Vegan Cheese Pumpkin
October has always been one of my favorite months of the year. Fall is in full swing, the trees are full of fantastic colors and the vegan cheese pumpkins are getting fat on the vine! What’s that? You aren’t growing any cheese pumpkins? Well, I guess I’ll have to tell you how to make one instead!
Pumpkins are a whole lot of fun to grow, but let’s face it – they take up a lot of space! Making your own vegan cheese pumpkin is MUCH more fun, it’s a lot smaller, and you are sure to impress all your friends and family at the same time! At the core of the this cheese ball is a blend of two different vegan / dairy-free cheeses. First we have a vegan cream cheese. Once upon a time this was something that was very hard to find, unheard of even. These days it’s a cheesey breeze! Brands like Tofutti, Follow Your Heart, Daiya and others, all make dairy-free cream cheese these days, and some of them even have more than one kind!
Next, we need something to help make this cheese pumpkin a little bit more stable. I always used to love cheddar cheese, it’s orange and I have access to commercial vegan cheddar – so that’s what I went with here. What you use will of course depend on what you can get your hands on. But some form of solid vegan cheese is needed help our pumpkin keep it’s shape. While I feel that a cheddar-style cheese is the best choice, you can of course use a more basic “yellow” vegan cheese.
While I’m normally a firm believer that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the outside of our pumpkin (it’s “skin”) is also something we need to think a little bit about. This summer, some young kids came up to some vegan friends of mine and asked, “Vegans can’t eat potato chips, can they?” My friends, some of whom live on chips, nearly fell over laughing! Still, these young boys were onto something. While there are tons of different chips out there that are vegan, there are also a lot, especially the flavored ones, that contain some form of milk. For this recipe to look as good as it tastes, you’re going to need to use some kind of orange-colored chips. Nachos or Doritos immediately come to mind, but when I made this for the first time about two years ago, I searched and searched without luck. What I did find, and still use every time I make this, are chili-flavored cassava chips! If you’re having trouble locating some suitable vegan chips, check out this link from peta that has a bunch of different suggestions.
And, yes, yes, of course that’s vegan “meat” in the photos – one chorizo and one salsiccia. A bit freaky, aren’t they? But it’s our very own, homemade, vegan cheese pumpkin that takes center stage here. So get rollin’ and make this for your next fall party or the perfect Halloween snack!
- 16 oz (454 g) - vegan cream cheese
- 12 oz (340 g) - vegan cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ cup (ca ½ dl) - salsa
- ¼ cup (ca ½ dl) - onion, very finely chopped/minced
- ½ jalapeño pepper - deseeded and very finely chopped
- 1 tsp (5 ml) - cumin
- ca 1 Cup (2.4 dl) - crushed, orange-colored vegan chips. I used chilli flavored cassava chips, but there are also vegan nachos/doritos out there.
- Optional: 1 large, bell pepper stem - for decoration.
- Add all the ingredients, apart from the orange vegan chips, to a bowl and mix well using your hands.
- Form the mixture into a ball-like shape, place it in the middle of the plastic and then wrap it around the cheeze mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, until the ball is more solid.
- Crush your orange-colored vegan chips into fairly small pieces, and place in a large bowl. Take the cheeze mixture from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap, and roll the ball in the crushed chips, pressing gently, until the entire surface is coated.
- Optional: to make your ball look more like a pumpkin, use a chopstick or a fork/knife with a round handle and press vertical lines into the ball. Finally stick the large stem from a bell pepper in the top!
- Serve with crackers, nachos, bread, vegan pepperoni or anything else you like to eat with your cheeze!!!