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cheeseball bites_hot for food

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.