For this easy vegan cheese ball cashews are soaked in your favorite hoppy beer, then drained and blended into a smooth and creamy vegan cheese. The outside is coated with smoky tempeh bacon and walnuts for a gorgeous vegan cheese ball that's full of flavor and ready to party!
*This post was originally published in September 2018. It has been updated for content.
I've decided this easy, beer-soaked cashew cheese ball is how I want to celebrate the new year. Happy 2021, friends!
In my world, January isn't about diets or cleanses. I'm of the opinion that if there's something you don't like about your diet or how you're feeling, you should change it when the time feels right for you.
January 1st is just another day, and healthy habits like eating enough vegetables, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly are a life-long journey with plenty of ups and downs.
Within that journey, there's definitely room for vegan cheese! And as an Ashevillian who used to work in the craft beer industry, I'd say there's even room for a beer or two! Or in the case of this cheese ball, there's room for a bit of beer IN the cheese.
Speaking of Asheville, it just so happens that three of the ingredients I used in this recipe are from Asheville-based companies. For the beer, I used AVL IPA, brewed by my friends at Highland Brewing Company. I used to work there, so they literally are friends!
I've also made this beer cheese with Accumulation White IPA from New Belgium, another local fave.
For saltiness and umami, I used Celtic Sea Salt and Miso Masters mellow white miso. Both of these companies have been around for decades, but it wasn't until we moved to Asheville that I realized both companies are based here. Who knew?!
And nope, this isn't a sponsored post. I just really like these products.
If you've ever made cashew cheese you know it's actually pretty easy. The main twist on this recipe is that we're soaking the cashews in a fresh, hoppy IPA instead of water.
And while I might normally add garlic and herbs to a cashew cheese, I kept the ingredients more simple in this one to let the beer shine through.
Make this cheese with any fresh, good quality, hoppy craft beer you like. Now, a little chat about the coating....
The Best Coatings for a Vegan Cheese Ball
You can go with a traditional cheese ball coating like sliced almonds or get meaty like I did, with a mix of walnuts and smoky maple tempeh. Since the cheese ball itself is made from nuts, I figured why not mix things up with a little tempeh!
And if you're feeling like an overachiever, you can even make your own vegan bacon bits at home with plain tempeh, a few seasonings, maple syrup, and a hint of liquid smoke. Check out Kathy Patalsky's recipe for tempeh bacon over at Healthy Happy Life.
Lately we've really been digging these vegan bacon bits.
The first time I tested the cheese ball I coated it with crushed pretzels (pictured below). However, as mentioned in the recipe notes below, I don't recommend a pretzel coating unless you and several other people plan to devour the cheese ball immediately.
Though beer and pretzels are a natural fit, sadly, the higher moisture content of this particular cheese causes the pretzels to lose their crunch. That's how I arrived at the walnut/tempeh bacon idea, though, so it all worked out in the end.
And don't worry, Mark and I ate the pretzel-coated cheese ball anyway. It's too good to waste!
I love this cheese served with crisp apple slices. To prevent browning just toss the sliced apple with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
If you're in the mood for veggies, this cashew cheese tastes great with celery sticks, broccoli florets, carrots, and sliced red bell pepper.
And of course, you can't go wrong pairing this beer cheese ball with a variety of sturdy crackers, chips, and pretzels. Try these homemade whole-wheat crackers.
Want to create an epic vegan charcuterie board? In addition to this beer cheese ball, check out these other vegan meat and cheese recipes:
And with this simple Seitan Roast you can create delicious sliced seitan meat to pair with your tasty beer cheese ball.
With just ten ingredients and very little hands on time, I think you'll love this Vegan Beer Cheese Ball. If you try it, be sure to leave a comment and rating below to let us know!
Vegan Beer Cheese Ball
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 12 ounces India Pale Ale or your favorite hoppy craft beer
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar plus 1 teaspoon, divided
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil, optional - The consistency will be softer without it.
- ½ package Lightlife smoky maple tempeh, optional - (yields about ⅓ cup chopped bacon bits)
- ⅓ cup raw or lightly toasted walnuts, chopped - (if omitting tempeh, double the amount of walnuts)
- variety of apples and/or pears, sliced - Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.
- raw veggies, such as carrots, celery, and peppers
- Pulse cashews in food processor three or four times into a rough chop. Transfer cashews to a small bowl and cover with approximately 10 ounces of beer. Refrigerate remaining beer. Let soak 2 hours.
- Drain cashews well. Add to a food processor along with nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp vinegar, ¾ tsp salt, smoked paprika, miso, oil, and 1 Tbsp of the reserved beer. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. This may take a few minutes. Taste the cheese and add more salt and vinegar if desired, but keep in mind the tempeh bacon will add some saltiness.
- Line a small bowl with a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap around the cheese ball. Scoop cheese into the bowl and allow to cool, unwrapped, in the freezer for 10 minutes. Once cool, wrap completely and use your hands to form it into a ball. Freeze for an additional 30 to 40 minutes.
- While the cheese cools, if using tempeh bacon for the coating, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut the tempeh strips into thirds and place in a single layer on a parchment- or silpat-lined pan. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. Allow to cool then chop into bits.
- Just before serving add the coating ingredients to a medium-sized bowl. Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and roll in the coating until fully covered. Serve with your favorite crackers, chips, fruits, and veggies. Sore leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.