Recipe: Pumpkin-Shaped Vegan Cheese Ball

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.

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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?

  1. It’s vegan, which means both meat-eaters and herbivores can enjoy it.
  2. 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

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Ingredients

Cheese Ball
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 HillDaiya)
1 4 oz jar pimento peppers, drained
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Coating
1 T nutritional yeast
1 t paprika
1 t chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch sea salt

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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. :)

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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.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add vegan cream cheese, pimento peppers, paprika and cayenne. Blend again until creamy and smooth.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.IMG_3310
  7. Unwrap from cheesecloth and invert cheese ball onto a serving platter.
  8. Mix together coating spices and gently roll the cheese ball around until coated.
  9. Top with the stem of a bell pepper to make the cheese ball look like a pumpkin.
  10. 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.

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I am thankful for my festive parents, Keith and Stace. Cheers!

#CHEESEBALL serves many loved ones, party people, children, meat eaters, and vegetarians.

Adapted from Spicy Vegan Pimento Cheese Ball.


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