Whipped Cheese with Blistered Tomatoes
If you are looking for an easy appetizer to serve to a group that everyone will love, look no further than this Whipped Cheese with Blistered Tomatoes. The entire dish takes less than 20-minutes to make start to finish, can be prepared a day or two in advance and is absolutely bursting with flavour.
I have been making a version of this recipe for the past few months. The combination of creamy cheese and juicy tomatoes on crusty bread is ridiculously good. I first made this recipe during the summer as a way to use up my never ending supply of tomatoes from my garden, and a tub of labneh I had leftover in my fridge from my recent trip to our local iranian grocery store. Labneh is a cheese you will often find in middle eastern cuisine that has a deliciously creamy consistency. Labneh is made by straining the whey out of yogurt which results in a thick cheese like substance that has a similar texture to cream cheese. I made this dish with labneh a few times for friends who all raved about it and asked for the recipe, but unfortunately none of them knew was labneh was. So I set to work trying to create a creamy cheese like mixture that would have the similar flavour and texture to labneh using ingredients that you can find in any grocery store. While cream cheese is quite close, after many comparative taste tests I found it to be too thick and tart in flavour, but when blended with mascarpone, a slightly sweet thick cheese, the taste was perfect!
Why You Will Love This Whipped Cheese With Blistered Tomatoes
- The flavor! It’s creamy, sweet, juicy, tart, slightly spicy and just so tasty!
- If you are looking for an easy appetizer to serve a crowd, that travels well too, this is a definite winner. You can prep everything a day or two in advance and there it takes only minutes to put together right before serving.
- This entire delicious appetizer takes less than 15 minutes to make start to finish, it truly couldn’t be any easier.
- It’s absolutely gorgeous! The creamy white cheese make the perfect backdrop for the vibrant cherry tomatoes and chopped basil. Everyone always comments about how pretty this dish is.
What You Need To Make This Whipped Cheese With Blistered Tomatoes
This delicious whipped cheese with blistered tomatoes requires only a handful of ingredients:
- Cherry Tomatoes: One of the keys to really making this dip shine is choosing cherry tomatoes that are ripe and quite sweet in flavor. You can use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes and use all red, or a variety or red and yellow tomatoes.
- Cream Cheese: I like to use the block cream cheese for the dip and prefer the full fat kind. That being said feel free to use low fat cream cheese if you prefer.
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone cheese is a cheese from Italy which is made by combining heavy cream and citric acid. It is thicker in texture than cream cheese, and has a slightly sweeter (and less tart) flavour. Mascarpone can be found in the deli section of most grocery stores with feta, ricotta and bocconcini.
- Garlic: I’ve made this recipe quite a few different times for friends and family both with 2 cloves and 1 clove of garlic, the consensus is that 2 cloves gives it quite a strong garlicky kick which although delicious, may be too much for some (especially in close social situations) so I recommend starting by adding just 1 clove and only add one more if you are comfortable with a strong garlic taste.
- Lemon Zest: it adds a wonderful freshness to the dip without giving it more acidity like you would get from adding lemon juice (Fun fact: Lemon zest does not contain any acid)
- Honey: Truthfully I usually use truffle honey when making this recipe, but regular runny honey works just fine. If you have hot honey, you can use that and skip adding the chili flakes to the tomatoes to ensure it’s not too spicy.
- Fresh Basil: adds a really nice freshness to the dip. I recommend stirring the majority of the basil in with the tomatoes once you have removed them from the heat, but also save a few leaves for garnish at the end for a nice pop of color.
How To Make This Easy Appetizer
- To a sauce pan or small pot, add the olive oil on medium high heat, once hot add in the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and chili flakes and leave them to cook uncovered for 10 minutes. The tomatoes should begin to burst and soften. After 10 minutes of cooking, remove them from the heat and stir in the fresh basil.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, to a food processor add the mascarpone, cream cheese, garlic, lemon zest and salt and blend for approximately 4 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides down half way through. The cheese should be light and fluffy in consistency.
- Spoon the cheese into a low flat bowl or plate. Spoon the cooked tomatoes overtop and drizzle the whole plate with honey.
Can I Use A Different Type Of Cheese?
There a few variations of this recipe that you can do depending on the cheese that you have/can find in store. If you are able to find labneh, then you can make this whipped cheese with all labneh (1 1/3 cups). Alternatively if you are unable to find mascarpone than you can use all cream cheese, or half cream cheese and half ricotta.
What To Serve With This Whipped Cheese
I like to serve this delicious dip with warm crusty bread such as a baguette or sourdough loaf, but you can alternatively serve it with crackers (any type works such as gluten free, seeded or your favourite brand).
Can I Make This Whipped Cheese In Advance?
Absolutely! You can make the cheese mixture up to three days in advance and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. The tomatoes can also be cooked on the stove and then transferred to a container and stored in the fridge. Before serving bringing the cheese mixture out of the fridge 15 minutes in advance to soften slightly and then spoon it onto a plate or bowl. Microwave the tomatoes for 15-20 seconds until just warmed and then stir in the fresh basil. Spoon the tomatoes over the cheese and serve.
What About Leftovers?
Once fully assembled, any leftovers will last for up to 2 days in the fridge. I recommend bringing the dish out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving to all it to come up to room temperature, and sprinkling it with extra fresh basil.
Here are a few more easy appetizers that you might enjoy:
- Vegan “Goat Cheese” Tower with Pesto and Sundried Tomatoes
- Creamy Jalapeno Chicken Dip
- Creamy Chicken, Spinach & Artichoke Dip
- Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball
- Hot & Creamy Crab Dip
- 4-Ingredient Pea Dip
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Whipped Cheese with Blistered Tomatoes Recipe
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 12 oz ripe cherry tomatoes
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- ⅔ cup cream cheese
- ⅔ cup mascarpone
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- ⅓ cup chopped basil
- 1 tbsp honey
- In a small sauce pan add the oil on medium high heat. Once hot add in the cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and chili flakes and leave to cook for 8-10 minutes stirring every few minutes until the tomatoes have softened and are blistered. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped basil
- In a food processor add the cream cheese and mascarpone, salt, garlic and lemon zest and blend on high speed for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is light and fluffy in consistency.
- Spread the whipped cheese over the base of a plate or flat bowl. Spoon the roasted tomatoes over the cheese along with any oil from the pan.
- Drizzle the entire plate with honey and garnish with a few additional sprigs of basil before serving with crusty bread and a spoon.