Pimiento cheese is a religion in the south so while lightening it may be considered adultery to some, this healthier version of the classic is sure to get you back into church! Try it today with toasted baguette rounds, mini bell peppers, or sliced pear.
People in the south are VERY particularly about their pimiento cheese…even just the spelling leaves rooms for debate (is it pimento or pimiento)? So taking a classic recipe and (gasp) adulterating it by making it lighter is almost unheard of. BUT, stay with me here, because when it can be lighten WITHOUT losing any of the flavor or creamy qualities that people hold so dear, then why not?
I love hearing stories of how people’s parents and grandparents made their secret family recipe. Did it add worcestershire? What about grated onion juice? This recipe has both as well as a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. I will so that if you don’t want to go 100% light then use lighter ingredients where you can. Sometimes I will use one block of reduced-fat sharp cheddar and one block of full fat. Other times I cut the mayo and go all Greek yogurt. There is plenty of room for interpretation so definitely share in the comments how you modified so I can make sure to try it.
Once you try this recipe and decide it is going to be your new secret family recipe, play around with how you serve it. I share two of my favorites below: Southern Pimiento Cheese Canapes and Pimiento Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers but I also love to roll about a tablespoon into a ball then roll it in crushed pecans or chopped bacon to make truffles. You can also find the recipe link below to my Pimiento Cheese Sliders. So many options for such an easy recipe! Regardless of how you choose to make it, there is one cardinal rule that you MUST adhere to: grate your own cheese. Please! Skip the pregrated and do just do it yourself. It makes a world of difference in the final recipe.
Lightened Classic Pimiento Cheese
Makes about 3 cups
3⁄4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1⁄2 cup light mayonnaise
1 (4-oz) diced pimientos, drained
2 teaspoons finely grated onion
1 teaspoon low-sodium Worcestershire
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
- In a large bowl, stir together first 7 ingredients (Greek yogurt through red pepper) until well blended.
- Shred the cheese using a box grater or at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer.
- Add shredded cheese to mayonnaise mixture, stirring until blended. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Looking for a fun way to serve this lightened-up cheese? Try these:
Southern Pimiento Cheese Canapés: Spoon 1 tablespoon pimiento cheese onto 1 toasted baguette rounds(or English cucumber slices, cornbread crackers or party pumpernickel may also be used). Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon finely chopped bacon pieces, 1 teaspoon toasted chopped pecans, and top with 1⁄2 grape tomato, sliced lengthwise.
Pimiento Cheese Stuffed Sweet Peppers: Cut sweet mini bell peppers in half lengthwise leaving the stems intact; remove seeds. Spoon about 1 tablespoon pimiento cheese into each pepper half. Serve immediately or broil until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Looking for another way to use this tasty recipe? Why not top it on a burger like on these Pimento Cheese Sliders. They are ideal when you’re entertaining a crowd.
For a side to serve with your sliders, try my Company Pasta Salad. One batch can feed up to 25 people!
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