Prep time: 5 hours, including soaking cashews and chilling the cheeseball
- 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 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
- Eyes and legs for the spider! Use 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.