Having a party, but have little time to prepare appetizers? Crostini is the savior of busy entertainers everywhere. Italian for “little toast”, crostini are simply slices of grilled or toasted baguette, which are served with a variety of savory toppings. They look beautiful and taste divine, but are a cinch to prepare. All you need is a fresh baguette and some imagination, and you’re on your way to whipping up a delicious appetizer that will have party-goers clamoring for seconds.
One of our favorite toppings for crostini is this classic Italian pairing of creamy cheese and crunchy walnuts. In this crostini recipe, we’ve used a mixture of part-skim ricotta and low-fat cream cheese, which are both lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than many other cheese options. Walnuts contain a hearty dose of fiber and protein, as well as healthy fats, and add a great crunch to this appealing appetizer. Add a sprig of mint or basil for a truly Italian and refreshingly herbal flavor.
And, of course, choose your baguette wisely. A whole wheat baguette will be richer in nutrients and fiber than a traditional baguette made with refined white flour, and it is the basis for the health content of this satisfying appetizer. Simply slice your baguette thinly and lay the pieces out on a baking pan, and toast in the oven for only a few minutes. After they’ve toasted and have a crunchy texture, top your crostini with your cheese and nuts, and let the compliments flow!
Yields: 18 crostini/6 servings | Serving Size: 3 slices crostini with toppings | Calories: 134 | Total Fat: 10 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 32 mg | Sodium: 153 mg | Carbohydrates: 4 g | Dietary Fiber: 2 g | Sugars: 1 g | Protein: 7 g | SmartPoints: 5
- 1 whole wheat baguette
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese or neufchatel cream cheese*
- 2 - 3 fresh basil or mint leaves + more for garnishing
- 1-1/2 tablespoons crushed walnuts + more for garnishing
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Blend the ricotta and cream cheese in a blender or food processor.
- In a small bowl, mix the cheese mixture ( or robiola), walnuts, 2 - 3 basil or mint leaves torn to little pieces, salt & pepper together.
- Slice the baguette to about 18 thin slices then place them on a baking tray. Toast them in the oven between 5 - 6 minutes. You can also toast them in a dry, large pan on the stovetop or in the toaster.
- Spread the cheese mixture then garnish with the remaining walnuts and basil or mint leaves.
- Serve immediately.
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