What healthy nutrient do an olive and a walnut have in common? Oil! Both olives and walnuts are good sources of monounsaturated fats. Both oils contain omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in the body.
Olives and walnuts both grow on trees. Olive trees are extraordinarily long lived. Some trees that are reported to be over 1,000 years old are still bearing fruit. Olives are pressed for oil that is used in cooking. Cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is delicately flavored and is preferred by many cooks. Olives are also used to eat alone or to enhance dishes. They come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Used for thousands of years as a source of oil and food, olives are one of the earliest cultivated foods.
Walnuts are also an ancient food. Prized for their oil and protein, they lend an earthy taste to whatever dish they grace. They are a good source of calcium. In addition, walnuts contain iron, zinc, and the vitamin B-6.
By combining these ancient foods, olives and walnuts, with cream cheese, you can make a versatile spread that is as modern as it is tasty.
Olive Walnut and Cream Cheese Spread
2-8 ounce blocks of cream cheese
1 -6 ounce can (drained weight) medium pitted black olives
1-5.75 ounce jar (drained weight) Manzanilla (green) olives with pimento stuffing
1 Ĺ cups of English walnuts
Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator about half an hour before you begin preparation to soften the cream cheese. You may also put it in a small bowl and soften it briefly in the microwave. Various microwaves cook differently, so do bursts of 10 seconds, then check for softness. You donít want to liquefy your cream cheese.
Add the cream cheese to the work bowl of your food processor. Break each block into about four chunks and distribute them evenly around the bowl. Drain the black and green olives. Pour the drained olives evenly around on top of the cream cheese. Pour the walnuts on top of the olives. Process using short bursts until the spread is your desired chunkiness. I stir it down a bit to make sure all of the cream cheese gets processed and that there are not unchopped olives and nuts. The mixture should not be smooth. A smooth spread will be an unattractive gray color. The finished spread should be light tan with chunks of black, green, red, and brown. The chunks should be small enough to allow the mixture to be easily spread.
I turn the finished spread into a bowl and stir to make sure that I donít have chunks of unmixed cream cheese. Then, itís time to make sandwiches!
This Olive Walnut and Cream Cheese Spread works well on any cracker. Just spread it onto the cracker. Saltines, savory crackers, Club type, or the new nut and rice based crackers all work equally well. Iíve enjoyed the spread on a tostada shell, too. Kimís Magic Pop in plain, cheese, or onion flavors are also great. If you like rice cakes, slather this delicious spread on one. You wonít be disappointed!
For a very low carb option, you can use cucumbers, yellow summer squash or zucchini for the base of an open face sandwich. Slice your vegetable thin enough to be appealing, yet thick enough to hold the weight of the spread without bending. Slice into rounds or make a lengthwise slice of vegetable. This is an extra nutritious offering.
Roll-ups (also known as pinwheels):
For the wrap: Use a good quality, flexible flour tortilla. You can make a high fiber tortilla. The link to the recipe is at the bottom of the article. If you want to buy a tortilla, find a local Mexican bakery. You can lower the carb count by using a low-carb tortilla, which makes these pinwheels useful in a low carb meal plan. I suggest using a low-carb product from La Tortilla Factory. These have 6 grams of net carb and 100 calories. Plus, they have 12 grams of fiber! There are several varieties. Have the tortillas at room temperature, so they will be pliable.
Making the roll-ups: Lay the tortilla on a flat surface or hold it in your hand. Spread the filling evenly about 1/8 inches thick. Spread it almost to the edge. Roll the tortilla into a tight roll. As you roll it, the filling will spread to the edges. Wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate overnight or for at least four hours. This allows the tortilla and filling to bond well. Slice into slices 1/2 to 1 inch thick. The ends of the pinwheels aren't pretty, but they taste great. Some recipes say to discard them. I donít like to throw tasty food away. Use them for the cookís treat!
This savory spread is almost addictive for anybody who enjoys olives. Even people who donít like to eat olives usually love this mixture. Enjoy using it to make sandwiches your way!
When I mention products by brand name, these are the ones that I use. I have not received free products from the manufacturers, nor have I been paid to mention the products by name.
Our trusty Kitchen Aid Food Processor was worth every penny that we paid for it. This kitchen tool has saved me hundreds of hours in chopping and mixing time. After ten years of hard use, it is still going strong! Click the link below to see what it looks like.>
KitchenAid KFP740CR 9-Cup Food Processor with 4-Cup Mini Bowl, Chrome