Delicious cranberry herb goat cheese log that's perfect for the holidays! With pomegranate, parsley, pecans, cranberry sauce, honey and cracked black pepper.
Need an appetizer for Thanksgiving or a Christmas get together? This is definitely 100% what you're looking for. Here are the main things I love about this cranberry goat cheese log
- It's easy to make.
- Everyone loves it (people that hate goat cheese even gave it the thumbs up!)
- You can tackle a lot of the prep work ahead of time.
- It's festive and seasonal.
- The cranberry sauce is already there begging to be used.
- It’s relatively light compared to other holiday appetizers.
Face it, this cranberry herb goat cheese log is just made to happen. Its okay, you won't be one bit upset about it.
Its a pretty simple recipe to make so you can whip it up for a party, or if you're like me, just for a quiet night at home where you and your significant other are working on those winter bods and feel like gorging on cheese.
You have to have a special kind of relationship to eat an entire log of goat cheese together in one sitting. It's a bonding experience. I'm lucky I found someone who isn't grossed out by me calling something like this dinner. #blessed
If you're a normal type that doesn't eat cheese for dinner, make this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, a Christmas party, or any winter gathering really. It always wows since its practically glistening with cranberry sauce and has such a nice color contrast between the pomegranate and herbs. The toasty nuts add richness and depth of flavor while the final drizzle of honey and fresh cracked pepper take it from simple to divine. Whatever the highlight is for you, this isn't one you're going to want to miss.
I pretty much always use my honey cranberry sauce recipe but have cheated and used a jarred sauce from Trader Joe's (What? Don't judge, I got lazy). While I'm all about the homemade, it was still just as satisfying and the lack of extra prep was worth it that night. Do whatever suits your schedule and preferences.
Is this Cranberry Goat Cheese Log a Healthy Appetizer?
Well, yes and no. It isn’t super healthy by any means since it’s mostly cheese, but it is high in protein and has a touch of extra nutrients from the herbs, nuts, and pomegranate. Goat cheese is often easier for lactose intolerant people to digest as well.
Overall, a goat cheese log isn’t necessarily a healthy appetizer but is healthier than many holiday appetizers (ahem, I’m talking to you bacon wrapped errrything). In addition to serving with crackers or crostini, add some sliced cucumbers to the platter to add a lighter option.
How to Make a Cranberry Goat Cheese Log
Making a cranberry goat cheese log is easy peasy my friends. First and foremost, chop your herbs, toast your nuts, and get those pomegranate seeds out. Ha, I know summing that up in one sentence makes it sound easy, but that prep work is the hardest part in this recipe, particularly getting pomegranate seeds out.
Let’s deconstruct this process to make it more approachable and not scare anyone off.
- Toast the pecans either in an oven or toaster oven preheated to 350° oven for about 5 minutes or you can just microwave for 1- 2 minutes until toasty. If you microwave, check them and stir every 30 seconds so they don’t burn.
- Chop up the nuts either with a knife on a cutting board, a nut chopper (yes this is a thing and I have one) or food processor.
- You can just buy pomegranate arils already removed or do it yourself. If you’re new to pomegranates, try the under water method or the wooden spoon method and figure out which you like best.
- Now the easiest one – chop the parsley and toss with the chopped nuts and poms. until it looks like a beautiful tri-colored confetti.
- Spread half of the cranberry sauce onto the serving dish.
- Take goat cheese log and pat the pecan/parsley/pom combo all over it.
- Place the log onto the cranberry smear, spoon the remaining cranberry sauce over the top, sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with honey, and finish with a touch of cracked black pepper.
I know that sounds like a lot of steps since I broke it down in detail, but it’ll come together in a matter of minutes.
Tips to Make a Perfect Cranberry Goat Cheese Log
While this recipe is incredibly easy to make, there are a few tips to follow to make it turn out perfect every time:
- If you can’t find an 8 oz. goat cheese log (I got mine from Costco), just push two 4 oz. logs together.
- When buying a pomegranate, pick one with a bit of give to it but no super soft spots. Avoid the super hard pomegranates and ones that are overly soft and have brown spots.
- You can prepare and roll in the nut/herb/pom mixture a day in advance (see next section) and stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours but any longer than that and it won’t look fresh.
- Serve with something like these Panzanilla or other firm crackers that work well for scooping.
- Drizzle the honey carefully so you don’t get big globs. If you don’t have a honey drizzle stick, use a small spoon to drizzle over the log.
- Make sure to use a good cranberry sauce! As I mentioned before, I use my honey cranberry sauce recipe but you can use whatever kind you prefer.
- I always recommend this item, but an electric pepper grinder is an amazing kitchen tool to have. Not necessary my any means, but makes all pepper-needing recipes easy as can be.
Making Ahead and Time Saving Tips
Luckily, the bulk of the effort can be done ahead of time on this recipe. Another reason a cranberry goat cheese log is the perfect party appetizer. You can get all the way to the stage where you rub the log with the pomegranate, parsley, and pecan mixture and either chill it like this, wrapped in plastic wrap overnight.
Or if you’re only preparing a few hours ahead of time, you can go ahead and place the log on top of the cranberry smear on a serving plate and chill like that. When it’s time to serve, just pull out of the fridge, top with parsley, honey, and black pepper and serve.
In the fall I make a lot of recipes with toasted nuts. For this reason, I keep a jar with toasted nuts on the counter ready to toss into salads or dishes like this. They stay good for a week or so after toasting which takes the hassle out of it. I usually just toast them in my toaster oven for about 5 minutes and then crumble. Knowing you can have toasted nuts on the salad makes salads sound more palatable. 😉
Other Best Thanksgiving Recipes
A cranberry herb goat cheese log is the perfect semi healthy appetizer to bring to Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, and anything in-between. If you aren’t into goat cheese or are just looking for another healthy appetizer for Thanksgiving, I’ve got a few suggestions.
- These endives with grapefruit, feta and pecans have just the right balance between fresh crisp greens, aromatic toasted nuts, and tangy grapefruit and salty feta.
- This zucchini tomato dip isn’t the most impressive looking but has tons of flavor from caramelized vegetables. It’s absolutely the best healthy dip there is.
- This crostini with roasted grapes isn’t the healthiest but I promise it’s one worth making.
- This baked feta gets topped with roasted olives, peppers, and tomatoes and is simply divine!
- These prosciutto wrapped pears are making their way to my Thanksgiving table this year.
If you’re looking for other Thanksgiving recipes, here are some of my favorites
- Roasted butternut squash and mushrooms get roasted to perfection and then tossed in browned butter and fried sage.
- Or on the theme of brown butter, try these browned butter balsamic Brussels sprouts. Drooling just thinking about them!
- This bourbon brined smoked turkey from Vindulge is the only way I’ll make turkey from now on – soooo good! Plus, smoking the bird frees the oven up for all of your sides and appetizers.
- These roasted pears are filled with cranberries and nuts and are so easy to make yet always impress.
- For guests that arrive early or in from out of town, it’s nice to have a breakfast snack on hand to feed the masses before the main event - these pumpkin scones with maple glaze are a must!
- I’ve already mentioned it several times, but once you make this honey orange cranberry sauce once, you’ll need it every year.
Whatever you serve, I hope your Thanksgiving and holiday season is absolutely fantastic!
Cranberry Herb Goat Cheese Log
- Mix 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley with the pomegranate arils and pecans in a small bowl.
- Smear half of the cranberry sauce on a serving plate.
- Place goat cheese log on serving plate on top of cranberry sauce.
- Pat pomegranate/pecan/parsley mixture onto cheese letting any extra fall around the log onto the plate.
- Spoon remaining cranberry sauce over the top of the log.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley, drizzle with honey, and then top lightly with fresh cracked pepper.
- Serve immediately with crackers, toasted bread, and/or sliced veggies.
Recipe originally published November 17, 2018 but post has since been updated to add more detail.