This vegan cheese ball is rich, creamy, and makes a perfect party appetizer! Made with cashew cheese flavored with Dijon mustard and a hint of maple syrup, you'd never guess it was dairy-free!
I've wanted to create a vegan cheese ball (cheez ball?) recipe for a while. I thought it would be fun, as there's lots you can do with cashew cheese. I was also sure I could create something at least as tasty as any dairy cheese ball.
Well, this cashew cheese ball did not disappoint! In fact, I've made this a few times since creating the recipe and taken it to a number of gatherings where it was enjoyed by vegans as well as non-vegans (who were mostly pretty incredulous to the fact that this cheese ball was dairy-free!). This is by far one of my favorite vegan appetizer recipes!
What You'll Need
- Raw cashews. They absolutely need to be raw for this recipe. Roasted cashews will totally mess with the flavor! Also try to remember to soak them in water for a few hours to soften them up for blending. If you forget, they can be boiled for about 15 minutes instead, though they won't blend up quite as smooth.
- Dijon mustard. Preferably use whole grain Dijon. I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's brand.
- Nutritional yeast flakes. Look for these in the natural foods section of your supermarket.
- Coconut oil. Be sure to use refined coconut oil if you want to avoid your cheese ball tasting at all like coconut. Unrefined works fine if you don't mind coconut flavor (I actually don't mind it in this recipe, but I love coconut).
- Maple syrup.
- Pecans. Feel free to substitute with another type of nut such as walnuts or hazelnuts, or even dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, if you prefer.
How to Make a Vegan Cheese Ball
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
- Place your cashews, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, and salt into a food processor or blender.
- Blend everything together until smooth. Be patient! This can take a while, especially if you're not using a high-powered blending device.
- Transfer the cashew mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap, then wrap it up and shape it into a ball. It will be soft at this point, so it might not get perfectly round — that's fine!
- Place the cheese ball in the fridge to chill and firm up.
- Once your cheese ball is set, take it out of the fridge and unwrap it. Roll it in chopped pecans. You can gently adjust the shape to make it rounder as you do this.
- At this point you can wrap your cheese ball back up and chill it for later, or serve it immediately.
Shelf-Life & Storage
This vegan cheese ball will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, I haven't found one yet. The coconut oil is what helps to solidify your cheese ball by going form liquid to solid state when chilled. While your cheese ball won't firm up without it, you could leave it out and turn this recipe into a delicious vegan cheese dip.
Raw sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts might work (they often do in recipes like this), but I haven't tried either one in this particular recipe, so I can't guarantee results.
More Vegan Cheese Recipes
- Vegan Ricotta Cheese
- Nacho Sweet Potato Cheese
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Need more guidance on how to make a cashew cheese ball? Check out my video!
Maple Dijon Vegan Cheese Ball
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup chopped pecans
Place the cashews, mustard, nutritional yeast, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Taste-test the mixture and make any adjustments to suit your taste.
Transfer the mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap. Gently wrap plastic around the mixture and press it into a ball shape*. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Gently peel away the plastic wrap and transfer the ball to a plate. Press pecan pieces into the surface, reshaping gently as needed.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, bread or veggies.
*It will be too soft to get it perfectly round at this point. Don't worry about that! You can adjust the shape later.