Food and Nutrition

3 Vegan Cheese Ball Recipes That Will Be the Star of the Snack Table

Zoe Weiner

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Photo: Getty Images/StephanieFrey
Despite what the internet and your Great Aunt Mildred may have you believe, “holiday treats” and “healthy eating” don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are plenty of delicious-and-nutritious holiday swaps for sugary cookies and cakes, but there’s one holiday staple that, until now, was hard to hack: The cheese ball.

Admittedly, a self-proclaimed “ball of cheese” (that is often dipped in a hefty coating of bacon) doesn’t exactly scream “good for you!” especially when there’s a perfectly good veggie plate a few inches to the left. But, c’mon—they’re pretty dang delicious, and thanks to the protein-packed vegan alternative—cashew cheese—there are plenty of ways to enjoy the cheesy hunk of deliciousness you’ve always loved without the actual cheese part of it. Woohoo!

Scroll through for some of our favorite vegan recipes from around the internet sure to make you the star of any holiday potluck, where people will have a hard time believing that what you’re serving up isn’t actually the real deal.

Spicy Vegan Pimento Cheese Ball

A new twist on the old classic…with a kick. This recipe requires only 10 ingredients, plus your handy-dandy food processor, and will leave you with a creamy-yet-spicy edible holiday centerpiece. In lieu of cheese, the vegan version uses nutritional yeast, and amps up the flavor with garlic, smoked paprika, pimento peppers, and cayenne pepper (which, FWIW, may have metabolism-boosting properties, among other benefits worth getting amped up about). Yum, yum, yum. Full recipe at Minimalist Baker.

Cranberry Thyme Vegan Cheese Ball

For a sweet-savory combo, why not try a cheese ball rolled in cranberry? Combine cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, and white miso paste with garlic, salt and thyme, then blend it all together before molding it into a ball. For the finishing touch, cover it in dried cranberries. Serve it with your favorite crackers, or my personal favorite cheese accompaniment, some apple slices. But beware—this one will get gobbled up quickly. Full recipe at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Ball

No nuts? No problem. Blend your favorite vegan cheeses (The Pretty Bee’s recipe calls for Daiya Cream Cheese and Daiya Jalapeno Havarti) with vegan buttery spread, plus some garlic and cumin. Roll it in the seeds of your choice, and watch the whole gang enjoy—whether they’re dairy-and-nut-free or not. Full recipe at The Pretty Bee

For more healthy twists on your holiday favorites, check out W+G editors’ go-to ingredient swaps for feasting this time of year. And here’s how to deal with food shaming around the holidays if your family doesn’t totally get your dietary choices. 

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