Add Savory Garlic Cream Cheese To Dress Up Your Next Sandwich

The stinking rose has stolen our hearts and bewitched our nostrils. A rose by any other name would still smell as ... you get the picture. Today, we're singing the high praises of humble Allium sativum, more commonly known as garlic. Julia Child herself crammed a whopping 30 cloves into her mashed potatoes. But, that's not our tip. Ours is: Mash some garlic into a tub of plain cream cheese for an impactful, impressive sandwich spread that you can keep in your fridge for easy access. It's a one-stop-shop ingredient for a kick of umami, plus a mouth-watering moisture component to save your sando from the dreaded bone-dry territory.

Simply grab a container of store-bought cream cheese and, using a fork, stir it with minced garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Voila — a flavorful spread ready to take your sandwiches to the next level. You can even store it right in the cream cheese tub, no container transfer or extra dirty dishes necessary. Plus, this recipe is a great way to breathe new life into otherwise plain cream cheese, meaning you can buy the budget-friendly grocery store brand and add the flavor at home rather than splurging on the pricey stuff.

Let this suggestion serve as a jumping-off point for your own creativity. Feel free to stir in more garlic to suit your taste, as well as any other complementary herbs and spices you might like to add (fresh dill would pair extra well here).

Dress up your bread with this savory spread

Considering you don't roast the garlic for this upgrade, you should use the fresh stuff to achieve the best flavor. Jars of pre-minced garlic pieces floating in oil may be convenient, but in this recipe, you aren't warming the garlic, so the oil won't cook off in a saucepan. Those pre-chopped pieces will bring their briny acidity to your delicate cream cheese, and it'll be more pucker than pungent. Also, on the note of structural integrity, this tip works best with cold sandwiches. You can apply your garlic cream cheese to hot sandwiches, but keep in mind that it's prone to melt and quickly become runny.

A smear of garlic cream cheese would instantly elevate a fresh vegetable sub. We're talking about cucumber, tomato, roasted red pepper, raw red onion, and baby spinach between two pieces of homemade focaccia, smeared with flavorful garlic cream cheese. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar would make a great finisher here, too. That umami C.C. (that's what the pros call cream cheese, or whatever) would also make a delicious, savory finishing touch for a grilled cheese sandwich (best to smear it on post-grill to keep it from melting off). For a jalapeño-popper-inspired sammy, you could even pop a few jalapeño slices onto your grilled cheese, too. Or, for a sweet-savory-umami bite, smear that flavored cream cheese on white bread with red pepper jelly and flaky sea salt, slice into mini rectangles, and serve 'em at your next tea party.