Each bite of these light but gloriously cheesy and crispy pumpkin queso phyllo bites make tailgating and fall party snacking even better. Thank you to Athens Foods for helping me share this recipe with you.
I can’t tell a lie. The first time I tried a queso dip, I was not a fan. It had something to do — no, it had everything to do — with the main ingredient, which was a block of neon orange processed cheese. You know the one I’m talking about — the-cheese-that-shall-not-be-named.
I avoided queso dips like the plague for years after that first bite. That is, until a friend convinced me to try her homemade version, which didn’t include a single cube of processed cheese, and it resulted in me planting myself beside the appetizer table for the rest of the evening.
As much as I adored my friend’s dip, the old saying, “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” popped into my head with every bite. So, I set out to make a skinnier version, which resulted in this light pumpkin queso, dolloped into Athens Mini Fillo Shells for a perfectly cheesy bite.
If you are a regular visitor here, you know that I am a die-hard fan of the Athens Mini Fillo Shells. I keep them stocked in my freezer throughout the year for quick appetizers and desserts. But as soon as the holiday season hits, I triple-load them into my grocery cart so I can fill every appetizer plate with bite-sized treats, from Halloween to New Year’s Eve.
With Halloween just around the corner and squash overflowing from the produce bins at every grocery store and farmers market, I was feeling inspired to make something pumpkin-laden that could be served at any tailgating or Halloween party. And the kids don’t even need to know that the phyllo bites include something healthy (“full of antioxidants and nutrients” isn’t usually a big selling point for the younger set). Just tell them that the orange color is thanks to the handful of cheddar cheese.
If you’ve ever cooked with the Mini Fillo Shells, you know that they typically defrost within the time it takes to make the filling. Whether you’re whipping up a hummus, hoisin mushroom appetizer or smoked salmon & pesto filling, as soon as the filling is ready and dolloped into the fillo shells, they’ll be ready to serve! For these Light Pumpkin Queso Phyllo Bites, give them a very quick blast under the broiler to make sure that the cheese is gooey and hot.
If you’re serving these up at a Halloween or tailgating party and are a fan of beer, grab a pint of pumpkin ale to serve alongside the bites. Gooey cheese washed down with a smooth, spiced beer? Autumnal heaven!
Light Pumpkin Queso Phyllo Bites
- 30 Athens Mini Fillo Shells 2 boxes, 15 count each, defrosted
- 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling
- 1 chipotle pepper seeded & diced
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle pepper can
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 1/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- Preheat the broiler. Arrange the mini fillo shells on a baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth and cornstarch.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth mixture, pumpkin, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cumin, salt and pepper, and whisk until combined.
- Bring to a boil, whisking, and cook until the mixture is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the Cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
- Scoop about 1 ½ teaspoons of the queso into each fillo shell. Put under the broiler for 1 minute. Watch carefully so that the shells don’t burn.
- Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Athens Foods. All opinions are my own. This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!