Vegan “Cheese” Ball

cheez_ball.jpg

My goal was to make a vegan “cheese” ball that contained no hydrogenated oils or isolated soy protein. After many months of experimentation, it’s finally done! The blended almonds, tofu and pine nuts create a velvety texture and taste that closely resembles that of real cream cheese. It was hard to get a mix of ingredients that would form a ball but also taste good. What amazed me was that it actually wound up tasting better than the real thing! GO TO RECIPE >

  • SusanV

    This looks amazing! As soon as I have time, I’m going to give this a try. Thanks for doing all the testing and posting the recipe!

  • http://www.vegocentric.com/ Vegocentric

    From the sample I made before rolling the ball, I think this will be a big hit at tonight’s party. Here’s my blog entry about it.

  • http://foodblog.jkvetter.com Jackie

    Josh:

    Way big hit at the New Year’s Eve party I took it to. And, you know what? Ken and I were the only vegan’s there, but everyone loved it. Great job with the recipe. I had a little issue with not getting enough of the water out of the toful, I think, but it was so good and went together really well. Plus, somehow it got smashed a little with my cooler lid :( so it was more square than round when I finally got to serve it, so I called it a vegan cheese square! :) All’s well that ends well and this certainly did.

    I’m going to do it again soon.

  • Mrs. Doodlepunk

    This looks SO good! Do you think frozen and thawed tofu would work in this recipe?

  • Josh

    Mrs. Doodlepunk, frozen and thawed tofu would not work. It would cause the tofu to become grainy and it would not have a smooth texture. I wouldn’t attempt it.

  • Josh

    Jackie, glad to hear everyone loved the cheez ball! What crackers did you serve with it?

  • http://foodblog.jkvetter.com Jackie

    I used Barbara’s Right Lite Rounds. (Kind of like a really clean ritz cracker) Also Barbara’s Saltines. I also served celery and carrots with it and that was delicious! One thing I did was to spread some cheese ball on a celery lenth, put a few raisins down it and that was so delicious!

  • Pingback: Our New Year’s Eve Contributions at From Jackie Vetter’s Kitchen

  • sammy

    I made the Cheez ball using whole almonds that I blanched and peeled myself. I just want to let others know that the cheez wasn’t completely smooth after blending it in 2 different food processors. It may have been because I started with whole almonds instead of slivered almonds. I did not try it in my vitamix blender which likely would have smoothed it better. It tasted great anyway and I will definitely make it again. I would like to try it with more seasonings, like garlic and herbs. Thanks so much for the recipe, Josh. I have made many recipes that don’t come out well, so it’s such a gift that you have tested and re-tested your recipes. I’m looking forward to more!

  • Josh

    Sammy, We used the kind of almonds that are called “chef ready”, they are blanched and slivered. I’ve tried blanching and peeling my own almonds and they never really worked. They never seemed to get tender. I hope you try the recipe with the chef ready slivered and blanched almonds, I specifically used Fishers, and report back. I’m sure you will have better results.

  • sammy

    Josh, where did you buy that brand? I have Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods nearby, as well as supermarkets.

  • Josh

    Sammy, I would think any grocery store would have them. Blue Diamond is another good brand. I got mine at Krogers.

  • Gina

    Just made this but used half the salt and upped the onion powder. Didn’t even make the ball, we just ate it straight on crackers or off a fork. This was INCREDIBLY delicious. Thanks!

    (But the slivered almonds were SO expensive!)

  • http://www.myvegancookbook.com/ My Vegan Cookbook

    Gina, This recipe can be expensive, it’s sort of a special occasion recipe. You could have rolled it into a log, which is a little faster I guess. tehe

  • Skinartia

    I just made this last night after oggling this recipe for months. Wow! Totally amazing. I let two (non-vegan) co-workers try it out today and they liked it too so I passed on the recipe.

    I used Vegetable Thins multi-grain crackers. Tres bien! It made for a very nice lunch. This is something I’m going to make again soon. :)

  • marilynjonas

    Your “cheese” ball was the a perfect appetizer for our vegan Christmas meal. It was very simple to make. held its shape, and everyone (even the grandparents) loved it. Can’t wait to try some of the variations.

  • Karl

    I want to try this, but don’t have a food processor. I might go buy one though.

  • Annie

    I used rosemary instead of chives, and it came out amaaaaazing. When I tell my friends I’m making a cheeze ball (which is rare because the nuts are expensive), they come running with knives and crackers in hand!

  • Karl

    So I finally got that food processor and I made this tonight! It’s cooling in the fridge overnight, but from what I tasted it’s really good! When I strained it, some of the tofu fell into the drain. Didn’t seem like a whole lot, just a few little pieces, but it was hard to measure how much of that mashed tofu in the strainer I had left. I added a little bit more then, so I am hoping that it turns out fine. Tastes good either way.

  • MIichelle

    Can this recipe be made without a food processor. I do not have one either.

  • http://www.myvegancookbook.com/ My Vegan Cookbook

    I don’t see any other way to do this without a food processor, unless maybe a mortar and pestle. I could only imagine the work that would be.

  • Dammes Hoogendijk

    This was amazing, I have been a vegetarian for over seven years, and became a full vegan in the summer of 2009, I have maintained a very simplistic diet, but when my sister in-law found this recipe and made it for me on my birthday, I was blown away. This is probably one of the best vegan appetizers I have ever tried. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share this.

  • SarahR

    Everyone loved this! I followed the recipe exactly and just added a bit of bacon bits. The flavor impressed my cheese eating husband and daughter! My only complaint is the texture of mine was a bit gummy. I think that would easily fix by not pressing so much of the liquid from the tofu. Thank you for sharing!!

  • tovie

    This was amazing! Wonderful taste and texture. I didn’t have any chives, so I added some garlic and smoked paprika. I think I’ll try horseradish next. I took it to a potluck and three people asked for the recipe.

    I did use silken extra firm tofu because that was what I had. I’m guessing that was why it wasn’t quite as firm as yours looks and wouldn’t quite mold into a ball. Next time I will get the right kind of tofu, but I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes and it firmed up enough I could roll it in the nuts. It drooped a bit but tasted wonderful.

  • gail

    i just wanted to write and thank you for this recipe…i have made it twice for get-togethers and everyone LOVES it! i tell them it’s your recipe and i’m thankful to have found it. trying the smokey cheddar ball today – can’t wait to try that one :)

  • Mel

    I bet you could get away with using almond meal or raw cashews instead. Trader Joes sells 1 lb bags of almond meal for just a couple of dollars. I’ve used that before when making a faux feta recipe. I’ve also substituted walnuts for pine nuts before since they tend to be pretty expensive too.

    I have all the ingredients on hand to make this today, so I think I’m going to try it with these substitutions and will let you know how it works out.

  • Lobsang Dechen

    This looks awesome! How long will it keep in the refridgerator?

  • http://www.myvegancookbook.com/ My Vegan Cookbook

    Lobsang, I’m guessing 4 or 5 days at the most. It’s never lasted more than a few hours with me, it’s gobbled up.; o

  • Akiko Fujishima

    Sounds great, but will definitely substitute something safe for the canola oil..