The cheese ball has been a staple at Christmas parties my entire life. I remember seeing a cheese ball covered in nuts at family gatherings every holiday season, surrounded by crackers and fruit. Where did the cheese ball come from, and why does it seem to pop up everywhere during the holidays? The very first printed cheese ball recipe appeared in a book called Food of My Friends by Virginia Safford, which was published in 1944. I haven’t seen or tried the original recipe but I’m pretty sure mine is a heck of a lot healthier and tastier. Introducing, my Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Cheese Ball Recipe.
How does a ball of blended cashews remain perfectly in-tact through all of that aggressive dipping and scooping? The trick is packing the blended ingredients into a tight ball and refrigerating it overnight. The chilling process makes this vegan cheese ball surprisingly sturdy, yet spreadable.
This cranberry pistachio loaded cheese ball is absolutely packed with flavor. Our cashew-based Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread, along with more soaked cashews, makes up the bulk of this vegan cheese ball. From there, it’s all about the add-ins. Dried cranberries add subtle sweetness, while fresh rosemary adds festive flavor. I added some nutritional yeast to boost the “cheesy” factor, but this is totally optional. If you skip it, you may find that you need a touch more lemon juice to achieve the perfect amount of tang.
It’s all downhill from here. Roll the cheese ball in a bowl of crushed pistachios, plop it on a plate, and serve with crackers. Done! This Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Cheese Ball would be a great appetizer to share on Thanksgiving – your guests are going to LOVE this one!
Ps. Let me know on Instagram if you make this recipe and what you thought of it!
Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Cheese Ball Recipe
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 container Plant Perks Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves only)
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ cup roasted & salted pistachio kernels, finely chopped or crushed
- Crackers, for serving
- Combine the cashews, Smoked Gouda Cheeze Spread, rosemary, dried cranberries, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add more nutritional yeast for a “cheesier” flavor, more lemon juice to brighten the flavor, or more rosemary for extra herby freshness.
- Place a mesh strainer over a bowl. Line the strainer with a thin towel or cheesecloth. Scoop the vegan cheese ball mixture into the cloth and tightly twist the top closed. Secure with a rubber band and refrigerate the vegan cheese ball in the strainer/bowl overnight.
- When ready to serve, unwrap the cheese ball and use your hands to lightly form it into a perfect sphere. Place the crushed pistachios in a shallow bowl and roll the vegan cheese ball around to coat on all sides.
- Transfer the vegan cheese ball to a platter and serve with crackers.