Cultured Holiday Gifts: Marinated Yogurt Cheese Balls in Olive Oil


Note from Shannon: Please welcome Janet, Cultures for Health Content Contributor and Cultured-Kitchen Keeper.

Oh, how I adore the holidays! Thinking up creative handmade gifts is the most fun. The element of taking your time to create something special is the best gift to give. Why do we give? I think it is to honor those that are most special to us; to let them know that they are loved. Not because we “have to” or “need to” but because we want to. And reflecting on the reasons why we give helps me to find the joy in the giving.

In this blog series, I have two categories that I will focus on: one is beauty and one is food.  All of the products I will create will be ones that involved cultured food in some way; right on target with your healthy lifestyle. Some of these items will be perishable and make great host gifts.  Others will be able to be preserved and given at a later date.  My aim is to make them easy, affordable, and fun.

Here is a recipe for marinated yogurt cheese balls in olive oil to whet your appetite. Why not make and take this to your next dinner or office party? Then play with all the flavor options available in your garden or farmer’s market.

First, make this recipe for Yogurt cheese and then follow this:

Marinated Yogurt Cheese Balls in Olive Oil


  • Yogurt Cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped roughly
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Pitted kalamata Olives (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, dill, fennel, lavender)


  1. Taking the yogurt when it is thoroughly drained, roll pieces of it into small balls about the size of walnuts.
  2. Combine the olive oil, spice and herbs and add to the cheese balls.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve the cheese balls at room temperature with crackers or slices of a baguette.

*It is up to you to create the wrapping.  How about a mason jar with a handmade tag and raffia ribbon? Enjoy the gift of giving.

Janet Creasy

Janet Creasy

Janet is primarily a proud mama of two tween girls and is married to a stellar man wired for engineering. She spends a great deal of time in the kitchen and garden. She enjoys the full life cycle of real food as primal fuel for our body; which she feels is critical to how we approach the world around us. She finds immense joy in seeing how many food culture ‘science’ projects she can keep going at one time! Her favorites are kombucha, yogurt and tempeh and she is delving currently into rice flour sourdough and water kefir.

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  1. says

    Hi Janet – great recipe can’t wait to try it.

    All the relatives are getting my fermented creations this year for christmas :) I am substituting Kefir, As the balls are submerged in Olive oil do they keep unrefrigerated? I’ve never had issues with plain kefir balls in EVO and they are usually gone well within a week.

    As they will be gifts the oil does not look crash hot after some time in the fridge :) and I need to make them a week or o ahead of time. I’ve seen a number of articles that say the olive oil acts as a preserver of sorts so okay in the pantry?

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