The first time I tried roasted red pepper hummus, I had to keep rechecking the package ingredients to make sure it didn’t have any actual dairy or whey in it, because it just tasted so cheesy to me. Since then, I’ve used roasted red peppers and raw cashews (because of its neutral taste and high fat content) to replicate this flavor in things like this dish, and this one, as well as a coating for kale chips—simply because it tastes so rich and complex. Here I’ve incorporated that same concept into a port wine cheese ball. This mixture is packed with quinoa and raw tahini for bulk, an array of nuts for texture, and a splash of port wine to give it a depth of flavor and a little boozy kick.
1 cup vegetable or Imagine brand No-Chicken broth
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup raw cashews
10 oz. prepared roasted red peppers
3 TB port wine
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3 TB raw tahini
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, roughly crushed
3/4 cup almonds, crushed into a fine powder.
To make the quinoa, place the broth into a small saucepan over medium heat. While you wait for the broth to come to a small boil, place the quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well under cold water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Then transfer the quinoa to a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes. By now, your broth should be at a low boil. Scrape the quinoa into the broth, stir and cover it with a tight lid. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. All of the broth should be fully absorbed by the quinoa. Set aside to cool.
Place the raw cashews into a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Add in the roasted red peppers and port wine. Pulse until fully combined. Add in the nutritional yeast, tahini and salt, then pulse again. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, and stir in the crushed walnuts and cooled quinoa.
Place in the freezer for about an hour to allow the mixture to slightly firm up so you can form it into two large cheese balls or several small cheese balls. They can then be placed into the refrigerator or set out at room temperature for 45 minutes before rolling them in the crushed almonds to serve. This can alternatively be served as a cheesy spread—just place it directly into the refrigerator after combining the mixture.
you are so innovative! these little cheese balls look and sound awesomely textured and perfect for spreading on crackers, or eating alone!
thanks Caitlin! : )
Wow! Did it as a vegan finger food party. Was great.
Zukcocatering, from Israel
Love to hear that! So happy it was enjoyed.
This looks wonderful! What, if anything, can I substitute for the port wine? My family and I don't consume vino… 🙁 Netty
Thank you! You can just leave the port wine out — it will still taste good!
Angry Asian says
this is really interesting! so you don't soak the cashews at all?
You could soak them here, but you may have to add a little more nuts so the mixture will adhere correctly.
It never actually says when to put the quinoa into the cheese…
Thanks Jill, it's updated now!
these look lovely enough to take over to my parents when I next visit:)
thank you, christine — I hope you enjoy! : )
Leila A. Fortier says
Yay! I finally got a hold of some nutritional yeast so I can have my try at some vegan cheese recipes! I have been longing to try this one since you posted it. I was surprised at how good it came out. I was really skeptical. I had used jarred roasted pepper, and I think there may have been too much oil in it, because I needed to add 4x the yeast to thicken it. I think next time (if I use jarred roasted peppers again) I will add twice the quinoa instead? But again…a small glitch that I was able to work around, and was pretty pleased with the result. Anything that can keep me craving real cheese is nothing short of a miracle being Italian. Can't wait to try some of your other ones!
Glad it worked out, Leila! Is this your first time using nutritional yeast? It's one of my favorite ingredients to work with — so cheesy and rich! The roasted red peppers I used were just packed in some kind of non-oily and non-briny solution — glad you were able to adjust the other components to get a good result!
Love your food photography!
I had the same problem as Leila; it came out the consistency of jam, (I used jarred roasted peppers packed in very little water). However, it is so delicious that i am using it as a wrap filler and chip dip. Any ideas to thicken? BTY, very nice photo.
Hmmm … I am not sure what could have happened with the consistency. Maybe add a little more quinoa and place into the freezer for 20 minutes to allow it firm up? Although, I now want to make it again and have it not be so firm, so I can use it as a wrap spread/filler — excellent idea!
I'm curious as to what brand of port you used seeing as how nearly all brands use gelatin……I've yet to find vegan port in stores :/
I would get this question now! The bottle was tossed a few months ago, but I believe it was a single quinta port. Check out Barnivore for more vegan brands/options: http://www.barnivore.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keyword=port+wine&commit=Search
paula roth says
just made and it is in the freezer. divine! cant wait
I hope you enjoy, Paula!
Wendy Jacinto says
So I ended up buying Trader Joe's pre-cooked quinoa. Will that not work because it wasn't cooked with broth?
Wendy, that should be fine. You can always add a little more tahini if you need it thicker or a little broth if you need it thinner. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!
Wendy Jacinto says
Thanks, I'm trying it as a thanksgiving appetizer!