Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese


Makes about 2 cups to serve 16 My mother would sometimes make homemade pimiento cheese salad with the bright orange cheddar coated in red wax, which my grandfather called “rat cheese,” because it was often used to bait mousetraps. Only in the South would grated cheese and mayonnaise be considered a salad! As a small child, I considered pimiento cheese a decidedly grown-up flavor and didn’t care for it in the least; it must have been those piquant jarred pimientos found at most Southern grocery stores. At some point, around middle school, it all changed. I’m not certain if it was a change in my palate or if I wanted to emulate my mother, but I grew to love pimiento cheese. It is traditionally served cradled in the curve of a celery stick. You can also employ bite-size cucumber cups, cored cherry tomatoes or even slices of radish.

Super easy

Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces light cheddar cheese, freshly grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 sweet onion, grated
  • 1 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoons plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos, drained
  • hot sauce
  • coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Japanese or English cucumbers, for accompaniment

Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese Directions

  1. To make the pimiento cheese, combine the cheeses, onion, mayonnaise and yogurt in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add the pimientos and hot sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cut the cucumbers into 1-inch-thick rounds, discarding the ends, but leaving the skin on.
  4. Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop the seeds and some of the flesh out of each round (be careful not to go all the way through) to form a small cup.
  5. To serve, fill each cup with about 1 teaspoon of the pimiento cheese.
  6. Serve immediately.

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