Have you ever had Cranberry Pesto before? Served with crostini and chevre, it is a simple and flavorful appetizer perfect for Christmas, a cocktail party, a holiday gathering, or to serve for a book club night with friends. It takes mere minutes to make and the taste is savory, tart and a little sweet.
I originally shared this recipe on December 17th, 2012. I have updated the images and text to share it with you again today.
Table of contents
Why We Love Cranberry PestoKey Ingredients For This RecipeHow to Make Cranberry Pesto CrostiniFAQs and Expert TipsAdditional Recipes to Try
Why We Love Cranberry Pesto
This cranberry pesto crostini from our friend, Lisa Danforth, is a perfect Christmas appetizer or horse d’oeuvre to share this holiday season. The pesto is made with walnuts, cranberries, fresh basil and olive oil. For an appetizer, I spread it over a crostini with creamy and tangy chèvre. The combination is so incredible I couldn’t stop eating them!
I mean, I love classic basil pesto for pesto pasta, pizza and more. But this amped-up cranberry pesto is really next level and is the starring ingredient in these appetizer canapes.
I suggest whipping up a batch of this cranberry pesto and bringing it to a party. Place the crostini next to a charcuterie board and you’ll be the talk of the evening. I promise!
Key Ingredients For This Recipe
Chevre: Cheve is a type of goat cheese that’s exceptionally creamy, soft and tangy. You can swap it out for a milder soft cheese if you’d like, but I highly recommend sticking to chèvre.Cream Cheese: This makes the goat cheese easier to spread. You can either use cream cheese or for a lower calorie option try 1/3 less fat cream cheese or Neufchatel. Dried Cranberries: You want sweetened dried cranberries for this. Basil: For classic pesto flavor.Parsley: The basil in the pesto gets dark very quickly so to make the pesto appear greener some parsley is needed. Baguette: For making the crostini Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper (or red pepper flakes.)Parmesan cheese: You want grated (not shredded) for a smoother texture. Extra-virgin olive oil: Choose a high-quality one for the best flavor
How to Make Cranberry Pesto Crostini
Step 1: Mix chèvre & cream cheese
Mix the chèvre and cream cheese together in a small bowl. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt.
Step 2: Puree Cranberry Pesto
Pulse the garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Add cranberries and pulse until roughly chopped. Add basil, walnuts, and red pepper flakes, and process until blended but still a little chunky.
TIP: If you like your pesto to be smoother, note that the color of the pesto will be darker because the cranberries will be cut into smaller pieces. In these pictures, I ground them up pretty finely, but I have also made this with larger chunks of cranberries and the pesto is more green.
Step 3: Mix in Parmesan, Oil and Parsley By Hand
Place the mixture in a bowl, then stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, oil, pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until blended.
Step 3: Assemble crostini
Spread 1 teaspoon chèvre mixture on each baguette slice and top with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry pesto.
FAQs and Expert Tips
You can make the pesto up to 5 days ahead. It will darken after a few hours.
You can make the pesto up to 5 days ahead. The crostini (toasted baguette) can be toasted two days ahead. Once they are completely cool place them in a ziplock bag and keep at room temperature. Wait until right before serving to assemble the pesto crostini.
Other ways to enjoy cranberry pesto
This pesto is great with sausage and winter squash. Try it with pasta with roasted squash and sweet Italian pork sausage! Add additional cooking liquid and olive oil to moisten if necessary. Place a bowl of it on a charcuterie board because it pairs beautifully with cured meats and a variety of cheeses.Spread it over flatbreads (or pitas) and crumble on chevre (or another melting cheese like fontina.) Bake until crisp and slice into wedges.Spread over sourdough and add sliced chicken (or turkey) and arugula for a gourmet sandwich or panini.
Additional Recipes to Try
Make these Cranberry Clementine Coconut Bars the next time your sweet tooth strikes. I love this Pecan Cranberry Stuffing with Sausage. My family asks me to make it every year!And this Cranberry Compote with Apple and Orange is a holiday traditionIf you want a recipe for bruschetta you have to try my White Bean Bruschetta Garlicky Greens and my Beet and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta with Goat Cheese Crumbles.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~Katie
Cranberry Pesto Crostini with Chevre
Author: Katie Webster
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups pesto, 24 appetizers
Cranberry Pesto on baguette with chevre- a delicious and easy holiday appetizer!
½ cup chevre at room temperature, 4 oz.
¼ cup cream cheese at room temperature, 2 oz.
¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup toasted walnuts
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated
¼ cup coarsely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
24 slices baguette, toasted *see tip
Mix chevre and cream cheese together in a small bowl. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt.
Pulse the garlic in food processor until finely chopped. Add cranberries and pulse until roughly chopped. Add basil, walnuts, and red pepper flakes, process until blended but still chunky.
Place mixture in a bowl, stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, oil, pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until blended.
Spread 1 teaspoon chevre mixture on each baguette slice and top with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry pesto.
To Make Toasted Baguette:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice baguette and lay on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with a little oil if desired. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted. They will dry and crisp up even more as they cool.
Toasted baguette can be toasted, cooled completely and kept in a resealable plastic bag up to two days in advance.
Since homemade pesto doesn’t contain any preservatives, it won’t last nearly as long as regular pesto. Make sure to store it covered in the fridge (preferably in an air-tight container). This way it will last 4 to 5 days.
Prep Time: 20 minutesCategory: appetizerMethod: no cookCuisine: American
Serving Size: 1 appetizer
Sugar: 4 g
Sodium: 232 mg
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 4 g
Keywords: cranberry pesto,pesto appetizer