Cashew Cheese Ball

cashewcheese_headerCheese balls are a crowd favorite–especially in the fall and winter months. But they’re not always the healthiest option on the table. Take a crack at making your own updated version–replacing cheese with cashews. It’s a perfectly easy, lactose-free alternative for the upcoming holidays.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least
  • 2 hours or overnight
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or dill
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Handful of finely chopped raw almonds or pine nuts, or handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, for topping

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and drain the cashews. Place in a food processor, and process on high speed until crumbs form. Add the yeast, miso paste, garlic, lemon juice, basil, and onion powder, and mix on high speed to make a smooth paste. Season with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around the mixture, forming it into a ball, and twist the top, squeezing out as much moisture as possible.
  3. Tuck the ends of the cheesecloth underneath the ball, and place it in a colander.
  4. Suspend the colander in a larger bowl, and transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 2 hours, until the liquid no longer drips and the ball holds its shape.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts on a plate. Unwrap the cheese ball, and roll in the chopped nuts until fully encrusted. Serve with crackers.