this post was sponsored by sprouts. thank you for supporting the partnerships that allow brewing happiness to grow and exist. xoxo.
Y’all, November is suddenly upon us (wasn’t it JUST the middle of Summer?!) and that means it’s time for some serious holiday gathering. What else does it mean? Food. So much food. Score. Sprouts Farmers Market and I have teamed up to come up with the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer to add to the food-stravaganza that’s just around the corner: super duper easy-to-make Vegan Cheese Balls.
This Vegan Holiday Cheese Ball Platter is a simple and easy holiday appetizer that isn’t only DEE-LISH, but also provides a pre-feast snack for your vegan loved ones so that everyone can be included in the festivities. They’re nice and light so you won’t weigh yourself down before the big meal, and did I mention simple? So whether you’re the one cooking EVERYTHING and need a quick add-on, or you don’t find yourself in a kitchen often and have to bring a dish to the party, you’ll be ready in stitch with this vegan-friendly Thanksgiving appetizer worth being grateful for.
Vegan Holiday Cheese Ball Platter
This vegan holiday cheese ball platter with cranberry fig jam is the easiest way to please your plant based (and non plant based) friends at Thanksgiving!
Vegan Cheese Ball Ingredients
- 1 6.5 oz vegan cheese wheel *see notes
- 8 oz vegan ricotta *see notes
- 1/3 cup leek, finely diced
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp chives, diced
- 1/4 cup Sprouts organic raw walnuts, finely chopped (find them in the bulk bins)
- 1/4 cup Sprouts organic raw almonds, finely chopped (find them in the bulk bins)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
Fig Cranberry Jam
- 6 oz Sprouts Organic Fig Fruit Spread
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped (from the Sprouts bulk bins!)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- Sprouts Organic Wheat Crackers
- crackers of choice
- black or purple grapes
- broccolini (raw or blanched)
- asian pear (sub pear variety of choice)
- rosemary sprigs
- pomegranate arils
Vegan Cheese Ball Instructions
In a small pan heat vegan butter over medium-low heat. Add diced leeks and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool slightly.
Using the same pan, add your organic walnuts, almonds, and fennel seeds. Heat over medium heat, tossing often, until toasted (about 3-5 minutes.)
In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, add your vegan cheese wheel and vegan ricotta. Pour cooled leeks and chopped chives into the bowl. Mix on high until smooth and well combined. Transfer bowl to the freezer to allow the cheese to firm up (about 10-15 mins.)
After 10-15 minutes, form the cheese evenly into two balls. Roll each ball in toasted nuts. Transfer to a plate, covered with parchment paper, and chill until firm (about 20 minutes).
Cranberry Fig Jam Instructions
Meanwhile, add chopped cranberries and lemon juice to a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. This will allow the cranberries to rehydrate and soak up the juice.
When almost all of the juice has been soaked up, add cranberries to a bowl along with Sprouts Organic Fig Spread. Use a fork or spatula to mix until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
Blanche broccolini if desired. Lay nut vegan cheese balls on platter along with a small bowl of cranberry fig jam. Layer platter with crackers, broccolini, persimmon, pears, grapes, rosemary, and pomegranate arils.
what’s in ’em?
These babies are made by combining Sprouts Farmers Market premade vegan cheeses with tasty and autumnal af caramelized leeks, as well as some chives to keep things feeling fresh. Put all that goodness together, then roll them in organic nuts and fennel seeds for a little crunch. I’ve confirmed: it’s the perfect texture moment.
If you’re feeling some kinda overachieving need to make that vegan cheese yourself, by all means go right ahead. The Minimalist Baker has some gorgeous recipes for you with this whipped almond ricotta and garlic herb vegan cheese. Keep in mind, these recipes definitely require a much bigger time commitment to soak the nuts, drag out your food processor…all that jazz. So sure, you can make your own, but why the heck would you when Sprouts makes it SO easy on you?
The cranberry fig jam is essentially lemon-soaked cranberries mixed with Sprouts Organic Fig Fruit Spread. The fig spread comes easy-peasy in a jar while you can find your cranberries (and the nuts above!) in the Sprouts bulk bin section. I especially love buying from the bulk bins because you can take home only what you need and don’t end up with a bunch of miscellaneous ingredients crowding your pantry. The cranberry fig jam adds exactly the fresh, tart, and acidic notes you need to accompany this creamy crunchy Thanksgiving app.
All the other platter suggestions are totally optional and up to you! Tap into that creative cook in you or poll your loved ones before the party to decide what you want to partner with your vegan cheese balls. I recommend crackers, fruit, and some fresh veggies to keep things light and tasty.
why apps before a feast?!
So maybe you think I’m crazy for suggesting appetizers before a historically GIANT meal, but I have my reasons so hear me out.
Keeping appetizers around on the big day keeps people busy and out of the kitchen so whoever’s cooking has room to do their thing. Plus, we all know Thanksgiving cooking can take longer than anticipated…what’s that turkey even DOING in the oven?! Man, those things can take their time. Appetizers keep your guests from various levels of hangry—an energy nobody needs invading the party on a day meant for bonding, gratitude, and celebration.
A lightweight appetizer like these Vegan Cheese Balls staves off the hunger, allowing everyone to take the time they need. Plus your vegan friends and family will have extra thanks to give—a holiday treat for all.
Can’t wait to hear how it goes and what y’all put on those platters. Happy holiday season! xo.