Whether for casual or formal entertaining, these Pistachio Lemon Cheese Balls are guaranteed to liven up the occasion! Bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors and popping with color, they’re as fun to eat as they are beautiful to look at!
Pistachio Lemon Cheese Balls
In today’s dish we’re celebrating some of the flavors of California. These tasty cheese balls are not only delicious but they’re fun to make and even more fun to eat.
With layer upon layer of flavor and color, each bite into the cheese ball reveals the vibrant red center of the red bell pepper encased by the green olive enveloped in yellow and green-flecked white goat cheese and rolled in another layer of green pistachio nuts.
Perfect for any occasion, whether as hors d’oeuvres at a dinner party, an appetizer at a special gathering, cocktail party food or for a casual game night, these Pistachio Lemon Cheese Balls with Basil & Olives are sure to be a hit!
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in these cheese balls that have become synonymous with Californian cuisine.
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The Greeks brought the olive to Spain and from Seville the first olive seedlings were brought by ship to Peru and Argentina in the 1550’s. From there they made their way up the Pacific coast to Mexico and Spanish missionaries brought them to California for the first time in 1769 to a mission in San Diego. Olive orchards were then planted in several Spanish missions across California and the rest is history.
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We’re using Manzanilla olives that are stuffed with real bell pepper (not the formed and shaped jello stuff that’s often passed off as peppers or pimientos). The pimiento-stuffed olives are the perfect choice for these cheese balls because of the beautiful combination of red and green when you bite into them.
These cheese balls are a great time saver because they can be made well in advance and then simply pulled out of the fridge for a few minutes before serving to slightly soften up the cheese.
For more delicious hors d’ oeuvres and appetizers ideas be sure to try our:
- Black Olive Tapenade
- French Pork Rillettes
- Spanish Deviled Eggs
- Havarti Dill Corn Cakes
- How to Create a Cheese and Charcuterie Board
Pistachio Lemon Cheese Balls
- 6 oz cream cheese ,at room temperature
- 4 oz goat cheese ,at room temperature
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh Meyer lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 22 pimiento stuffed green olives (I'm using Manzanilla) ,rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the olives and pistachios. Chill the mixture for 30 minutes until firm.
- Form the mixture into 22 balls. Press the olives into the center of the cheese balls and form them back into balls, completely encasing them in the cheese mixture. Roll the balls in the toasted pistachios to lightly coat them. Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Let the cheese balls sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with toothpicks
- Makes 22 olive cheese balls
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet September 20, 2016
Karyn @ Pint Sized Baker says
Yumm-o!! What a great history lesson as well. Gives me something to talk about when I serve these delicious appetizers during the upcoming holidays :)
Michelle | A Latte Food says
Oh my gosh, I love the surprise olive inside! As a Californian born and raised, I love all of these flavors!!
Lauren Kelly Nutrition says
I love these little bites! Now I just need to plan a party so I can make them ;)
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
I hope to go to California one day! And these cheese balls look wonderful. :)
Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
I’ve never been to California but I want to go! I have family there. We would love these little bites. My husband can’t get enough pistachios!
Sandi (@fearless_dining) says
This looks perfect for a party!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
Yes I went to California a few times. The first time I fell in love with it and their food. Love this idea!!
Talk about a taste of California in every bite! I love the olives peeking out from the center. What a fun surprise.
Laura | Petite Allergy Treats says
I had no idea about the history of Olives! Fun to learn to something new. These would be a hit at a party!
katerina @ diethood.com says
These little bites are perfect in every way!! YUM!
Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
These have such amazing flavors! Definitely making these soon :)
The Food Hunter says
They sound wonderful…pinning for my next party
Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish says
I love cheese. And I love pistachios… especially when they’re chopped up and you can see how green they really are. These are the perfect party snack!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
What a great appetizer idea! Loving the pistachios!
Des @ Life's Ambrosia says
How perfect are these little bites?! I am loving this!