Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, & Artichoke Cheese Ball

Sun Dried Tomato Basil  Artichoke Cheese Ball | Mama Papa Bubba

Last month Miss G and I were challenged to healthify Paula Deen’s sugary sweet apple strudel by our very good friends over at Hillary with two Ls (please) and Little Miss Mama.  Looking back, I think we did a not bad job, if I do say so myself. In addition to getting rid of the sugar altogether and replacing it with pure maple syrup and a wee bit of honey, we also traded store-bought phyllo dough in for from-scratch wholewheat pastry dough, exchanged the butter for coconut oil, and added an additional nutritional punch with some ground flax seeds sneakily hidden inside (see our recipe here).  Not to shabby, right? ☺

With the holidays in mind, this month we decided  to tackle a cheese ball…  A naughty cream cheese-based cheese ball that includes an entire pound of bacon, to be exact.  {Oy.}  As usual, Tairalyn bit the bullet and took charge of creating the full-on {delicious} heart-attack-on-a-plate version, Hillary was to healthify it somewhat, and Miss G and I were to take it to the level of being as close to ‘healthy’ as possible.   Keeping in mind that our idea of healthy is not necessarily ‘low fat’, but more whole foods based, we decided to turn to fresh produce to up the nutritional factor of our yummy cheese ball.  We kept the cream cheese, got rid of the bacon and mayo, and added sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, fresh garlic, and lemon instead.  We also swapped out pecans for walnuts (which are often deemed a ‘superfood’) and used ingredients produced right here in Germany as much as possible.  The result was a super flavourful spread that almost felt healthy when smeared thick on locally made organic crackers and breads.

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Here’s what we used to make it…  Cream cheese, garlic, green onion, artichoke hearts, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon (sadly, I couldn’t find the real thing), and walnuts.  I also added a tiny bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper just for good measure.

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Making it couldn’t have been easier. The only thing I’d recommend if you want your spread to actually form a nice ball is to use cream cheese just out of the fridge and work somewhat quickly.  Super soft room temperature cream cheese is tricky to shape {though you can always put the mixture into the fridge for a while before shaping it if needed}.

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Gracen dumped all of our ingredients into a large bowl…

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Gave it a good mix…

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And using freshly washed hands, I picked everything up and moulded into a ball.

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Then I rolled it on a plate covered in toasted walnut pieces, and voila – cheese ball done!

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If we had been at home with a proper oven, we probably would have made our own crackers, but instead, we paired our cheese ball with delicious rosemary crackers from a local shop here in Heidelberg that makes all of their products with organic ingredients they farm themselves {so yummy!}

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Gracen’s verdict?  Well, the words that came out of her mouth after trying it were, ‘I don’t think I care for this’, but I think that was because she may have bit into a fairly coarsely chopped chunk of fresh garlic.  Oops.  Us adults, however, devoured the entire thing and didn’t mind the garlic at all.


Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, & Artichoke Cheese Ball  (a healthified version of this recipe)

  • 1 brick of cold cream cheese
  • 5 large slices of sun-dried tomato, chopped
  • 5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 5 artichoke hearts, completely drained and chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped and toasted


Put all ingredients save the walnuts into a large bowl and mix.  Form into a ball using hands.  Roll in toasted walnuts just before serving.  Pair with your favourite crackers and/or breads.




Though ours was truly delicious, I personally think Miss G would have preferred Hillary’s slightly sweeter cheese ball infused with cranberries and orange, and though Brad ate up our veggiefied version, I know {without a doubt} that he would pick Tairalyn’s bacon-filled cheese ball over ours any day of the week!

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