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vegan cheese appetizers 2 ways

cheeseball bites and cheese dip_hot for food

Apps apps apps! When the holidays roll around, you can find me parked beside the snack table. It’s a no-brainer that anything creamy, cheesy, warm, or easy to pop in your mouth goes down easily at parties! I’ve made my fair share of appies in those categories, like the herbed nut cheese log and spinach artichoke dip! And now, vegan cheese appetizers 2 ways, to wow all your friends and family this season! You can make one or BOTH of these A+ appetizers for all to enjoy. All hail the vegan cheese ball bites and warm cheese dip with red pepper relish!

I love this duel recipe because it saves you SO much time. There’s no need to shop for tons of ingredients or do extra prep! With the same ingredients and in about 40 minutes, you can have two tasty recipes just waiting for people to dig into them. A lot of vegan cheese recipes require soaking nuts overnight in water, blending them, and letting them strain for multiple hours. You’ll find none of that in this recipe! I knew y’all had gift wrapping and family plans to get around to, so I made it a quick one. With some vegan cream cheese and mozzarella (and a few additions), you can be in cheesy paradise in no time! Keep on scrollin’ to unveil the secrets of these vegan cheese ball bites and dip.

cheeseball bites_hot for food

cheeseball bites_hot for food warm brie cheese dip_hot for food

vegan cheeseball bites_hot for food
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Print Recipe

vegan cheese ball bites or warm cheese dip with red pepper relish

Let out your inner cheese freak with this double recipe!

Course Appetizer
Keyword cheese, cheese ball, dip, red pepper relish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 to 18 cheese ball bites or about 1 1/2 cups dip. You could also split this amount to make 8 to 9 cheeseball bites plus 3/4 cup dip
Author Lauren Toyota

Ingredients

red pepper relish

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 C finely chopped red bell pepper (about 2 peppers)
  • 1 C finely chopped onion (about 1 onion)
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard or mustard powder
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C white wine vinegar

spiced pecan topping (for all cheeseballs or half cheeseballs and half dip)

  • 1 C pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

cheese mixture

  • 2 (120g) pkgs soft vegan cheese or cream cheese, slightly softened at room temperature (used nuts for cheese brand)
  • 1 C vegan mozzarella shreds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 18 gluten-free pretzel rods (or 9 if making both recipes)
  • crackers or bread for dipping (if making the dip)

Instructions

  1. To make the red pepper relish, sauté the bell pepper and onion in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and fragrant.

  2. Add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and dijon mustard and sauté stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, reducing heat to medium-low so the garlic doesn’t burn.

  3. Add the sugar and vinegar. Bring it to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside at room temp to cool.

  4. To make the spiced pecan topping, combine pulsed pecans, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme and sea salt.

  5. To make the cheeseball mixture, in a large mixing bowl, combine vegan cheese, mozzarella shreds, chives, shallots and garlic. If you’re making both the vegan cheeseballs and the cheese dip, divided up the cheese mixture into two batches (8 to 9 cheeseball bites and the remainder as the warm cheese dip).

  6. Use a cookie scoop, to scoop a spoonful onto a parchment lined baking tray in one layer. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

  7. Pour the other half into a cheese baker or a small oven safe dish. Top the dip with ¼ cup of the spiced pecan mixture and bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 400°F for 15 to 18 minutes until the dip is warm and the pecan topping is slightly toasted on top.

  8. To roll the cheeseball bites, roll each ball of cheese into the spiced pecan topping until evenly coated. Store the cheeseball bites in the fridge until serving. Just before serving insert a small pretzel rod into each cheese ball and serve them with the red pepper relish dip on the side.

  9. When the cheese dip is baked and warmed through, top the dip with red pepper relish before serving.When the cheese dip is baked and warmed through, top the dip with red pepper relish before serving.

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