Ah, the Holiday Cheese Ball. When you’re standing around snacking on it at a family gathering, you feel like you’ve got the most coveted spot in the kitchen. If you take this to a real live potluck, you’d better guard it fiercely so it doesn’t simply disappear while your back is turned, leaving you cheeseless and forlorn.
Thankfully, this is a virtual potluck, so nobody can hork this from me. Though, I have to admit to scrambling at the last minute to put this post together since the last cheese ball I made disappeared in the middle of the night last week. Apparently, I’m not the only one in this house who is obsessed with it. Luckily, the recipe is ridiculously simple with only about 10 minutes of hands on time.
You can serve the cheese ball with any of your favorite raw vegetables, we even put sliced honey crisp apples on our tray, the combination of the sweet crisp apples and the piquant cheese was amazing.
The cheese ball is also incredibly good with crackers, raw or otherwise.
Kick Ace Extra Sharp Raw Vegan Holiday Cheddar Cheese Ball
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked in purified water overnight
- 2 packed tablespoons dry pack sun-dried tomatoes, snipped into small pieces with kitchen scissors then soaked in the purified water with the cashews. Note: if your sun-dried tomatoes look brownish, so will your cheese ball. Use fresh, bright red sun-dried tomatoes for best results.
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)
- 1 heaped tablespoon mellow white miso (use chickpea miso if you are sensitive to soy)
- 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- dash cayenne
- 1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, warmed to room temperature (liquid)
Pour the soaking water off the cashews and sun-dried tomatoes and then rinse them with fresh purified water. Drain well.
Place the soaked cashews, sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, dry sherry, miso, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, onion powder, mustard powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne, and coconut oil in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until the mixture starts to form a paste, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Blend or process until the mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. If your food processor or blender is struggling to blend the mixture, add purified water, 1 tablespoon at a time to help it to keep turning over, using no more than 3 tablespoons of water. This process takes up to 10 minutes in a food processor and a few minutes in a high-speed blender.
Scrape the soft cheese into a container that holds at least 2 cups. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until the cheese is quite firm. Scrape the cheese out of the container and place onto a clean surface. With your hands, form the cheese into one large ball or two or more smaller balls.
See notes below for topping/variation ideas.
Notes: The organic unrefined coconut oil does leave a slight coconut flavor in the finished product. If you prefer, you can use refined coconut oil for no coconut aftertaste.
The cheese ball can be served as is or rolled in any variety of chopped nuts and or herbs. I used sliced almonds, but walnut pieces or pecan pieces with some fresh minced parsley, thyme or sage would be amazing.
The cheese ball gets softer as it reaches room temperature, so it’s best if it’s kept chilled until immediately before use.
If you are in a hurry to get this cheese ball on the table, Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows made an adapted version of my cheese ball (only available in her e-book). In her very similar version, she places the cheese mixture in a parchment lined baking dish and freezes it for 30 minutes before rolling it into a ball. I’ve tried this and it works very well.
A word about coconut oil: I have had many readers ask if this cheese ball can be made without the coconut oil. You are welcome to try it, but I DO NOT recommend it. The oil adds a beautiful melty mouth-feel to the cheese ball, helps it to firm up and makes it taste ultra-delicious. This was never intended to be a low calorie or fat free food, indeed the cashews alone are very high in fat. This cheese ball was created especially for Holiday or other special occasions and it is to be treated as a special occasion food. I have had readers reduce the oil by half with favorable results and you are welcome to try the same if you are concerned about the fat content, but this will still be a very rich and high fat food. If you are strictly opposed to oil for whatever reason, you could try using coconut butter instead of the oil, but I haven’t tested that in my kitchen. For those allergic to coconut oil, you could try palm oil instead, but there are concerns about whether or not this is a sustainable product, so please do your research first.
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