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pistachio crusted cashew cheeseball

I never wanted to venture down the road of making my own vegan cheese. But after purchasing a few different brands of nut cheeses in the U.S. and going on a binge, I thought “it can’t be that hard!”. Surprisingly, it isn’t. I’m a huge fan of dips and foods you can put on a crackers and breads, and this recipe definitely trumps most spreads! So try out this recipe for a pistachio crusted cashew cheeseball, it’s super delicious and you will be very impressive if you serve this at your next dinner party!

NOTE: you don’t have to use the vegan probiotic, but this is what will help give it more of a “cheesy flavor”. Plus if you already take probiotics on the regular, then you have exactly what you need in the fridge! It’s activated by the fermented miso paste in the mixture and works its bacteria magic in the first phase when the cheese is sitting in a slightly warm/room temperature environment. I’ve also updated the written recipe for this cashew cheeseball with a large version and a smaller version with slightly different amounts of ingredients.

pistachio crusted cheeseball_hot for food
5 from 1 vote
Print Recipe

pistachio crusted cashew cheeseball

One bite of this cashew cheeseball and you'll never think of the real thing again!

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword appetizer, cashew cheese, cheese, vegan cheese
Prep Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 2 days 7 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Author Lauren Toyota

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 C raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water
  • 2/3 C fresh filtered water
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 2 capsules vegan probiotic powder (10 billion CFU)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or white pepper)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill fronds
  • 1/3 C shelled salted pistachios, finely chopped

for a smaller cheeseball (2 to 4 people)

  • 1 1/2 C raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water
  • 1/2 C fresh filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 capsule vegan probiotic powder (10 billion CFU)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (or white pepper)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh dill fronds
  • 1/4 C shelled salted pistachios, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Drain the soaking water from the cashews and rinse them in fresh water. 

  2. In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine cashews, fresh filtered water, miso paste, probiotic powder, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper until smooth. Be patient, the mixture will get smooth eventually with a little manual labor helping it along. Just stop the food processor or blender every so often and push the mixture off of the sides with a spatula.

  3. Once the mixture is smooth, add in the dill and basil through the feeding tube at the top while the machine is running. If you're using a high-powered blender, stir the finely chopped herbs into the mixture by hand so that it doesn't turn the cheese light green!

  4. Empty the mixture into 2 layers of cheesecloth. Make sure the cheesecloth is cut big enough to cover the entire cheeseball and have some excess at the top. Tie the excess ends at the top around a wooden spoon or something that can suspend the cheeseball in a large mixing bowl so that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it in a warm, dark place (in a cupboard, on the counter, or on top of the fridge) for 16 hours.

  5. After 16 hours, unwrap the cheesecloth and transfer the mixture into a new clean 2 layered cheesecloth. You can reuse these if you just wash them in warm water and a little dish soap and allow them to air dry. Tie this around the wooden spoon again and suspend it the same way in the mixing bowl but keep it covered with a tea towel in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours. The longer it sits the more cheesy "fermented" flavor it will develop.

  6. If you're leaving it in the fridge longer than 36 hours, just remove the cheeseball from the cheesecloth so it doesn't stick and instead wrap it in plastic until ready to cover in pistachios to serve.

  7. When you're ready to serve the cheeseball, unwrap it from the cheesecloth and gently shape it into a ball with your hands if it lost its round shape at all. Gently press the finely chopped pistachios around it and serve immediately.

  8. You can also add the pistachios a couple hours before serving and leave the cheeseball in the fridge on your serving platter. Then it's all ready to go when your guests arrive.

Recipe Notes

I doubt you will have any left overs, but it's good for a total of 7 days from the time you made the cheese.

26 comments

  • Isha 4 years ago

    Could you clarify? "… keep it in the fridge for 24-48 hours. The longer it sits the more cheesy "fermented" flavour it will develop. Do not leave it more than 36 hours." Should it be 24-36 hours instead of 48?

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      My apologies… it should read (and I’ve fixed it now)
      Tie this around the wooden spoon again and suspend it the same way in the mixing bowl but keep it in the fridge for 24-36 hours. The longer it sits the more cheesy "fermented" flavour it will develop. Do not leave it more than 48 hours as the cheesecloth may dry out too much and stick to the cheese.

  • Lynn 4 years ago

    We made this without the probiotic capsules. It was amazingly delicious. I will be making it again for my autumn vegan feast for sure. 🙂

    • bruna 4 years ago

      I want to make this without the probiotics too cause I won’t have time to let it sit and ferment for 16 + 24 hours. Without the probiotics did you have to leave it out of the fridge at all?

      Thanks!

  • Anna 4 years ago

    Would a liquid probiotic work for this recipe? Love your recipes by the way. I was just looking at all the holiday cheese balls being put out at the grocery stores – remembering my days as a child who had no idea what animals went through to make our "food"

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      I have never seen a liquid probiotic. I just worry the taste would come through. I don’t know what it tastes like so that’s your call I guess!

  • hamie58 4 years ago

    Would this work without the Miso paste or can you suggest a substitute, it’s not something I use so I don’t want to buy something that will go to waste.

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      the miso is the fermented product that starts up the activation on the probiotic capsules. I don’t know how much you follow our blog or youtube videos but we use miso paste a lot. It’s a really good ingredient to use in your recipes and meals. So I’m sure you could find a use for it. Basically without miso the probiotic is useless as well and then at that point you’re altering the recipe so much I couldn’t guarantee its outcome.

      • Rebecca H 4 years ago

        It did work without the Miso paste and Probiotic but didn’t taste very cheese. I checked 5 different grocery stores looking for Miso and couldn’t find it anywhere, despite their large size the grocery stores around me are not very well stocked for variety.

  • Aimee 4 years ago

    Would homemade soy yogurt work as a substitute for the probiotic capsules?

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      I think that might add too much liquid to the mixture. I would just not include it if you don’t have probiotic capsules. People have made it without and its still as tasty

  • Bruna 4 years ago

    Hi Lauren,

    I have to make this without the probiotics (I don’t have time to let it ferment before my NYE dinner). Do I have to leave it out of the fridge at all?

    I hope you can answer me in time. Thanks!

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      Hey! If you’re not using probiotics you can just leave it in the cheesecloth in the fridge and covered. You’re going to need at least the first 16 hours though to get the moisture out of it in straining in the cheesecloth. So no culturing is happening in this case, so after the water has been strained out and it seems to hold its shape just remove it from the cheesecloth and either wrap it in plastic or sit it in a container until you add the pistachios before serving.

  • Monika 4 years ago

    I made this a few days ago, and it was soooo good! I didn’t know what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised. The only thing I need to be more careful with next time is pureeing the mixture more thoroughly (mine was not as smooth as it should have been). But taste wise, excellent! I added fresh basil and sundried tomatoes instead of herbs, and it was great. Highly recommend this recipe, just make sure to puree it REALLY well so that it is smooth. Not hard to make either, just some waiting time.

  • Vanessa 4 years ago

    Hello! I followed the recipe exactly, only I used a vitamix because I don’t have a food processor. And my probiotic has 18 billion CFU. I just did the 16 hours and when I transferred the mixture into a new cheesecloth, it was still very moist and creamy. Not much form to it yet. Is this a part of the process?

    • Lauren Toyota 4 years ago

      Did you mean to say you DID initially let is sit in cheesecloth for the first 16 hours? As soon as you blend it together it goes into cheesecloth to drain.

      Also though I’ve tested it blending in a vitamix and I find for some reason because it’s so smooth it doesn’t solidify as well in the cheesecloth. But it may be that you need to leave it longer than I’ve suggested because of that to get more moisture out. But be careful and check it because the other problem I had with blending it in the vitamix was that after too long the outside stuck to the cheesecloth while the inside was still liquid. That’s why I suggest the food processor.

  • Anne 3 years ago

    Hi there, How much does the CFU matter? I’m having trouble finding 10 billion. I see 30 and above. Thanks for all the great recipes and instructions! Made the ravioli yesterday. So. Freaking. GOOD!

  • Dawn 3 years ago

    Ok- I used the probiotic & the food processor. It’s been 16 hours and I went to transfer it to a new cheesecloth but it was still moist:( The top seemed formed but the sides were not. It’s back in the dark- how much longer do you think? A tad frustrated:(
    Thanks!!

    • Lauren Toyota 3 years ago

      well could you still transfer it to new cheesecloth? That’s all that matters, is changing the cloth so it doesn’t dry out and stick to the original cheesecloth. Still suspend it and now put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours it should drain more and firm up.

  • Dawn 3 years ago

    Yep- I just transferred it and it seemed a bit firmer just having 3 more hours in the dark space. looking forward to serving this on Thanksgiving.
    Thanks!!

  • Ellen 3 years ago

    I made my cheese Sunday night and did the initial drain on the counter in my nutmilk bag because I didn’t have cheese cloth. After the first 16 hours, the cheese was still super soft, so I got some cheese cloth, thinking that might drain better. It’s been in the fridge 24 hours now in cheese cloth and it’s still soft. My mistake was using the Vitamix. Oops. I am going to follow your suggestion of leaving it to drain in the fridge longer. I’ll you know. I also used 50 billion CFU probiotic, so I hope that’s OK.

    I am going to make your almond ricotta, too, as my Thanksgiving fruit and cheese course. It is DELICIOUS! Thanks for such great recipes. (Chile Lime Fries…wow!)

    • Ellen 3 years ago

      Just an update. My cheese turned out great. I just left it in the cheese cloth until Thursday afternoon and it firmed up nicely. The 50 billion CFUs didn’t seem to be a problem either. Now I am thinking of making it for Christmas with different add ins. Any ideas?

  • Sammantha Marie 2 years ago

    I have a soy allergy – which is always rough as a vegan- I’m loving so many of your recipes, do you have any ideas as a substitute for miso paste?

  • Sofie 5 months ago

    Do you use light or dark miso paste?

    • Lauren Toyota 4 months ago

      for this I use a white or yellow – so, light!

  • Ritu 2 months ago

    I made this for my daughter’s birthday and it was a huge hit. The majority of the crowd wasn’t vegan and they all loved it. Lots of people asking for the recipe.
    Couple of notes I wanted to make:
    Don’t hesitate to make this because of the time. There’s really barely any hands on time! It’s all in the food processor and then into a cheesecloth!
    I accidentally ran out of time the first day I wanted to make this so left the cashews soaking overnight. When I went to make the cheese I was concerned this would make the finished product too wet. (It seemed very wet when I put it in the cloth.) It ended up working out perfectly though, so don’t worry if your cheese seems too wet/runny right away!
    I also couldn’t find my cheesecloth so I used a very thin woven linen tea towel and that worked perfectly.
    I decided not to serve this crusted with the pistachios and instead served it packed into a ramekin because I thought it tasted perfectly cheesey (almost like my memories of Boursin) as it was. I’m glad I did that. It was delicious and I even had people who say they hate “vegan cheese” coming back for more of this!
    Will absolutely make this again.

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