Grilled Celery with Pecans and Cheddar Spread

Ants on a log were my favorite snack when I was a kid. This is my savory grown-up version. I pipe a spicy cheddar spread down celery, then press in toasted pecans. It's a great creamy-crunchy appetizer that feels indulgent but won't leave your guests too full for dinner. It's tasty with raw celery too.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/4 small garlic clove, grated on a rasp grater

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

4 large celery stalks, tough strings removed with a vegetable peeler

1/4 cup pecans, toasted

Directions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
  2. Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, and cayenne in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the cheddar cheese until evenly distributed. Transfer to a large resealable plastic freezer bag and massage to soften the cheese.
  3. Rub the oil all over the celery stalks. Place on the hot grill grate or pan, curved side down, and grill until grill marks appear, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. When cooled, cut into 4-inch lengths at an angle.
  4. Snip a hole in the corner of the bag with the cheddar spread. Pipe the spread into the cavity of each celery stalk. Press the pecans into the spread. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

The cheddar spread can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Soften before piping.

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