Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat "Cheese" and Balsamic Caramelized Onion Crostini

Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat "Cheese" and Balsamic Caramelized Onion Crostini

The other day I came to the conclusion that appetizers are better than entrees. Before you object, let’s just think about this. Small plates mean big booms of flavor and most likely more small plates to come. Plus those additional small plates are probably equally as good, varied and numerous. In an entrée, you get one fantastic meal, but in a small plate or appetizer, you get many fantastic meals. Do you see where I’m going with this? Appetizers mean more food aka more yumminess aka more happiness!

 I really really really love small plates. The Spanish even created an entire cuisine and food culture around appetizers called tapas. For this small plate recipe, I drew upon an appetizer specialty a little east of Spain.

Crostinis, which directly translate to “little toast”, are traditionally an Italian appetizer. Because crostini in its most basic form is essentially a large crouton, there really are no restrictions on how you can deck them out. Goat cheese, bruschetta and figs are all popular toppings for this little bread boogie board, but considering bread pretty much goes with everything, you can do whatever you want.

As this blog seems to be leaning more towards a vegan slant rather than vegetarian (I love a challenge!), I made a sun-dried tomato, goat "cheese" and caramelized balsamic onion crostini with my new favorite topping, Kite Hill Cream Cheese. If you read my vegan pesto cream sauce post, you already know how obsessed I am with this stuff. It’s super versatile and can replicate a lot of my favorite creamier cheeses without resembling manufactured plastic, something that contributes to most faux cheese downfalls in my opinion. Of course, if you aren’t vegan or lactose-free, you can go ahead and enjoy goat cheese, but I promise you this Kite Hill Cream Cheese or other almond based cream cheese is really great.

If you like to share, appetizers are for you. I grew up pretty much as an only child (with two wonderful, much older half brothers), so I’m really not about that life. However, it’s pretty easy to make a bunch of crostinis and have enough to snack on for yourself and possibly, if you really love them, share with someone else.

Here’s the recipe.

Happy snacking!

Sun-Dried Tomato, Goat "Cheese" and Balsamic Caramelized Onion Crostini

(Makes about 30 crostinis)

  • 1 french baguette
  • 8oz of sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Kite Hill Plain Cream Cheese or other nut based cheese
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar + additional for topping (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1/3 cup of olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other pan that does not have a nonstick coating.
  2. Chop up onions into slices and cook on medium-low heat in the cast iron skillet, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Slice bread and coat with roughly 1/4 cup of olive oil. Place in oven to bake until slightly brown and crunchy.
  4. Place garlic, salt, pepper, basil, lemon juice, 2/3 cup of olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes into a food processor until smooth. If using sun dried tomatoes from a jar, use olive oil from the jar and omit additional basil and olive oil. You will most likely have leftovers, which you can use in pasta dishes or sandwiches.
  5. Once the onions have become soft and translucent, add 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and mix to coat. Continue cooking until the onions are very soft and the balsamic vinegar has cooked off a bit.
  6. If you are using additional balsamic vinegar as a topping for the crostini, apply a small amount to each baked bread slice. 
  7. Spread cheese over bread slices and then the sun-dried tomato mixture. Place several caramelized onions on top.

Enjoy!

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