My family served the same kind of cheese ball every year that I can remember – port wine and cheddar with some sliced almonds on the outside – so imagine my surprise when I discovered that there’s a whole entire world of cheese ball possibilities out there. That isn’t to say that I don’t love that port wine one (I do!), but it’s good to branch out a bit here and there. And this Olive Cheese Ball definitely branches out! Full of green olives, fresh parsley, sharp white cheddar, and crunchy walnuts, it packs in a ton of flavor that you probably haven’t come across in a cheese ball before. It’s salty, savory, and sure to disappear quick.
A nice thing about cheese balls is that they look so impressive even though they’re incredibly simple to make and this one is no different. You start with a base of cream cheese and mix it with some grated sharp white cheddar, salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic powder.
Then you add in a heaping portion of chopped green olives and some fresh parsley.
Once you’ve incorporated the last two additions, you use some plastic wrap to roughly shape the mixture into a ball.
That ball heads into the fridge to chill until it’s somewhat firm and when you’re ready to serve it…
…you’ll roll it in a mixture of green olives that you’ve chopped finer than the rest, some chopped walnuts, and a bit more of that fresh parsley. It’s easier to get a nice spherical shape once the ball has chilled, so don’t fret if it’s a bit wonky in the first shaping step. In the end, you’ll end up with a lovely muted green globe.
Since this is such a salty and savory spread, I like to keep the accompanying crackers somewhat simple. A basic water cracker or sliced baguette works well, anything with a lot of nuts, seeds, or additional flavor tends to compete.
It’s a cheese ball that’s maybe a little more about the olives than it is the cheese but I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints about that!
- 1 (9 oz) jar green olives, roughly chopped and divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped and divided
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 (8 oz) each packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Take 1/4 cup of the olives and chop a bit finer than the rest. Add to a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the parsley and the walnuts and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Add remaining olives and parsley and stir to combine.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Place cream cheese mixture in center and use plastic wrap to shape into a ball. Chill about 1 hour.
- Remove from refrigerator and roll in olive/walnut mixture. Re-wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!