Eating for Life | Guilt-Free Pimento Cheese

Eating for Life | Guilt-free Pimento Cheese is a song-worthy spread

Here’s a healthy twist on the sandwich that gets country artist Keith Urban in the singing mood.

Updated: 2012-12-05T01:11:06Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

The Kansas City Star

Who knew there was a hit song in every pimento cheese sandwich?

At least that’s the word at TasteOfCountry.com. Keith Urban’s co-songwriter Monty Powell reveals a fried pimento cheese sandwich is just what the Grammy-Award winning singer needs to get past his mid-morning slump.

Although a fine snack to get the creative juices flowing, it’s not necessarily kind to the waistline. The Southern classic is a mash up of mayo and cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses. Even when it’s spread on celery sticks, it’s hardly diet food.

But The Star’s Guilt-Free Pimento Cheese Spread makes some strategic substitutions, including protein-rich Greek yogurt and light whipped cream cheese in place of the mayo and a much smaller amount of reduced-fat shredded cheese.

•  Serving suggestions: Mound in cherry tomatoes or serve as a dip for crudite at a holiday party. For a school lunch or after-school snack, spread on whole-wheat crackers or on whole-grain bread.

Guilt-Free Pimento Cheese

Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup low-fat whipped cream cheese

1 cup shredded 2-percent reduced fat cheddar-jack cheese

1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained well

1 teaspoon grated onion

Dash of garlic powder

Pinches of salt and pepper to taste

Cherry tomatoes

In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, cheddar-jack cheese, Greek yogurt, pimentos, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper until well blended.

Cut a thin slice off the top of each cherry tomato. Use a serrated knife to cut around the inside edges of tomato and hollow out to form a small cup.

Fill and mound pimento cheese (about 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons) into each tomato.

Per 1-tablespoon serving: 21 calories (43 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 73 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to jsilva@kcstar.com or follow her on Facebook.

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