It’s the American Thanksgiving, as I type this. So I missed the boat on that, but I’m posting this with plenty of time left until Christmas. Cheese balls are often enjoyed during the holidays. They can get pretty pricey, so why not make your own, and know exactly what goes into it? This is a vegan cheese, as the base is made of cashews. It’s so good. The ingredients are simple, but the process of making this cheese takes a few days. Well, 4 total actually. It’s worth the effort though, especially to share during the holidays with loved ones.
1 1/2 cup dry roasted salted cashews (soaked overnight)
2 /12 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
crushed walnuts, chopped chives and dill (for crust)
I’ll break this down into steps that you will do over the few days it takes to make.
- Soak the cashews in a large bowl with warm water. Leave overnight (at least 6 hours).
- Drain the cashews and place in a blender or food processor with lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and a 2 tbsp of water. Process until well combined and smooth. Add a a bit more water by the tsp if needed. You may need to stop the blending and use a spatula scrape sides.
- Lay two layers of cheese cloth on a flat surface. Pour the cashew mix onto the cheese cloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around the cheese mix until it is fully covered. Leave room at the ends of the cloth, as you will need this for the next step.
- With the loose ends of the cheese cloth, grab a wooden spoon and allow the cheese ball to hang down from the spoon. Use the loose ends of the cheese cloth to tie or wrap around the spoon. Ensure that the cheese ball is suspended from the spoon, down into the large bowl without touching the bottom of the bowl. This will ensure that moisture is removed. This is an important step. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set on the counter. Leave overnight (24 hours).
- Unwrap the cheese ball from the cheese cloth. It will still be a bit wet at this stage.
- Take two new layers of cheese cloth and transfer the cheese mixture onto the new cloths. Wrap just like you did last time, ensuring the cloth fully covers the cheese ball, and that you leave room for extra cloth to wrap or tie around the wooden spoon. Suspend the ball from the wooden spoon like before, and place over a large bowl. Ensure that the cheese ball does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Place the bowl in the fridge this time, uncovered. Leave overnight (24 hours).
- Unwrap the cheese from the cloth. Use your hands to roll into a ball, if it isn’t rounded enough already.
- Crush walnuts using a mortar and pestle, and chop the herbs.
- Lay the crust toppings on a flat surface and gently roll the cheese ball onto the toppings. Press lightly and the toppings will stick.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge, remove when ready to serve.