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Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball

Around the holidays, I’ve noticed that in addition to loads of requests for cookie recipes, new appetizer ideas are always high in demand. Parties are frequent, and what better to serve than a spread of appetizers where people can come and go as they munch and chat, eating little bites from their favorite dishes.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a holiday party that didn’t have at least one cheese ball – which is good, I happen to adore them! (And truth be told, they are always one of the first things to disappear from a big buffet spread.) A while back I shared a recipe for a Cheddar Cheese Ball Appetizer. The flavors going on in that (like Cheddar, Worcestershire, onion, and paprika) are always a hit, but if you want something a little more complex (and every bit as addictive), this Date, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Ball is perfect.

Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball 2

In this mix, dates add a touch of sweetness to balance the sharpness of blue cheese. Lemon zest brightens it up, and just a touch of fresh onion and garlic powder make a savory addition. The cheese is rolled in a mixture of fresh parsley and toasted walnuts, which add both a fresh bite as well as a nutty crunch. Just a heads-up, I’ve also made this with toasted pecans (instead of walnuts) and everyone enjoyed it that way as well.

Do you have a favorite cheese ball recipe?

Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball 3

Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 large cheese ball, about 10 to 12 servings
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk
  • 8 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons minced pitted Medjool dates (2 to 3 dates)
  • 1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2½ tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  1. Lightly spray the bowl of a food processor with cooking spray (to help prevent the dates from sticking). Combine all ingredients except the parsley and walnuts in the prepared food processor’s bowl; process until combined (it doesn’t have to be completely smooth).
  2. Line a small-medium bowl with plastic wrap. Pour the cheese mixture into the plastic wrap-lined bowl, wrapping it to form a ball. Refrigerate until chilled, overnight in the fridge or about 1 hour in the freezer.
  3. Combine the parsley and walnuts in a shallow dish. Unwrap the cheese ball and gently roll in the parsley/nut mixture, coating well.
  4. Serve immediately along with crackers or bread, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted slightly from Cooking Light.
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. Lovely. LIke Jeanette I am not one for cheese balls normally (and they are not a big deal here in the UK for some reason) but this does like great, esp with the blue cheese and Medjool date combo – love savoury-sweet stuff.

  2. I have to say I’ve never been a big fan of cheeseballs (I think it must come from memories of the old yellow supermarket cheeseball ;), but I am going to give this one a try for our Holiday Open House – I love the dates in your cheeseball.

  3. Sounds delicious! My mom makes a cheese ball every Christmas that I love. It has crushed pineapple, walnuts, coconut, cream cheese, cheddar cheese…very addictive.

  4. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever made a cheese ball before. This one has a lot of my favourite things in it – dates, blue cheese, walnuts. I have a holiday part coming up this weekend and I may just have to give this a try! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. You used the word ‘complex’ to describe this: how true, and I’ll try this after my next foray for food shopping to see just how much :) !

  6. I like this cheese spread, especially with the touch of sweetness of the dates…perfect for party :)
    Thanks for sharing this recipe Faith and hope you are enjoying your week!

  7. Oh I think I would adore this flavor combo! I agree…cheeseball, esp the homemade ones, are the appetizer I gravitate too as well!

  8. what a great combination of ingredients. I have been wanting to make cheeseball this year for a party and i know what I will be making.thanks for sharing. So glad to come across your blog. Your space is so beautiful. I am looking forward to read more of your posts.

  9. at one of our Thanksgiving events this year, my dad had to go out and get more ingredients for cheese balls – we had one and it was gone before half of the guests showed up!

    this one looks fantastic – I will remember this one for upcoming holiday events… (and I’ll make THREE).

    1. Kristina, You are a girl after my own heart, lol! ;)

  10. The cheese ball disappears first at any party I’ve been to, in no small part because of me ;) I’ve never actually made one myself – for shame. Pinning this … now!

    1. Jessie, Lol, for shame for me as well! ;) By the way, I’ve been LOVING your Spiced Chocolate Tea lately – shared it on my FB page yesterday and someone made it and loved it too! :)

  11. I’ve never made a cheeseball! I think this will be the next item I bring to a party!!

  12. A fabulous combination! This cheese ball must be really scrumptious. Perfect party food.



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