In my opinion, the best store-bought veggie cream cheese comes from the deli (not the dairy case), where the veggies are freshly added and the bright flavors prove it. This homemade riff takes a strong stance on fresh herbs and vegetables too, while dirtying just a single food processor bowl. The resulting cream cheese is onion-forward with a carrot-rich sweetness and just a touch of fresh dill. It'll make your morning tastier, turn a last-minute bowl of pasta into something to get excited about, and upgrade your afternoon snack of crackers with just a swipe.
Why You Should Make Vegetable Cream Cheese at Home
I have to admit that this recipe is totally self-serving, but maybe, like me, you're a parent trying your darnedest to get your kid to eat more vegetables without ruining chocolate cake for everybody. Veggie cream cheese is a quick, delicious way to get more vegetables on the breakfast table for kids and adults alike.
Ultimately, making your own flavored cream cheeses at home gives you complete control over the final taste. Don't like dill? Skip it in favor of your favorite herb. Have an onion-hater at home? Skip the green ones here. And if you're using the cream cheese as an opportunity for clearing out the crisper drawer, this recipe makes flavored cream cheese much more affordable.
Here's my veggie cream cheese promise to you: This version uses as few utensils as possible, because I've personally found that if I can buy a product, the homemade version has to be superior in taste and easy on the dishwashing.
For Your Information
- This recipe use eight ounces of cream cheese, but if you need a bigger batch, feel free to double that.
- This cream cheese keeps well for one week in the fridge. You can freeze it for future use, but it will be a little looser.
Key Steps to Vegetable Cream Cheese
- Chop the vegetables and herbs in the food processor. Following up on my promise to use as few tools as possible, you're going to use the food processor to chop — not grate — the vegetables. Try to cut them into big chunks and use a pulse to get the carrots into a fine chop before adding the cheese.
- Add olive oil for better spreadability. A single tablespoon of olive oil adds a little flavor, but also keeps the cream cheese spreadable even in the fridge. Add this along with the cream cheese to the chopped vegetables.
Storing and Using Veggie Cream Cheese
You can use the cream cheese right away or store it in the fridge for a week. Obviously you can smear this on bagels, but don't stop there. Veggie cream cheese is perfectly packable on whole-wheat bread as a lunch sandwich. Add a spoonful to warm pasta as a quick sauce, or smear it on tortillas for a wrap sandwich.
How To Make Veggie Cream Cheese
Makes 1 1/2 cups
What You Need
medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
medium scallion, cut into 4 pieces
small clove garlic, smashed
fresh dill sprig
medium red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
freshly ground black pepper
cream cheese, at room temperature
Pulse the carrots until finely chopped. Place the carrot in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 5 pulses.
Add the other vegetables and herbs and pulse to chop. Add the scallion, garlic, fronds from the dill sprig, bell pepper, salt, and pepper, and pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 7 pulses. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add cream cheese and olive oil and purée. Add the cream cheese and olive oil and pulse until the cheese and vegetables are completely incorporated, 7 to 10 pulses. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.