The Starving Chef Recipe: Holiday Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

Spinach Cheeseball Recipe
Taking the traditional cheese ball appetizer up a notch.

By Felicia Vargo, The Starving Chef

A delightfully festive twist on your traditional cheese ball can be spread on your favorite crackers.

Holiday Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 1+ hour
Makes one cheese ball


For the cheese ball:
8 oz fresh spinach
1 T butter
2 strips bacon
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼ C mozzarella shredded
¼ C cheddar cheese shredded

For the crust:
1 C crushed pecans
½ C dried cranberries
2 T dried minced garlic
2 T fresh parsley
1 T sesame seeds

Here’s How
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until it is crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. Do not clean the skillet. When cooled, crumble the bacon.
  2. Add butter to the skillet and melt until frothy. Then add the fresh spinach. Saute until wilted, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add cream cheese, mozzarella and cheddar. While the spinach and bacon are still warm, add them to the bowl. Use a hand mixer to stir until well mixed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Place a 12-x-12-inch piece of plastic wrap down on a large clean, flat surface. Dollop the cheese mixture into the center of the plastic wrap. Wrap the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly so that it forms a ball shape. Place the cheese ball into a small round bowl and then chill for at least one hour or until the cheeseball can hold its shape.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the crushed pecans, dried cranberries, dried minced garlic, sesame and parsley into a bowl and whisk together.
  6. Place a second piece of plastic wrap down and spread the crust mixture in the middle. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it in the middle of the crust. Roll it around gently to coat it completely in the crust. Discard any loose crust and then wrap the cheeseball tightly in the plastic wrap.
  7. Chill for at least one hour to set the shape of the cheese ball. Prior to serving, bring the cheese ball to room temperature for more than hour so it can easily be cut into with a knife or cracker. Serve with your favorite crackers, veggies and more.

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Categories: Food & Dining