Remember my good friend Kelsey?
She was one of my best friends when we were both getting our RD at Winthrop. She was my study partner, yoga buddy and the author of Bites + Bowls, a fantastic food site that has gone to blog heaven.
She is also the mother of the most adorable dog, Penny.
Kelsey now lives in Colorado and recently got married! I miss her.
In fact, I miss all of our Charlotte friends! Back when we were young + childless
My very favorite recipe of Kelsey’s was her pimento cheese. She is a master at creation, and I made this recipe over and over. I never wrote it down, and one day I went over to Bites + Bowls for the proportions and found a blank Bluehost page!
Here is my attempt to recreate the long, lost recipe.
Instead of mayonnaise, Kelsey’s version used Greek yogurt as the binder. It’s a lighter and more refreshing version of the Southern classic. Yet just as cheesy good! If you want to add a bit of mayo as well, all will be well.
Kelsey taught me that hand-grated cheese is so worth the effort. I used to buy bags of pre-shredded cheese because I was willing to pay for the convenience. But what I didn’t realize is how much less flavorful it is. This recipe commands freshly grated cheese. Just do it.
I started with 8 ounces of two kinds, both sharp cheddars. You can use all of one cheese, but two kinds is extra fun.
With some arm power, they turned into about 2.5 cups of grated cheese.
I used to be grossed out by pimento cheese when I was little. I remember platters of sandwiches packed with a strange yellow filling served between crustless slices of Wonder bread. Weird. I think it was the pimentos that had me confused. But one day I realized pimento cheese was actually CHEESE and I have loved it ever since.
Drain you pimentos well and chop, if necessary.
Next add your seasonings – salt, pepper, a hint of cayenne, perhaps a little garlic powder if you like.
Then a splash of lemon juice. Kelsey did it, so I did too.
Lastly add a quarter cup of thick Greek yogurt and incorporate until it forms a dip.
You could also add pickled jalapenos or spiced pecans for even more fun!
Serve on toast, as a sandwich, on crackers as a dip or enjoy by the spoonful : )
Here’s the recipe…
Homemade Pimento Cheese
Yield 1.5 cups
This lightened up version of pimento cheese has all the sharp cheddar and pepper flavor without the glop.
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (about 2.5 cups grated). Must be fresh - do not use pre-grated cheese!!
- 4 ounce jar of pimentos
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 10 grinds pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- Grate your cheese by hand or in a food processor.
- Drain pimentos well and chop, if necessary. Add to mixture.
- Add seasonings.
- Add lemon juice.
- Toss to mix through.
- Add yogurt and mash until cheese comes together into a dip and serve!