheese, Greek yogurt (which makes the pesto bites healthier too), and Parmesan to create a vibrant, addictive filling that’s good enough to serve on its own as a dip.
To complete the red-and-green Christmas picture and elevate the pesto bites’ flavor, I topped them with my final easy appetizer sneak ingredient, diced sun dried tomatoes. Bursting with tangy, sweet flavor, these red gems bring the bites to life and are a natural complement to the pesto and Parmesan.
I road tested these Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites at Ben’s family’s Thanksgiving. Every single person who tried them oohed and ahhed at the combination of flavors, and some even thought that I’d made my own phyllo dough. Keep my secret, won’t you?
Now that I have my red-and-green eats courtesy of these simple, lively Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites, all I need is the attire to match. If you’re in the market to sell a bedazzled Christmas tree, snowman, or similarly festooned piece of attire, I know an interested buyer.
Tools I used to make this recipe:
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Bites
- 2 boxes Athens Mini Fillo Shells, — 30 total
- 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup prepared pesto — I recommend DeLallo
- 1/2 cup diced olive-oil packed sun dried tomatoes — patted dry
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh basil — or parsley, for garnish
- Remove the Athens Mini Fillo Shells from their box and place on counter, keeping the shells in their protective tray until ready to use. (OPTIONAL: For extra crispy shells, arrange the shells in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.)
- In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and Greek yogurt until smooth. Beat in the pesto until evenly combined, then on low speed, add 2/3 of the sundried tomatoes and Parmesan and beat just until blended.
- Pipe or dollop the pesto filling into each phyllo shell, then transfer to a serving plate. Top with the remaining sundried tomatoes and chopped parsley or basil. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to four hours.
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