I was in Texas this past weekend and had a mini Thanksgiving gathering with my family, so naturally Bummed Out Baker had to step in to cook up something vegan to force upon my super-Texan, meat-eating loved ones: a cheese ball in the shape of a pumpkin. I also reprised my vegan, gluten-free cornbread casserole for the occasion.
Alright so today’s recipe is an inclusive, on-theme appetizer for any Thanksgiving get together you may be going to this week. Why is it inclusive?
- It’s vegan, which means both meat-eaters and herbivores can enjoy it.
- It’s vegan, which means loved ones who are pregnant can partake in soft cheese consumption without worry.
My sister in-law is pregnant and I basically chased her around with this vegan cheese ball all night and then sent her home with a tupperware full of leftover cheese ball. Find comedic footage of her enjoying the cheese ball in my Instagram stories. #INCLUSION #AMYSVEGANCHEESEBALL
2 c cashews
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t garlic powder
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t sea salt
2 T olive oil
4 oz vegan cream cheese (i.e., Kite Hill, Daiya)
1 4 oz jar pimento peppers, drained
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T nutritional yeast
1 t paprika
1 t chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch sea salt
PRO TIP! Have you ever looked at my stuff and wondered How the heck does Bailey afford all these dang organic cashews? I buy them for a song at Costco. I also buy about ten pounds in one trip because the Costco I go to is nightmarish and I try to avoid it. :)
This recipe can be made in one day over the course of seven hours, or you can break it up into two days like I did.
- In a bowl, cover cashews with water and soak for six hours. If you’re in a rush, you can cover the cashews in boiling hot water and soak for one hour. Drain cashews and set aside.
- In a food processor or blender combine cashews, garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and olive oil, blending until creamy and smooth. Scrape down sides as needed.
- Add vegan cream cheese, pimento peppers, paprika and cayenne. Blend again until creamy and smooth.
- Give the cheese mixture a taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest, nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, paprika, or cayenne. This should be flavorful, so don’t be shy!
- In a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, layer two layers of cheesecloth or one thin, clean tea towel. Using a spatula, scoop the cheese mixture onto the cheesecloth. Gather the corners and twist the top of the cheesecloth or towel gently to form the cheese into a ball or disc shape and secure with a rubber band.
- Refrigerate for at least six hours (up to 24). The cheese ball should then be semi-firm to the touch. You likely won’t see liquid in the bowl as the cheesecloth absorbs moisture.
- Unwrap from cheesecloth and invert cheese ball onto a serving platter.
- Mix together coating spices and gently roll the cheese ball around until coated.
- Top with the stem of a bell pepper to make the cheese ball look like a pumpkin.
- Serve with crackers, chips, or veggies!
The cheese ball will hold its form for a few hours out of the refrigerator and is best when chilled. In an airtight container, leftovers keep up to five days in the refrigerator.
#CHEESEBALL serves many loved ones, party people, children, meat eaters, and vegetarians.
Adapted from Spicy Vegan Pimento Cheese Ball.
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