I’ve been vegan for a few years now, and vegetarian for 30, plus an avid cook so I was t.h.r.i.l.l.e.d to be given the opportunity to collaborate with one of my favourite vegan cheese brands – Violife! They challenged me to showcase one of my favourite recipes using their fantastic vegan cheeses and so I’m here to show you my epic garlic and vegan cheese stuffed pull-apart dough ball platter.

It’s the absolutely best-looking, tasty way to wow dinner guests… or your kids! Who could resist these fluffy, creamy, garlic-y, warm morsels of tastiness?

I love using my breadmaker for the time-saving factor, so I have included the ingredients I used for this method, but any dough ball recipe will do. This incredible-looking dish is actually a very inexpensive and easy way to wow, so it’s a great option for lots of occasions. Think movie nights, cosy nights in, parties and any excuse for a tasty chow down!

So without further ado…

Let’s make a garlic & vegan cheese stuffed pull-apart dough ball platter! (Try saying that with a dough ball in your mouth!)

What ingredients do I need for vegan cheesy garlic dough balls?

Here’s what I used to make these garlic & vegan cheese stuffed dough balls…

The dough:

  1. 4 1/2 cups of strong white bread flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups of room temperature water
  3. 2 1/4 teaspoons of dried quick yeast
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
  5. 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons of olive oil (any oil works)

To stuff the dough balls:

  1. 1/2 a Violife Epic Mature Block (or scroll to see some other suggestions of what to stuff your balls with!)

To top the dough balls:

  1. 2 tablespoons of Pure Buttery Taste Spread (or you can use oil if you prefer)
  2. 1 tablespoon of mixed dry herbs (you can use any herbs you like)
  3. 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  4. 1/4 bag of Violife Original Flavour Grated

To dip the dough balls:

  1. 200mls of tomato passata
  2. 1 tablespoon of dried herbs
  3. 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  4. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  5. 1 teaspoon of dried garlic powder

How do you make these?

Garlic & vegan cheese stuffed pull-apart dough ball platter
  1. Add your dough ingredients to your breadmaker (or make your dough according to your favourite recipe) and sit back and wait for your beautiful big ball of dough to appear before your very eyes in 1.5 hours. Too easy!!
  2. Turn on your oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
  3. Prepare your oven-proof platter or pizza tray by spraying or rubbing a little oil on it.
  4. Find the sauce bowl that you’ll put in the middle of the platter and place it in the centre of the platter or tray.
  5. Slice up your dough into equal lumps about the size of half your palm.
  6. In each piece of dough, stuff a piece of cheese about 1cm square and form a neat ball around the cheese.
  7. Place the dough balls around the sauce dish, leaving about 1/2 cm between each ball.
  8. Keep adding dough balls until you’ve filled your platter or tray.
  9. Grab a clean tea towel and lay it over your beautiful balls so that they can bed in and prove a little more.
  10. Meanwhile, this is where you melt your spread and add your herbs and salt to taste.
  11. After about 20 minutes of dough ball resting, you’re ready to spread your garlic and herb butter all over the top with a basting brush. I used a spoon.
  12. Now it’s time to add your dough ball platter into the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes to start with.
  13. Keep checking to make sure the tops are not burning and you’re getting an even bake. If it looks like that might be happening you can lower your platter down the oven, lower the oven temperature or lightly cover with foil for a few minutes.
  14. Meanwhile, prepare your dipping sauce. The sauce you can see in the pictures is a simple pizza sauce. Mix all the ingredients up to taste – simple.
  15. When you hear your timer, bring your platter back out of the oven gently and sprinkle the Violife grated cheese all over and in between the dough balls.
  16. Place the platter back into the oven for another 5 minutes and keep a very close eye on them!
  17. Once the dough balls are golden brown and the cheese has melted into the gaps, bring them out of the oven and leave them to cool slightly.
  18. Place the sauce dish in the middle of the dough balls.
  19. Gobble them up quick as you like.

Top tips

Garlic & vegan cheese stuffed pull-apart dough ball platter

What equipment do I need to make this platter of vegan cheese and garlic dough balls?

I used my beloved breadmaker to make the pizza dough, but if you fancy making the dough yourself, check out this recipe on BBC Food.

I laid the dough balls out and baked them on a round oven-proof Denby platter, but you can use a round pizza tray or another shaped baking tray which will look just as great.

Where can I buy Violife vegan cheese?

Most supermarkets stock Violife vegan cheese in all varieties, so you’re never far from the cheesy goodness :D

What does Violife vegan cheese taste like?

There are a few varieties of Violife so that you can get the traditional edam-like cheese slices all the way to camembert and feta! As a vegan and having two dairy-free children, we have been eating Violife for years now and we love it.

Is Violife vegan cheese stretchy like mozzarella?

I am yet to come across a stretchy vegan cheese, however, there are some cheeses that are super creamy tasting and melt nicely whilst hot like the epic mature block I used for the cheese inside the dough balls.

What is Violife vegan cheese made of?

Here is the list of ingredients for the mature version of Violife vegan cheese that we used for this recipe.

Water, Coconut Oil (24%), Modified Starch*, Starch, Sea Salt, Sunflower Kernel Grounded, Mature Cheddar Flavour, Acidity Regulator: Lactic Acid, Olive Extract, Colour: B- Carotene, Vitamin B12.

*Not to be confused with GMO (Genetically Modified) ingredients.

Is Violife healthy?

In moderation, Violife is OK to eat. Because it’s made of coconut oil, it’s quite high in saturated fat, but because of the delicious cheesy flavour, a little goes a long way, and it’s the perfect alternative to dairy cheese.

Is this just for vegans? Can non-vegans eat these dough balls?

Trust me, my entire family gobbled these. Even my “I’m not eating that vegan food” eldest was a raving fan of these and ate 12 dough balls in one sitting, and ate the rest cold the next day!

Can you make these dough balls gluten-free?

Of course, you can make these gluten-free – here’s my favourite gluten-free dough ball recipe.

Can you make it with other cheeses?

Absolutely you can make this recipe with other cheeses. Any melty cheese for the centre of the dough balls would work well, plus you can substitute some of the ingredients to make different flavours (read below.) Check out some other vegan recipes from Violife. We’re a fan of their vegan corn dogs recipe and the grilled veggie tower! Double yum.

What other variations of these dough balls are there?

Now you’re asking! In the centre, we’ve had cheese and ham, pizza sauce, marmite, cranberry sauce, chocolate spread and garlic! You can pretty much stuff anything into these dough balls and not go wrong with the taste!

Can you use pre-made dough?

Absolutely, and honestly, this saves a ton of time so I’m here for it!

Can you make the dough without a bread maker?

Of course, you can make the dough without a breadmaker. Pre-made, frozen or fresh works just as well as each other. If it’s dough, it works!

How many people does this sharing platter serve?

It depends on how you’re serving it, but I aim for about 30 dough balls which serve my family of 5 as a snack, or a bigger party to pick on whilst we have drinks!

How long does the bread maker dough take to make?

On the dough setting, this pizza dough takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.

How long does this recipe take to prepare?

Once the dough is ready, set aside 30 minutes for shaping and preparing your dough ball platter, and about 20 minutes to cook.

How long does this take to bake?

This platter takes about 20 minutes to cook. I used my fan oven this time, which took 16 minutes on 175 degrees. I watched it like a hawk and nearly burned it so you have to be careful!

What temperature should I set my oven at the bake the dough balls platter?

I set my fan oven at 175 degrees Celsius.

Can you make this dough ball platter for different occasions?

Absolutely you can. Movie night, a starter at a dinner party, Sunday afternoon garden fun, gift for a friend… Who doesn’t love dough balls, and who wouldn’t want to be presented with this beauty on the table?

Can I freeze any leftover dough?

You can freeze the leftover dough, just make sure you cover it really well. I had some dough left over when I made this last, but I made three big round rolls whilst cooking the dough ball platter.

Can I freeze the cooked dough ball platter?

Yes, you can freeze this platter once it’s cooked, but make sure to let it cool right down, cover it well, and then defrost thoroughly before you warm it through.

What other dips can I serve with these dough balls?

Ummmmm dips. We went for a pizza sauce as there was the garlic butter topping already spread over the dough balls, but you can have more garlic butter to dip (heck yeah), a green herby sauce, an olive tapenade, a sweet salsa, mango chutney, red onion marmalade, an aioli, a seafood sauce, spicy nduja (vegan or non-vegan)… are you drooling yet?

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