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This simple and Spicy Cheese Ball Recipe is ready in 15 minutes. Made with healthy ingredients that are lower fat, the flavors meld to create a spicy cheese ball that is packed with flavor, but not with guilt.
I love a cheese spread with crackers or celery. I have taken a recipe for a classic cheese ball and used healthier ingredients to make it lower in fat.
Even though healthier options were used in this spicy cheese ball appetizer, it is still full of flavor and toasted pecan crunch.
This spicy cheese ball recipe uses two types of low-fat cheese. Neufchatel cheese, which is an American version of French cheese, and low-fat shredded cheddar cheese.
You can find Neufchatel cheese in the refrigerated dairy section of your grocery store right by the higher-fat cream cheese.
To add creaminess to the recipe, I added just a bit of low-fat Greek yogurt. You can add more based on how your cheeses blend together.
For flavor, I added chopped Jalapeno peppers (#ad), olive juice, and grated onion. The cheeseball is finished with a crust of chopped and toasted pecans.
Flavor Tip: one tablespoon of chopped Jalapenos was perfect for me, and will meld into mild heat in this recipe. But if you prefer more heat, add another tablespoon for a more spicy flavor.
Tips and Substitutions
This is a super easy healthy cheese ball recipe that comes together in about 15 minutes. For the best flavor, refrigerate overnight.
Jalapenos: I used chopped Jalapenos from the Relish section of the grocery store. you might also try pickled Jalapenos for a slightly different flavor. Skip the olive juice if you use the pickled version
Onions: I grated onions for this recipe. Onions can have a strong flavor. Start with a teaspoon or two. You might also substitute chopped green onion. This would add a bit of green to the ball.
Pecans: Toasted pecans add flavor and a bit of crunch. Sliced almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts are easy substitutions.
Want to skip the nuts? Consider chopping fresh parsley or another herb. Roll the cheese ball in the chopped herb until covered.
Step 1. Allow Neufchatel and cheddar cheese to come to room temperature.
Step 2. Place pecans in a frying pan. Heat over medium-low heat until pecans are lightly toasted. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Let cool. Add toasted pecans to a food processor or chopper. Lightly pulse until roughly chopped.
You can easily toast nuts on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To toast on the stovetop, add nuts to a frying pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir regularly to ensure the nuts don't get overdone. Remove from heat when you can smell the nuts and they have just started to brown.
In the microwave, place nuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the nuts for 30 seconds. Stir the nuts and repeat several times until you begin to smell the nuts.
To chop the nuts, I use my favorite new appliance the KitchenAid Mini Chopper. (#ad) I love this chopper. It fits in my tiny kitchen and chops and purees.
Step 3. Add all ingredients, except pecans, to a large mixing bowl
Step 4. Using a hand mixer, blend ingredients until it is a uniform consistency. Scoop the cheese mixture onto the non-stick wrap. Form into a ball and wrap to seal.
Step 5. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. When ready to serve. Roll cheese ball in chopped pecans. Serve with whole wheat crackers.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily toast nuts on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave.
To toast on the stovetop, add nuts to a frying pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir regularly to ensure the nuts don't get overdone. Remove from heat when you can smell the nuts and they have just started to brown. Let cool.
To toast in the oven, place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Heat oven to 350F. Spread nuts into a single layer on parchment paper. Place the baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and turn nuts. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. You should start to smell the toasted nuts. Remove and let cool.
In the microwave, place nuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the nuts for 30 seconds. Stir the nuts and repeat several times (3-6) until you begin to smell the nuts. Remove and let cool.
What to Serve with a Cheese Ball
I like to serve whole wheat crackers with this easy spicy cheese ball recipe. Two options for whole wheat crackers are Wheat Thins 100% Whole Grain Crackers and Triscuit Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers.
For those avoiding carbohydrates or wheat include a stack of celery.
Looking for more Healthy Appetizers?
Other Healthy Appetizer Recipes for You
October 2022 Update: Minor post updates.