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Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini

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Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini is perfect for any type of party. Invite your friends over and dive in!

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini on a white platter

International Food Bloggers Conference

When in Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference, I attended a marvelous seminar on olive oil presented by the lovely folks from California Olive Ranch. When they offered to sponsor a DIY Virtual Tasting Party at my home, I jumped at the chance.

I have an enthusiastic group of foodie friends who show up whenever I let them know I’m doing a cooking demo. We’ve taste  tested a variety of  butters and semi-sweet chocolates and they’ve also attended my laid back workshops on how to prepare an array of goodies. They were all in favor of an olive oil party.

3 bottles of California Olive Ranch olive oil

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini

And, of course, I had to offer some nibbles to munch on while we were gabbing and rating the oils…these Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini were perfect.

We started with the Jelly Bean test. With noses pinched, my volunteers tried to identify their jelly bean flavor to no avail. We were reminded how much the sense of smell is tied to taste.

Next, we discussed the enemies of olive oil: time, light, temperature and oxygen and tips such as checking the harvest date and best by date on olive oil bottles before purchasing.

After that,  we started on the olive oil flight tasting in order from mild to robust. Swirling to warm the oil, sniffing, slurping and swallowing…then analyzing.  Here are the varieties we tasted and a few comments from my testers:

Everyday Fresh (suggested uses: baking, sauteing, every day): buttery, peppery finish, neutral, what you’d expect an olive oil to taste like

Arbequina (suggested uses: salad greens, garden pestos): stronger aroma, bitter, more pepper, special purpose, not my favorite straight up

Miller’s Blend (suggested uses: spicy dishes, curry, roasted meats, winter stews, pasta, roasted garlic fondue): super buttery, not as robust, heavier, fruitier

After the tasting, we dove into these Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini featured on the California Olive Ranch website. I had to print off 6 copies of the recipe…this was a bonefide winner. Even my one friend who is not a fan of goat cheese sang their praises. And it is a simple recipe mostly made in in the food procesor…easy peasy! Perfect for one of your upcoming holiday gatherings (note that they are RED and GREEN!). And make sure to buy some California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the best results. Please check their website for more recipes and information on olive oil.

Overhead view of Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini on a white ceramic tray

Things you may need for this recipe:

Food Processor

Large Bowl

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini

Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini

An appetizer with toasts topped with a cranberry basil pesto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 24


Recipe adapted from US Cranberry Marketing via California Olive Ranch

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup Craisins (dried, sweetened cranberries)
  • 1 cup fresh Basil, packed
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup California Olive Ranch Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 baguette, cut into 24 slices
  • Goat cheese


  1. Pulse garlic in food processor until finely diced. Add cranberries, basil, walnuts and red pepper flakes. Pulse until blended but chunky.
  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley and oil until blended.
  3. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese over each baguette slice and top with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry pesto mixture.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 toasts

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 293mg Carbohydrates: 26g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g
Disclosure: California Olive Ranch provided me with olive oil and Do It Yourself Party hosting supplies. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own. There will be a couple Twitter chats today at 10 AM and 2 PM if you’re interested in learning more about California Olive Ranch olive oils…just use the Twitter hashtag #DIYEVOO.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

25 comments on “Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini”

  1. What a fun tasting. There is such a huge variety of olive oils. What fun!

  2. Your Crostini is very pretty! Goat cheese is another one of those things I haven’t tried but would like too… Have fun with the olive oil:@)

  3. Sounds like loads of fun! The crostini sounds incredible. And your photos – as always they are lovely.

  4. The seminar and tasting session sounds fun! This crostini sounds wonderful and would be perfect for any festive or holiday gathering ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi Liz!
    LOVE CA Olive Ranch!!! I have tasted this quality olive oil and will never go back! love this! will definitely try the Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini!! yum!

  6. Hi Liz:)
    Fun! Your crostini look so good and perfect for the holidays with the cranberry twist;)
    Enjoy your olive oil…I used their garlic infused olive oil in last night’s dinner, yum!

  7. Your tasting party sounds like such fun Liz. I can just imagine everyone with their pinched noses for the jelly bean test, lol…I love the notion of the Cranberry Pesto Goat Cheese Crostini. It must be simply delicious. Thank you so much for sharing…

  8. Your Crostini Looks amazing Liz! I love the Cranberry Goat Cheese Pesto combo! Yum!

  9. Looks like you and your friends know how to have fun! And enjoy fine food =)

  10. I’ve never heard of a jelly bean test! I love the look of your crostini. I’m a big fan of pesto and goat cheese so I know these would be a great idea for my Christmas entertaining. But did Bill like them? xx

  11. You are such a fun hostess and you are tempting me with this crostini!

  12. Your crostini are so pretty, the colors make them perfect for a holiday party!

  13. Sounds like a fun party! Love the appetizer. I’m sure you were just the perfect hostess!

  14. i can barely imagine how great is this pesto, tangy sweet cranberry with savoury goat cheese…..
    simply blow up my taste buds for sure!!!

  15. I’m not exactly keen on goat cheese either, but if one of your testers sang praises with this beautiful crostini, then I want to sing too. Fortunately, I’ve already got the California Olive Ranch Olive Oil in the pantry, and the cranberries and basil are just a market away. I wonder, Liz, how fresh cranberry would fare in the dish?

    • I think they’s be a little too tart, Brooks. But I’m wondering if layering a sweetened cranberry sauce or chutney made with fresh cranberries over the goat cheese and pesto might be a lovely alternative?

  16. I wish I could have a taste of this crostini! The combination of flavors sounds amazing.

  17. I love goat cheese and we bought a heap of it at the Brisbane food and wine show last week. I have no cranberries because well, we don’t have cranberries except in the freezer section or in juice. I wonder what I could substitute. Nothing tart comes to mind. ๐Ÿ™‚ They look too good not to try.

  18. This would make a great holiday appetizer!

  19. What a gorgeous appetizer, so suitable for our holiday tables!!!!

  20. Another addition to my walnut and goat cheese appetizers list! Love the unusual pesto on the little festive crostini. I would even thin the pesto out a bit, and use it on pasta! Yumm:) xo

  21. California Ranch olive oil is sold at our local co-op, but I’ve never bought it. Sounds like I need to try it. Love these cranberry crostini! Never would have thought to combine cranraisins with pesto. Actually sounds quite delicious!

  22. Lovely combination of flavors with the tartness from the cranberries and the saltiness from the goat cheese!

  23. Cranberry pesto? I’ve never heard of it before, but it sounds delicious! This looks so simple to make, and something that I’d absolutely love, that’s if I didn’t demolish the pack of Craisins first.

  24. Nice and tasty recipe site. Thanks for sharing

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