This Vegan Cheese Ball with Herbs is a make-ahead party appetizer that is sure to please a crowd! It is rich, creamy, spreadable, and full of fresh herb flavor.
I had an earth shattering realization this week: not every human being has had the opportunity to experience the great food invention that is the modern day cheese ball. Depending on where you live, the cheese ball may not even be a thing at all. You may have never heard of this Crown Jewel of the holiday appetizer tray, or have experienced it in all of its cheesy, creamy, spreadable glory.
This newfound understanding occurred when a friend happened to ask what recipes I was making this week. I promptly and ecstatically answer a CHEESE BALL, to which this friend asked the formidable question, “What is a cheese…… ball?” with such complete and utter confusion.
As someone who lives in the small town Inland Northwest, just a stones throw away from the Midwest with all of its questionable (albeit delicious) foodie traditions, we have a share of our strange food concoctions as well, the holiday cheese ball being our pride. I never once questioned that there was a place where this most beloved of all food traditions did not exist. So today, I present you with the cheese ball, and bless the internet for allowing me to spread the word about this missing appetizer and fill the spherical shaped whole in your heart that can only be filled by the cheese ball.
The cheese ball is basically a ball made of cheese. Equally parts strange and delicious. It is a semi-soft spreadable cheese that is flavored with anything from cranberries to herbs and rolled in your nuts of choice. From there, it is presented in a place of glory on the holiday appetizer tray with some crackers as vehicles to get the soft, tangy, creamy, crunch, cheese into your mouth.
With that being said, the civilized cheeseball eaters of the world choose to use a quaint and proper little cheese knife to spread the cheese onto their cracker munching away. I for one, and my family, prefer the more barbaric but efficient method of dipping a cracker straight into the ball and omitting the step of the knife. You might be left with a crumb or two of cracker on the ball, but with the knife stepped skipped, that is a few seconds quicker that you can be eating. And when you love food as much as we do, waiting those few seconds, is years in foodie years.
At this point, if you are raising your eyebrows or scrunching up your nose with looks and thoughts of confusion because you know this blog is not one that cooks with foods of the dairy variety, you are right to question me. This is a vegan cheese ball. Before I dropped the vegan cheese ball on you, I needed you safely in the pro-cheese ball territory. Now that you are here, take one step closer into the pro not-so-cheesy cheese ball territory.
This is a territory where creamy cashews, cheesy nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs combine with a pinch or two of magic to make the cheesiest not-cheese ball you could dare to imagine. It is every bit as spreadable, creamy, dreamy, herb-flavored, nut-coated as the the cheese ball variety that is actually made of, well, cheese.
Ditch that cheese knife and dive on in.
- 2 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight
- 1 tablespoon chickpea miso OR gluten-free mellow white miso
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Drain and rinse the cashews. Add them into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Add in the miso, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, water, garlic, and salt. Process until super smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl and stir in the herbs.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line it with cheese cloth or a thin dish towel. Spoon the cheese mixture into the cheesecloth. Gather the corners and twist the top gently to form the cheese into a round ball. Place in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, unwrap the cheeseball and form into more of a ball shape with your hands, if needed. Using your hands, press the chopped walnuts into the cheeseball to cover. Serve with your favorite crackers.