This is part of our #5under5 recipe series, a collection of original plant-based recipes made by yours truly that cost less than $5 per serving and can be made with only five ingredients. No way, right?! It's creepy, it's crawly, and it's ... cheesy? Oh yes! Beware: it's the Spooky Spider Cheddar Cheese Ball! No need to be scared, though: it's vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and only takes five ingredients to create the most delicious sharp orange cheddar cheese you've ever tasted. For only $4.02, this spider cheese ball is sure to be a hit at your Halloween monster bash. So eat, drink ... and be scary! Have an idea for a #5under5 recipe? Send it to [email protected] and you might just see it on the site next week! If you make this dish, make sure to post it on social media with #5under5 and @onegreenplanet so we can see your amazing creation!
#5under5: Spooky Spider Cheddar Cheeseball [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Cheeseball:
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews – $2.20
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes – $0.60
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast – $0.60
- 1 tablespoon miso paste – $0.12
- 1 teaspoon water (or apple cider vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon juice, if you have it)
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds gently pulsed in a spice grinder until slightly crushed – $0.50
For the Suggested Decorations:
- Eyes and legs for the spider! We used a couple of macadamia nuts and pretzel sticks, but you can use actual googly eyes and pipe cleaners, or whatever you can find! Let your imagination run wild!
- About 2-4 hours prior to starting the recipe, soak your cashews and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water until soft.
- When you're ready to begin, drain the cashews and tomatoes and give them a good rinse. Add them to the mug of a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until a paste is formed. You might have to stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the blender.
- Add the nutritional yeast, miso, and any optional seasonings you might be using. Blend until completely smooth and free of cashew/sun-dried tomato chunks. You'll also need to add about a teaspoon of water or other liquid to loosen up the cheese. Depending on how soft your cashews are and how powerful your blender is, this could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Patience is key! Don't forget to taste for seasonings and adjust to your preference.
- When a completely smooth and thick cheese paste is formed, scoop the mixture out of the blender and onto a piece of plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the cheese in the plastic to form a ball shape. (You might want to double-wrap to ensure nothing leaks out.)
- Refrigerate the wrapped cheese ball for a minimum of four hours before you plan to serve it. If you prefer a softer cheese, feel free to chill it for less, but be warned that you'll have a harder time shaping and decorating it.
- Once the cheese is nice and solid, unwrap it and pat/form into a smoother circular shape with your hands. (You'll want to wear gloves for this part!)
- Spread out 1/4 cup of black sesame seeds on a plate and roll the cheese ball around until it's completely coated.
- Decorate with eyes and legs to make the cheese ball look like a spider and serve with crackers, pretzels, and sliced apples.
The flavor of any cheese – vegan or not – improves with age. So you can make this cheese up to a week ahead of time and decorate right before serving. Store it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Other nice additions to this cheese are paprika, chopped pimentos, chipotle chile powder, or chopped chives. Or, simply flavor your cheese however you like with whatever is available to you! The cost of the serving size above is based on the NYC Metro Area product pricing below: Cashews: $5.50 Sun-dried tomatoes: $2.00 Nutritional yeast: $6.00 Miso paste: $1.70 Black sesame seeds: $4.00