Sage and Gouda Vegan Cheese Ball

It’s the holiday season, so woopdy doo and fiddly dee. Oh. Sorry. I didn’t see you there. I was just singing along to some of my favorite holiday music. I can’t decide what I like the most about the holidays — the music, the lights, or the food. Oh, of course, the food has to rank high on my list. When else do you have an excuse to munch on sugar cookies, chocolate covered peanut butter balls and fruitcake without guilt? Oh wait. I’ll probably pass on the fruitcake. But you know what I won’t pass on? This Sage and Gouda Vegan Cheese Ball. It’s my new favorite holiday appetizer!

Festive Vegan Cheese Ball flavored with crispy sage, vegan gouda cheese, and covered with chopped craisins to add the perfect hint of sweetness. It's our favorite cheese ball ever!

I have a new theory to share with you. December is just one, big l-o-o-o-o-ng Sunday. Think about it. Both have football, shopping, and people opting to eat whatever they want, because, you know they’re planning to start a diet the next. For people living on a Sunday, their diet will begin on Monday. For people who find themselves in December, well, they can eat to their heart’s content because they’re planning a kick-ass diet in January! See? There’s a lot of commonality there.

Sage and Gouda Vegan Cheese Ball for your favorite vegan recipes for the holidays!

What I love about this Vegan Cheese Ball

Remember how I told you before that I love sharing vegan recipes with non-vegan folks and having them look at me with surprise and say, “This is vegan?” It makes me little heart patter. Well, that happened with this recipe. I have a friend, Rhondda, who is a self ascribed cheese aficionado. And based on what she’s told me, she hasn’t been too impressed with the non-dairy variety, at least not until she tried this vegan cheese ball. “Oh, Marly,” she said after just one bite, “this is good. Really, really good.”

So I love how flavorful this vegan cheese ball is with its crispy sage, salty pistachios, and the sweet chopped craisins encrusting the outside. It really makes for a delicious appetizer.

This recipe is the poster child for vegan food that is tasty too. I can’t tell you how many people I meet that seem to think vegan food is bland or boring. I’m here to say that’s not so!

These Vegan Cheese Ball is easy to make and this collage of process photos proves the point!

Why You Should Give Vegan Cheese a Chance

Look, it used to be true that vegan cheese wasn’t so great. It didn’t melt well and even if it did, the taste wasn’t worth eating anyway. But there’s no denying that people love cheese and it’s one reason a lot of folks won’t even consider a vegan diet. They can’t imagine giving up cheese.

I will confess I was in that category for years.

Here’s what I have to say about it after finally giving up dairy-based cheeses: I WILL NEVER GO BACK!

That’s not yelling, it’s excited enthusiasm. There’s a local restaurant that serves vegan pizza and one time I ordered my vegan pizza and they accidentally put dairy-based mozzarella on it. In the dark restaurant I didn’t see the difference, but all it took was one bite and I knew something was up. It tasted awful.

That’s right – that dairy-based cheese that was SO HARD for me to give up now tasted bad.

That’s how malleable taste buds are.

This delicious craisin encrusted vegan cheese ball is served with smokey, gluten-free crackers. You're gonna love it!

So here I am imploring you to try this recipe. We loved it. Cheese lovers love it. I think you will too! You know what would make me happier than you actually trying this recipe? You sharing a photo of it on Instagram or Twitter with #NamelyMarly so I can see it too.

OK. That’s it for today’s post. Share this recipe with your friends or leave a comment below about why you love (or even hate) non-dairy cheese. I’m looking forward to the discussion!

5 from 1 vote
Sage and Gouda Vegan Cheese Ball Recipe
Smoked Cheese and Sage Vegan Cheeseball
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
You're gonna love this Vegan Cheese Ball with crispy sage and pistachios encrusted with chopped craisins. A vegan cheese ball everyone will love!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 331 kcal
Author: Namely Marly
  1. Place the margarine in a skillet over medium heat. As soon as the margarine starts to sizzle, add the 10 of the fresh sage leaves, toss in the melted margarine to combine and cook the leaves until crispy. Use a spatula or tongs to remove from the margarine and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Set the skillet on a back burner, to allow the sage-infused margarine to cool.
  2. In the meantime, place the pumpkin seeds and pistachios on a tray and heat in your toaster oven or oven for about 5 minutes on 200F. Alternatively you could toast these in a separate skillet than the one used in step one above.
  3. Next place the vegan cream cheese, chopped or shredded Daiya cheese, salt, crispy sage, toasted pumpkin seeds and pistachios, and the sage infused margarine leftover from your skillet in a food processor. Pulse for a second or two and then stir to combine, using your spatula to break up any larger chunks. Repeat this process until the mixture is combined. I like leaving chunks of the ingredients rather than pulverizing to a fine consistency.
  4. Add a few sprigs of the fresh sage to the mixture as you place it on a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Mold this into a ball and place in the fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, chop the craisins and after the cheese ball has firmed up, and you've molded it into more of a ball shape, add the craisins around the outside of the cheeseball.
  6. Serve immediately with crackers or place back in the fridge to serve later.
Nutrition Facts
Smoked Cheese and Sage Vegan Cheeseball
Amount Per Serving
Calories 331 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 35%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 701mg 29%
Potassium 47mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 14g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 3.9%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 5.4%
Iron 7.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you like this recipe, you might want to check these out as well:

Whatever recipe you’re working on, enjoy!

Updated by Marly · Permalink

17 Responses to Sage and Gouda Vegan Cheese Ball

  1. This looks fabulous! I might not even miss the cheese 😉

  2. Ohhh goodness, this looks amazing! I’m still finding that cheese is hard to give up, but this could change my mind!

  3. this recipe has convinced me to give it another try – I’ve tried vegan “cheese” before and was not that impressed, but this looks incredible

    • Oh, that’s a lot of pressure Heather. I’ve shared it with lots of people and everyone has loved it so far. I sure hope you will too! 🙂

  4. I was amazed. This has the rich aroma of smoked gouda, the mouth-feel of real cheese. It tasted grrrreat. I am going to (sshhh!) adapt this recipe three ways (probably herb and shallots for one and nuts for the other) and take it for a Solstice gathering of family and friends. I hope I can find the vegan smoked gouda….

    • If you click the Daiya link in the ingredients list above, there is a zip code locator to find a local market that carries it. Marly, what brand of vegan cream cheese did you use for the batch I tasted? I am going to make those Stealth Cheese Balls this weekend 😉

    • Hi Rhondda! Thanks for adding that point about the zip code. Great idea. I used Tofutti Cream Cheese – that’s the link to the specific variety of their cream cheese I used. I think it has the best consistency of the ones I’ve tried.

    • Ooh, love your adaptations! Herb and shallots? Yum! Well, you know, if you can’t find the vegan smoked gouda, you could always add a little smoke sauce to the mixture and just choose whatever variety of block vegan cheese they have at the store. I can find Daiya at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, and our local whole food grocery store which is now called Natural Grocers. Happy Winter Solstice!!

    • Hunh. Neither HyVee nor PriceChopper came up in the zip code search. I did see WholeFoods in OPKS but that’s quite far…I am going to cross my fingers and try the HyVee in Mission.

      What I can’t understand is why Nature’s Own in midtown doesn’t have it; you’d think they would…Tsk tsk.

  5. This vegan cheese ball looks incredibly delicious! I have never made a cheese ball but after seeing this post, it is definitely something I need to make for the holidays.

    • That’s awesome Thalia! I hope you love it as much as we do. We having people over tonight and I’m making it…again! 🙂

  6. I really miss cream cheese, and cheese balls, but don’t like the taste of any vegan cream cheeses, do you think this would change my mind?

    • Hi Kay. It’s impossible to say for sure, but all I CAN say is that I shared this with friends and they all loved it. Raved about it. I even have one friend who is a cheese enthusiast who said she wasn’t so fond of vegan cheese either…and she loved it. Will you let me know if you give it a try? I really recommend The Tofutti Brand Cream Cheese. It seems to be the best one for flavor and consistency.

  7. Has anyone made this ahead and then frozen? For travel purposes? I really want to make it for Christmas!

    • Hi Shannon. I haven’t frozen this cheese ball before, but what I’m wondering is if you could pack the ingredients in one of those bags that keeps things cool (and throw in an ice pack or two) and then you could make it there. I have done that with vegan cheeses before and it’s been fine for travel. Let me know how it goes!! 🙂

  8. I keep reading the recipe over and over and can’t figure out when the toasted seeds and nuts are incorporated. Also do you use the leftover sage oil in the recipe?

    • Hi Karen – thanks so much for this feedback. I adapted the instructions to make things more clear. ♡


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