Mini vegan mozzarella balls have changed my life! Drenched in a sharp lemon juice marinade, they're the perfect antipasti for jazzing up this delicious pasta salad!
Holy vegan mozzarella balls!
This pasta salad is going to blow your mind - because it's packed with VEGAN MOZZARELLA BALLS! They are reminiscent of ciliegine - those really cute, cherry-sized mozzarella balls! They're usually marinaded and served as an antipasti. I deliberately made mine very mild flavoured. I like to soak them in a delicious, herby marinade packed with lemon zest and juice.
The salad itself is dressed in a beautiful pesto-style dressing which just BEGS to be eaten on a warm summers day, alongside a nice slab of sourdough focaccia.
What's the magic ingredient??
Just one ingredient note this time: Kappa carrageenan. It’s a gelling agent which helps the mini vegan mozzarella balls to form when they hit the cold water. In my experience it doesn’t react well to salt, so if you add a bunch to this recipe, you’ll find it doesn’t want to set and you'll end up with a bit of a mess! Stick to the recipe and you’ll be fine!
How do I make em??
This isn't a super tricky process, except for forming the mini vegan mozzarella balls. As mentioned above, the balls will form when they hit the cold water and the kappa carageenan sets. It's important to use the roundest spoon you have to dollop the mozzarella into the water. I use a melon baller or a very small cookie scoop.
Other than that, the process isn't too far from my vegan mozzarella recipe (which you also have to try if you haven't already!).
Need more cheese?
Why not give these fellas a try?:
Vegan Miniature Mozzarella Ball Pasta Salad
For the Mozzarella Balls
- 90 g silken tofu ((firm))
- 40 g plant milk ((I used oat))
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 20 g lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon tapioca starch
- ¾ teaspoon kappa carrageenan
- 40 g deodorised coconut oil
For the Mozzarella Ball Marinade
- 30 g extra virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic ((crushed with the side of a knife))
For the Pesto Dressing
- 45 g fresh basil leaves ((roughly chopped))
- 20 g fresh parsley leaves ((roughly chopped))
- 45 g extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 80 g cashews ((toasted in a dry frying pan))
- 2 cloves garlic ((roughly chopped))
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoon water
For the Pasta Salad
- 350 g vegan pasta ((I used spirali))
- 250 g mixed baby tomatoes
- 100 g olives ((chopped into ½cm discs))
- Small bunch of fresh basil
To Make the Mozzarella Balls
- Half fill a large tub or a deep saucepan with cold water and a handful of ice cubes. Set aside.
- Place all the mozzarella ingredients in the cup of a high speed blender and blitz until very smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and place over a medium/low heat. Whisking constantly with a metal whisk, raise the temperature of the cheese mixture until it starts to thicken - keep whisking until it’s very stringy and comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
- While the mixture is hot, use two spoons (or better yet, two melon ballers or two semi-spherical teaspoon measureto pinch a portion of the mixture, forcing it into a ball shape. Lower the two spoons of mixture into the ice water before separating them. The ball of mozzarella should fall out (it may need a little heland will firm up almost immediately. Leave the ball of mozzarella in the cold water and repeat the process until you have no more mixture left.
- While the mozzarella is chilling, prepare the marinade.
To Make the Marinade
- Mix all the ingredients together in a jar, tub or deli pot. Using your hand, carefully remove the mozzarella balls from the water and place in the marinade. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge for minimum 4 hours or up to a week.
To Make the Pesto Dressing
- Place all the ingredients in the cup of a high speed blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
To Make the Pasta Salad
- Boil the pasta in salted water and drain once cooked but al dente. Cover with cold water and allow to chill for 5 minutes.
- Toss together all the salad ingredients and dress with the pesto dressing. Top with the mozzarella balls and serve with a good grind of black pepper and a final drizzle of olive oil.