This is the best vegan cheese ball recipe because it’s infused with sautéed sage and rolled in toasted pecans, chopped green onions, and even dried cranberries. The combination of flavors is limitless, but this is one to return to time after time. Serve with crispy bread, pita chips, or crackers.
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 vegan 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 Vegan Cheese Ball. It’s my favorite holiday appetizer!
Vegan Cheese Ball Recipes
This is not my first rodeo when it comes to vegan cheese balls. In fact, one of my favorites is this Vegan Jalapeño Havarti Cheese Ball. There’s a bit of a kick, but the candied pecans dials that back some.
I have a 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 day.
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.
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!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Vegan butter
- Fresh sage leaves
- Vegan cream cheese
- Daiya Block Style cheese
- Green onions
- Sea salt
How to Make Vegan Cheese Balls
It’s so easy to make a vegetarian cheese ball recipe:
- First, we’ll toast some pecans in the oven. Then we’ll cook some sage and garlic in vegan butter.
- Finally, we’ll add the vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, butter, sage, and garlic in a food processor and pulse it all together. Finally, we’ll be shaping it into a ball and placing it in the fridge to firm up.
- Regarding Toppings. I really love using toasted pecans combined with chopped green onions. However, you can skip this step and use dried cranberries for a colorful and tasty display!
- Fresh or Dried Herbs. I love using fresh sage, but if you don’t have that handy, dried rubbed sage works great too.
- Vegan Cream Cheese. I have used both Tofutti and Daiya vegan cream cheese with this recipe and it has turned out great!
- Vegan cheese. I use Daiya blocks. You can use any of their flavors in this recipe — cheddar, Monterey jack, jalapeño havarti, or smoked gouda.
- Marbled Cheese Balls. Don’t over process the ingredients. It’s nice to see bits of the pecans and green onions throughout the vegan cheeseball.
- Firming Things Up. The mixture straight from the food processor may be on the runny side. It will firm up as it chills.
Serve the cheeseball immediately with crackers or place back in the fridge to serve later.
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. Now, I love vegan cheese ball recipes just as much or even more as the old variety. How cool is that!
So here I am imploring you to try this vegan cheese ball recipe. We loved it. Cheese lovers love it. I think you will too! Vegetarian cheese balls are easy to make and something everyone will love!
OK. That’s it for this vegan cheese balls recipe.
Vegan Cheese Ball
- 3/4 cup pecans chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 15 fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage)
- 2 small cloves garlic , peeled and chopped
- 8 oz container of vegan cream cheese
- 7 oz package of Daiya Block Style cheese chopped or shredded (see note)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- crackers for serving
Toasted Nuts and Seeds
- Preheat your oven to 300F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place pecans on the pan, spreading them about. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted. Do not overbake, as nuts can burn easily.
Sauté Herbs and Garlic
- Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle, add the fresh sage leaves (or dried sage). Toss in the melted butter to combine and cook the leaves until crispy. Reduce heat to medium-low and add choped garlic. Cook for approximately 1 minute until tender. Remove from heat.
Make the Cheeseball
- Place the vegan cream cheese, chopped or shredded Daiya cheese, salt, and contents from the skillet in a food processor bowl. Pulse several times. Then use a spatula to push down ingredients from the side of the bowl and to break up any large chunks. Pulse several times again. Repeat until the mixture is combined and mostly smooth. Add 1/3 cup toasted pecans and half of the chopped green onions and pulse again until broken down, but leaving bits throughout the cheeseball.
- Tear off a piece of plastic wrap and place it on the counter. Use a spatula to transfer ingredients from the food processor onto the plastic wrap. It will look like a gooey mess, and that's ok. Wrap the plastic wrap up tight and place it in a small bowl. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 30- 40 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare your topping. Place remaining toasted pecans on a chopping board and chop into fine bits. Add remaining chopped green onions. Alternatively, use dried cranberries.
- Once the cheseball has firmed up, remove it from the fridge. Take off the plastic wrap and transfer to a serving plate or tray. Use your hands or the back of a spoon to shape into a ball. Cover the outside of cheese ball with prepared topping, pressing the ingredients into the cheeseball.
- Serve immediately with crackers. Cover any leftovers in an airtight container or with foil and refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge up to 5 days.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
If you like this recipe, you might want to check these out as well: this Date Cheese Ball by Vegetarian Times looks delish! Or you can try some of my favorite recipes like this Avocado Jalapeño Grilled Cheese Sandwich or my Velvet Vegan Cheese Sauce.
This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2020.