Back in the Decade of the Dinner Party, throwing a bash for New Year’s Eve was just a normal occurrence.
These days, now that The HH and I are both “of a certain age” (and given the fact that our newest family member, the Zoey pup, is basically equivalent to a 14 year-old teenager, in dog terms), we decided that this year, we’d be happy toning down the social calendar and enjoy the company of friends scattered throughout the holidays, in smaller groups.
I made this Everything Bagel Cheese Ball the other night when we had dinner with my friend The Architect and his wife. It was a great opportunity to catch up, enjoy some stellar food and introduce them to the Zo-Monster (she did surprisingly well).
The Architect has become a dear friend, one who’s remained in my life ever since we first met under less than auspicious circumstances (decades ago, in a support group for recently-divorced folks). Although there were never any romantic sparks between us, I was savvy enough to recognize his higher-than-average score on the Hunk-O-Meter (and, if I hadn’t already been wise to his stellar good looks, every one of my female friends who met him was sure to let me know soon enough).
Luckily, The Architect is also a stellar human being on the inside. One of the kindest and most open-hearted people I’ve known, he is also a keen environmentalist, a sportsman, an accomplished musician and a budding cook (okay, so they guy was literally the definition of “most eligible bachelor”–at least for a while).
Creamy and flavorful, this Cheese Ball is the perfect blend of dairy-free cream cheese and the medley of seeds and spices in the Everything Bagel seasoning. Plus, the “secret ingredient” renders it higher protein, always welcome for anyone who eats primarily plant-based.
You can spread it on bagels, of course, or your favorite gluten-free cracker, or even a grain-free veggie-based version, like my Pulp Crackers (which is actually my personal favorite combo).
It’s perfect for a holiday buffet or a party appetizer (it would be great for New Year’s Eve, for instance).
Even though neither The Architect nor his wife follows a plant-based diet, they ooh-ed and aaah-ed over this cheese ball nonetheless (all the while competing with the HH, who consumed about half of it on his own).
Oh, and if you happen to have a teenaged pup in the house? You might want to set aside a spoonful or two of the plain cheese (before you add the seasoning, which contains onions) for her. Guaranteed to charm the pup–and the guests.
Everything Bagel Cheese Ball
If you love Everything Bagel Seasoning, you’ll adore this cheese ball that’s both filled and coated with it. If you’ve never had the seasoning before, imagine a creamy, cheesy spread dotted with the tantalizing combination of onion, garlic and seeds throughout. Every bite is a little party in your mouth.
1 cup (240 ml) raw cashews, soaked in room temperature water 8-10 hours and drained
1/2 cup (120 ml) raw Brazil nuts, soaked in room temperature water 8-10 hours and drained (can soak in the same bowl as the cashews)**
3 Tbsp (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tsp (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80 ml) water, as needed
5 drops plain liquid stevia
2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (80 ml) well-cooked white beans, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup (60 ml) organic coconut oil (I prefer unrefined, but refined will work, too)
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 ml) sunflower lecithin powder (optional, but highly recommended)
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80 ml) Everything Bagel Seasoning, divided
Combine all ingredients in the jug of a high-speed blender and blend, pushing down with the tamper and stopping to scrape sides as necessary, until the mixture is silky smooth and there are absolutely no lumps. It should be thick but pourable.
Transfer the mixture to a small bowl that has been lined with plastic wrap. Add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) Everything Bagel Seasoning and gently mix it into the cheese to distribute evenly. Keep the remaining seasoning aside (you’ll need it to coat the ball).
Refrigerate until the cheese is firm, 3-6 hours. Using the plastic to lift it out of the bowl, remove the cheese and shape it into a ball (you can wrap the plastic around it and shape it with your hands). Return to the refrigerator to firm up completely, another 2-hours or overnight.
Place the remainder of the Everything Bagel Seasoning on a plate. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the seasoning to coat the outside. Place on a serving dish and serve with crackers, veggies, etc. Serves 6-8 people as an appetizer.
Note: once the ball is coated with seasoning, you can re-wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator up to 4 days. May be frozen (defrost, covered, in the refrigerator).
**If you don’t have Brazil nuts, you can use more cashews.
Suitable for: ACD all stages; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, vegan.
Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using those links, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.
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