These are Cheese balls with cauliflower and toum. They are incredible. They’re crunchy on the outside and have chunky cauliflower inside. And they always impress.
What is a Cauliflower Cheese ball?
You are going to love them. They are crunchy coated balls of cauliflower mixed with herbs and potato all bound together with the ultimate cheesy binding sauce with no cheese at all!
I spent a long time working on these to get the ultimate vegan, gluten free cheesy tasting balls! The recipe has been thoroughly tested. First of all, it was a staple dish on the menu at the restaurant and then later added to the cooking program at the college where I teach. You could say they are foolproof.
The sauce is the perfect bit. It is tangy and thick and cheesy. It took me a little while to get it right but now, it is so perfect for these wonderful “cheese balls”. The secret is to cook the sauce down until thick and luscious. It coats the other ingredients in a cheese like feel that makes every bite a treat.
It’s so versitile you can also use this sauce to make Mac and Cheese balls or cook it down less for pasta dishes.
They make a very satifying meal or just a really comforting snack.
What is Toum?
Toum is a very delicious and pungent garlic sauce that originates from Lebanon. It is completely addictive. The drawback is that you can knock someone out with your breath after you eat it. Lebanese eat this sauce with barbecued chicken or shishkabobs, its legendary.
The sauce is creamy and white, made entirely with garlic bound with oil and reminds me of a garlic mayonaise with no egg. It happens to go with these cheese balls like a hand in a glove.
Whats Toum made with?
- Garlic: The most important part of the recipe is the garlic. Find the freshest garlic bulbs you can find. You will need about 130 gm or about 1 cup of peeled garlic.
- Oil: You can use canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil or any neutral oil. Don’t use olive oil it is too strong. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of oil.
- Lemon juice: The lemon is an important ingredient in this dressing just as it is for mayonnaise. It helps the oil to emulsify and balances out the other ingredients.
- Salt: The salt helps to finely grate the garlic and like all dressings, salt is crucial to the taste.
What you’ll need to make these Cauliflower balls
- Cheese Sauce: is made with a combination of softened cashews, yeast flakes, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder and xantham gum to keep it all together. The lemon juice is for cheesy twang
- Filling: roasted cauliflower florets, steamed potato pieces, parsley, coriander, and lemon zest
- Toum and coating: Garlic cloves, vegetable oil, lemon juice, salt, (as above) and gluten free crumbs, and gluten free flour mixed with water
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Cheese Balls with Cauliflower and Toum
- 400 gm cashews, raw
- 125 ml lemon juice about 3 lemons
- 500 ml water 2 Aust cups
- 40 gm yeast flakes approx 1/4 cup
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder not salt
- 2 tsp garlic salt yes with salt
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum for binding
- 500 gm cauliflower florettes cut into small florette- don't grate
- 2 Tablsp olive oil
- 2 teasp smoked paprika
- 1 teasp salt
- 300 gm potato, cut into chunks and steamed
- 1 bunch flat parsley leaves chopped including some of the stems
- 1/2 bunch of coriander Washed well, stems included
- 2 Tablsp lemon zest
- 300 gm gluten free crumbs,
- 150 gm gluten free flour
- 250 ml water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 130 gm garlic cloves, peeled about 1 cup
- 1 tsp salt about 5 gm
- 60 ml lemon juice approx 2 lemons
- 60 ml cold water
- 600 ml oil, vegetable any neutral oil, not olive
- 1 Tablespoon Dukkah or zaatar garnish
- Depending on the time you have. You can put the cashews into a pot and cover with cold water and bring up to a boil. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes on low, or until the cashews are softish. They will be easy to break apart with your finger and thumb. Alternatively you can put into a bowl and cover with cold water and leave overnight. Either way is good.
- Drain off the water. (I don't usually use the cashew water as the colour is dark and it is a bit sweet). Put all of the ingredients including the 500 mils of water into a nija type blender. These make a beautiful smooth puree. If you don't have one of these put the mixture into a food processor and puree until as smoth as possible. If you have a stick blender puree just a little more to get a velvet smoothness.If you only have a food processor don't worry the sauce with be just a little more textured.
- Pour the puree into a thick bottomed pan. Turn the heat to low and stir consistently until the puree becomes thick. The mixture will leave the sides of the pot a little bit like when you make choux pastry. Taste the sauce for seasoning and for tanginess. More lemon juice, salt or smoked paprika can be added to suit your taste
- Set the sauce aside until needed. It can be made and stored for several days.
Cauliflower, Herb and Potato Filling
- Roughly cut up the cauliflower into little florette stems. They can be cut further later if required but small and large pieces make for lovely textural chunks. Toss the 500 gm of cauliflower in the olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and roast on 170 C/ 340F until tender and starting to colour. Set aside
- Cut the potatoes into equal sized chunks that are about the size of a 10 c piece. Steam them until they are tender. It is preferable to steam them so they don't absorb too much water. if you need to boil them, put them in a pot over a low heat and toss until the water dries up a bit.
- Wash the parley and coriander and rough chop them. Add the herbs to a large bowl along with the lemon zest, potato, cauliflower and the cheese sauce. Mix well. have a little taste of the mixture to ensure it is seasoned well.
- Scoop out equal sized balls of the mixture onto a tray. Chill the tray for a couple of minutes. With lightly damp hands roll the balls in your hands to make nice rounded.
Crumbing the cheeseballs
- In keeping with the fact this is a vegan recipe the ëggwash" is egg free. You can of course make an eggwash with eggs if you like. To make the plant based gluten free wash put 350 ml of water into a bowl and whisk in gluten free flour (approx 100- 150 gm) a spoon at a time until you have a thick cream like consdisteny season with salt. Whisk to get rid of any lumps. Dip each ball in this mixture and then roll in the crumbs
- When all of the balls are coated, heat 500 ml of oil in a thick bottomed pot. heat the oil to around 170C / 350 F or until crumbs dropped in the oil start to bubble and sizzle. You will need to turn the temperature down a little when cooking. it can get very hot and burn the outside before the inside is ready. Alternatively you can flatten the balls into patties and shallow fry. ypou could also spray well with olive oil spray and bake on baking paper in the oven until starting to colour and crisp up.
- Toum is like making mayonnaise. The first thing to go is to make sure the germ orr any little sprouts that grow out of the garlic are removed
- Place the de germed garlic and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse garlic in short bursts, occasionally removing the lid to scrape down the sides. Continue until fine. Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice at a time until a paste starts to form. Add more lemon juice and continue pprocessing until the mixture is smooth and a little fluffy.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of oil in a thin stream followed by any remaining lemon juice. Continue the process alternating cold water with the oil until the oil has been incorporated
- The mixture will look thick and creamy like mayonnaise. Serve the cheeseballs with toum, salad and crunchy dukkah or zaatar
- Gluten free crumbs can be found in supermarkets or health food stores. They are made with rice crumbs or gluten free bread
- Gluten free slurry coating is versatile for any crumbing job where you need a vegan option. Dijon mustard can also be added to the slurry for extra flavour
- Using chopped herbs. The stalks can also be added for more flavour and texture
- Measuring lemon juice. It is always best to measure lemon juice rather than say “‘üse 2 lemons” because the amount of juice in a lemon can vary HUGELY. Buy a couple of extras for each recipe
- The cheese sauce can be used for other purposes. You could use it for pasta or pasta bakes, mac and cheese balls or cauliflower cheese. Thinning down the sauce for other purposes just requires you to add vegetarian stock or plant based milk or coconut milk.