The anti-bagel: sourdough, cream cheese, avocado ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

17 January 2013

The anti-bagel: sourdough, cream cheese, avocado

tosted sourdough with cream cheese, herbs, and avocado

I love bagels. I love going to the bagel shop for a spontaneous lunch. I love how low-pressure, inexpensive, and easy the whole experience is. I love picking out the exact combination I want--one day sun-dried tomato with basil schmear, and the next pumpernickel with copious dill. I love how it never gets old.

However, I am also a big cheapo, and I often want a higher vegetable content in my cream cheese. Thus the anti-bagel was born.

I've been making my own cream cheese schmears for quite some time. It's super easy. All you need is cream cheese, vegetables and herbs of your choice, a spoonful or two of yogurt, and some pepper.

In this case, I wanted a super-green and herbal cream cheese, so I grabbed several sprigs of parsley, some green onion greens, and a couple handfuls of arugula. A few minutes with my trusty knife produced this:

chopped parsley, arugula, and green onion

Then I just mixed my mass of finely chopped green with a chunk of cream cheese, a little plain yogurt, and a sprinkle of pepper. The yogurt makes the mixture a lot more workable, not to mention a bit more tangy and complex. You could use a splash of milk instead.

Cream cheese can take much more vegetable content than you might think. I actually used about a third again more greens than cheese, and I could have added even more. You can absolutely just keep mixing in more chopped veg until your schmear is bursting with all the chlorophyll in the land.

Then just toast your bread of choice, spread on your cream cheese, and add whatever else you'd like. I had an avocado in need of use, so I sliced it up and layered it on. I also added a bit more pepper and a pinch of salt, because what avocado doesn't benefit from a bit of seasoning?

Voila! Now you have your very own customized anti-bagel. Eat it in good health and good conscience.

Other options for amazing schmears:

- green olives and lemon zest
- sun-dried tomato, basil, and a little crumble of feta
- chard, beet greens, and toasted almonds
- cilantro, hot pepper, and a couple cubes of cooked sweet potato
- all the sprouts in the land!
- herb spectacular: parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
- dill, capers, and red onion
- dried cranberries, orange zest, and toasted sesame seeds
- dried apricots, pistachios, and lots of black pepper

The possibilities are endless. GO FORTH.

How do you guys customize your bagels and bagel-like sandwich concoctions at home?


Michelle said...

I almost went for a bagel for lunch...but was distracted by green chicken curry and a ton of vegetables!

Making your own schmear is brilliant. I don't know why I've never done that before...

I love chlorophyll so much!

Kristina @ spabettie said...

this looks so good. so SO good.

I make my own cream cheeses too - I love sun dried tomatoes and capers - another favorite is chopped bell peppers (red and orange). I like the green olives + lemon zest idea... will be trying soon!

Caz said...

These look so good. The chard, beet greens and toasted almond topping sounds like a winner to me. I also love anything topped with avocado. Yum!

Shut Up and Cook said...

This looks amazing!! Living in Seattle it's hard to find good bagels, so when I do I'm especially excited. Love the idea of making you own schmeers. Have never done that!

Jes said...

Oh heck yah, homemade schmear! My fave right now is to make a sriracha schmear w/ fried egg & bacon. Mmm.

foodfeud said...

This is an awesome idea! Geeze, even around here in NYC I have yet to come across basil cream cheeze! The apricot/pistachio/pepper one is really creative. I'd love to try that.

Joanne said...

I'm generally quite unimpressed with the commercial schmears available here (especially for the price!) so making my own sounds like an awesome option! There are so many fun ideas in this post!

elizabeth (bubbleteafordinner) said...

"I love chlorophyll so much!", ha, love it!

yes, you are seriously making my bagel nostalgia a problem. Um, ... don't stop. It means you're doing something good. Go schmears!

Eileen said...

I'm glad you guys like it! Hooray! Liz, do you need me to send you a care package of bagels? (The only problem is that I have an awful feeling they'd completely dead by the time they made it to Vietnam...) You guys have some great ideas -- sriracha schmear is totally blowing my mind!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I love bagels too! That was the first thing I got addicted when I came to the US... I was in college and no one told me what to eat, so I sometimes ate it for three meals a day! I love your homemade cream cheese. I'd love to try sun-dried tomato, basil, and a little crumble of feta - that sounds so good!

Monet said...

I adore bagels. And I wish I lived in NYC just so I could get one of those amazing bagels every morning. I love the idea of making your own schmear. I'm all about more veggies and herbs too!

Haley @ Cheap Recipe Blog said...

Genius! Of course it makes sense to make your own bagel spreads at home - just never thought of it :)

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