Can you believe I have never actually had a cheese ball until I made my first vegan cheese ball just the other day? True story.
So let’s see, what are the cheese ball requirements. Smooth and creamy, check. Flavourful and addictive, check. Festive colours, check. Easy to make (and can be made ahead of time), check. Want to devour the whole thing immediately, double check. Welcome Cranberry & Thyme Vegan Cheese Ball, you are my new favourite addition to the appetizer table.
So it’s true, I am new to the world of cheese balls. I experimented with one for my family Christmas the other day, and while it turned out pretty darn tasty, it some how seemed to absorb the colour of the pecans I used, and turned kind of a pâté brown. Yuck.
Then when I went to sample some, a family member warned me not to eat it because it was meat. Haha! Regardless of the funny colour, the whole thing was devoured, and considering there are only 3 vegans in my family of 44 people this year, that means a lot of omnis were digging it too (and thinking it was meat apparently).
So I knew I had something, I just had to improve it. A little experimenting in the kitchen, skip the pecans, and welcome to this ridiculously good cheese ball love. The colour is a creamy soft yellow with little specks of green thyme throughout, and the cranberries on the outside make it super pretty. No yucky brown going on here.
The flavour took several steps up too. The combo of the cashews and coconut oil make it so smooth and creamy, it’s kind of ridiculous, and lemon, miso paste, and nutritional yeast add a gorgeous zing of flavour. Agh! I want it now. I am just so totally into it, and really had to fight myself from polishing off this entire ball mid photoshoot.
Now onto news on the social media front: I finally joined the world of Snapchat! At first I was like, “really, more social media I have to manage?” Then I started playing around with it, and it’s actually kind of my new favourite thing. It’s a super fun way to document the behind the scenes of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, and sometimes I even video myself saying awkward things, so lucky you! Follow me on Snapchat with my username bonappetegan. Here are some photos of what’s been going down on my Snapchat the last few days.
Yeah, you’re jealous of my pumpkin pie for breakfast, I know it.
So lets get making this cheese ball! You can either boil the cashews for 10 minutes or soak them for about 4 hours until they are nice and tender. Then just drain the cashews and add to a food processor along with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, white miso paste, garlic, and salt.
Blend until very smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Now add the thyme leaves and blend to combine. Cheese done. See, so easy peasy.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, and scoop the cheese mixture into the bowl. Gather up the sides of the plastic wrap and twist to form a ball. Let the cheese ball firm up in the freezer for about an hour, or for a couple of hours in the fridge.
Then it will look something like this. The magic of coconut oil, ooooh ahhhh.
Remove the now firm cheese ball from the plastic wrap, and press the cranberries onto the outside of the ball. You can try to do this with handfuls of cranberries, but I found it easiest to just take my time and press in one cranberry at a time. It really didn’t take that long.
Tah dah! If your ball is kind of a funny shape, you can lightly pat it into a rounder shape. Serve it right away, or just store it covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve. You can definitely make this ahead of time. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve with crackers.
- 1 Cup Raw Cashews
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 2 teaspoons White Miso Paste
- 1 Clove Garlic
- ¼ teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
- You can either boil or soak the cashews. To boil the cashews: add the cashews to a small pot, cover with water, and boil for about 10 minutes until the cashews are very tender. To soak the cashews: add the cashews to a bowl, and cover with water. Let soak for 4 hours or longer until tender.
- Drain the cashews and add to a food processor along with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, white miso paste, garlic, and salt. Blend until very smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Remove the thyme leaves from the stems, add them to the food processor and blend to combine.
- Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, and scoop the cheese mixture into the bowl. Gather up the sides of the plastic wrap and twist to form a ball. Let the cheese ball firm up in the freezer for about an hour, or for a couple of hours in the fridge.
- Remove the now firm cheese ball from the plastic wrap, and press the cranberries onto the outside of the ball. You can also lightly press the ball to get a rounder shape if desired. You can serve it right away, or keep the cheese ball covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve with crackers.