Crostini sounds fancy.
But they’re really just little pieces of toast. What makes crostini delicious is the stuff you put on top.
(Interesting fact: crostini is plural. Crostino is the singular.)
Herbed Cheese Crostini
With these crostini, the topping is herbed goat cheese.
You can buy herbed cheese. And it’s good. But making your own herbed cheese is so much better. (No, I’m not talking about making your own cheese from scratch.)
It only takes a short amount of time to make herbed cheese yourself, and the rewards are worth it: you’re in control of the quality/type of cheese and herbs you use.
For the herbed cheese on these crostini, I opted to use one of my favorite cheeses, goat cheese, and two of my favorite herbs, rosemary and thyme.
These crostini alone would make a great snack. But they become a light meal when paired with this kale salad.
This salad uses a variation of my creamy balsamic, one of my favorite homemade dressings/sauces. My creamy balsamic is savory and slightly sweet. It pairs perfectly with kale. Add some white beans, pine nuts, and Parmesan slivers to give this kale salad even more flavor.
Make Herbed Cheese Crostini with Kale Salad
Make Herbed Cheese Crostini with Kale Salad this week. It’s an elegant, filling, yet light meal that’s perfect for these last days of summer.
A Few Things!
You can easily make this a vegan meal by using vegan cream cheese on the crostini, and omitting the Parmesan from the salad.
If you opt to use Parmesan, make sure you get real parmigiano reggiano and grate, grind, or sliver it yourself. Read here for why I never use pre-grated Parmesan or any type of Parmesan that isn’t parmigiano reggiano.
Herbed Cheese Crostini and Kale Salad
For the herbed cheese crostini
- 1 thin baguette (or ficelle), cut into ½ inch thick slices (I recommend using a baguette or ficelle that's 1 ½ inch - 2 inches thick)
- 4 oz plain goat cheese, room temperature (or substitute with vegan cream cheese)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- ½ tsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pinch pepper
For the creamy balsamic dressing:
½cup olive oil
2cloves garlic, minced
1tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ Tbsp Vegenaise, (or mayonnaise)
- 10 oz kale, chopped or shredded
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
- ⅓ cup pine nuts, (preferably toasted)
- ⅓ cup Parmesan slivers, freshly slivered (optional, but highly recommended)
Make the crostini
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Thinly slice the baguette to about ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices out on a baking sheet, and bake the bread slices for 5 minutes, until slightly crisp.
- I like to stop here. If you prefer really crispy crostini, flip the bread slices over, and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Remember, the bread slices will get harder and crisper as they cool, so don't over-bake.
- Set the crostini aside.
Make the herbed cheese
- While the crostini bake, make the herbed cheese.
- To a small mixing bowl, add the room temperature goat cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. With a fork, mix it all together until the herbs and seasonings incorporate into the cheese, and the cheese is smooth and creamy in texture.
Make the Dressing
- While the crostini cool, make the dressing.
- Simply whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until the dressing emulsifies. It will be thick and smooth. Dressing is done, set aside.
Compile the crostini
- The amount of herbed cheese crostini you get will vary depending on the size of baguette you used to make the crostini, and the amount of herbed cheese you spread onto each crostino.
- If you used the recommended 1 ½ inch - 2 inch thick baguette for the crostini, you will get about 15-18 herbed cheese crostini by spreading 1 tsp herbed cheese onto each crostino.
Compile the kale salad
- Add the kale to a large mixing bowl. Start with ⅓ of the dressing, and massage the dressing into the kale with your (clean) hands. A little bit of dressing goes a long way, so make sure it's completely massaged into the kale before adding more dressing.
- After the dressing is massaged into the kale, taste a piece of kale, and add more dressing, if desired. Start with a small amount of additional dressing, massage it in, and add more if desired.
- Now toss the beans, pine nuts (toast them for 5-7 minutes in a skillet over medium heat for even more flavor), and Parmesan slivers into the kale salad.
Serve and enjoy
- Serve these herbed cheese crostini and this kale salad as an appetizer or light meal.