The holidays aren’t quite complete without a cheese ball – and this one is extra festive! Red pomegranate seeds adorn this nutty cheese ball, complete with a hidden veggie (hint: it makes the cheese ball green!). So pretty you won’t want to start, so delicious you won’t won’t to stop.
Cheese balls are a must in my husband’s family. They’ve got a family recipe that is made at least once per holiday season, and everyone goes nuts over it. And what’s not to go crazy over? A creamy punch of cheese on a crunchy cracker is pretty addictive, if you ask me.
Though I love the family recipe, the idea of a pomegranate cheese ball just had to be tried. And do you know what? I think I like it as well or better than any cheese ball I’ve ever had! Plus, a few bites of fruit AND veggie along with your cheese isn’t a bad deal.
Simple, healthy cheese ball ingredients
Inevitably, this cheese ball is full of cream cheese and cheese – sharp white cheddar to be precise. There’s no way around lots of cheese, thank goodness, though you wouldn’t want to consume copious amounts of cheese ball too regularly.
The other ingredients are actually surprisingly wholesome – pomegranate, pecans, spices, and – oh yeah – spinach. You heard me. The spinach makes the cheese ball vibrant green, adds some vitamin A and other good stuff, and doesn’t really impact flavor. Oh, how I love spinach. It’s like magic – just blend it into anything.
How to make a cheese ball
Pulse 1 very packed cup of fresh spinach in a food processor until finely chopped. Add pecans, pulse again. Add spices and cheese and pulse until it looks sort of like a thick pesto.
Warm the cream cheese up just a bit so it’s easier to mix but not runny. I put mine in the microwave for almost 20 seconds, but check it every 5-10 to make sure it doesn’t get too runny. Now, if you have a large enough food processor, just add the cream cheese to the spinach-nut mix and pulse until combined. If not, simply dump everything together into a mixer or bowl and mix by hand or with a mixer. I did it by hand and it wasn’t too tough.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, with enough coming above the rim to cover the cheese ball once you shape it in the bowl. Pour the mixture into the lined bowl, shape it into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1+ hours, or overnight.
Take your cheese ball out of the fridge, remove the plastic, place it on the surface you’ll serve it on, and cover it in pomegranate arils (that’s the name for the seeds). It took me a while to do this, but if you’re less perfectionist you could probably just roll your cheese ball on a plate of arils and have a great outcome too! (If you try this, let us know!)
The picture above is about 3 minutes after I told my husband I was done shooting… yeah, we liked it a little. Sharp and sweet all in one, the pomegranate compliments the sharp cheddar perfectly. Yum. We will definitely make this one again next year.
What’s your favorite holiday food tradition?