Marinated Mozzarella Balls (Bocconcini) are a simple and delicious appetiser. Easy to make and fun to add a bit of variety to a traditional cheese platter. Perfect for holidays or as a gift.
This post is sponsored by Zucchi 1810 but all the delicious opinions are my own.
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I don’t think I’ve ever hosted a dinner or a party where there was not some kind of a cheese platter. Cheese is just such an easy and impressive appetiser or even dessert.
Olive Oil Marinated Mozzarella Balls (also known as Olive Oil Marinated Bocconcini) are an easy and delicious way to add a bit of variety to a typical cheese platter. They are also a great edible gift to give and will last in the fridge for about 5-7 days.
Marinated Mozzarella Balls are super easy to make and use just a few simple ingredients. One of the main ingredients is a really good extra virgin olive oil. For this Marinated Bocconcini recipe, I used the most delicious and flavourful Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
About Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A few weeks ago I shared Instant Pot No Knead Pumpkin Focaccia that I made using Zucchi’s Chili-Flavoured and Heritage Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Today, it’s time to share another recipe using Zucchi’s product.
I fell in love with Zucchi’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils a few months ago. They are flavourful and delicious, yet not overpowering.
Zucchi 1810 company has been producing Extra Virgin Olive Oils for over two centuries and it is still family owned. The company cares about the environment, their community, and their workers. It is one of the world’s top extra virgin olive oil producers.
When I tried Zucchi Pesto EVOO, I knew right away that it needs to be the star of the recipe. It is outstandingly flavourful and delicious. And it really tastes like pesto.
Zucchi Pesto EVOO has fresh herbs, pine nuts, garlic, and even cheese in the ingredients. So, it is not vegan.
Zucchi EVOO can currently be purchased online at Yummy Bazaar, Italian Food Online Store and Magnifico Food. For my Canadian readers, Italian Food Online Store will ship to Canada.
Are Bocconcini same as Mozzarella Balls?
Bocconcini are small Mozzarella Balls. In North American supermarkets I’ve seen tubs labelled as both “mozzarella balls” or “bocconcini” or sometimes “mini mozzarella balls”.
Different brands have them in different sizes. I’ve seen them the size of a big cherry and the size of a walnut. You can use any kind. I prefer the smaller ones so I cut the bigger mozzarella balls in half if I need to.
You can find mozzarella balls (or bocconcini) in the refrigerated cheese section usually next to ricotta and feta.
How to make Marinated Mozzarella Balls
Marinated Mozzarella Balls are really simple, all you need is herbs, other flavourings like garlic, lemon zest, chili, bocconcini, and Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Mozzarella balls are usually sold in tubs with whey. Drain the whey and dry the cheese really well with paper towels. Take each ball and lightly squeeze with the paper towel to make sure it’s as dry as possible. You don’t want the whey to dilute the olive oil flavour.
- If you are using smaller Bocconcini cheese, then leave the balls whole. If the cheese balls are bigger, then cut them in half.
- Mix the prepped mozzarella balls with the chopped fresh herbs. This will help distribute the herbs evenly.
- Add the sliced garlic, pieces of lemon zest, and chili (if using) to a clean jar.
- Pack the bocconcini balls with all the herbs into the jar.
- Fill with Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Marinate for a minimum of 60 minutes.
How to keep Olive Oil Marinated Bocconcini
If you are planning on serving this marinated cheese the day of making it, make sure that it marinates for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours. You can keep the jar on the counter for an hour or two without any issues.
If you are making this recipe for gifting or to serve a few days later, cover the jar tightly with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.
The oil will solidify in the fridge, so it’s important to take the cheese out and keep at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes before serving.
Ideas for serving marinated bocconcini
- Pour the marinated bocconcini out from the jar into a bowl with all the oil and herbs. Serve with Instant Pot No Knead Pumpkin Focaccia for dipping into the flavourful oil.
- Add a bowl of the marinated mozzarella to a cheese platter. Cheese platters are one of my 12 Tips for Easy and Stress-free Entertaining. I use these same tips for when I host holiday dinners for just the two and a half of us, just on a smaller scale.
- Use marinated mozzarella in a caprese salad.
- Add the marinated bocconcini to pasta, like my One-Pot Caprese Macaroni and Cheese.
- Slice the mozzarella balls and add them to Cheesy Pinwheels with Walnuts.
Ingredients and variations
- You can use small mozzarella balls or bocconcini.
- If you can’t find mozzarella balls or bocconcini, you can use fresh mozzarella, just cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- You can also use feta instead of mozzarella for a totally different take on this appetiser. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and add fresh oregano.
- Use whatever combination of fresh herbs you like.
- I find that the Zucchi Pesto EVOO has a very strong basil flavour, so I use less fresh basil in this recipe but you can use more.
- You can use oregano, dill, cilantro etc.
- I wanted the flavour of the Zucchi Pesto EVOO to shine through, so I didn’t use too many flavourings.
- You can use more or less garlic. You can also mince it instead of slicing.
- Feel free to omit the zest or actually use microplane zester to make it fine. This will infuse the flavour more into the oil.
- Feel free to omit the chili pepper or add more or dice it to be more intense. You can use red hot chili pepper flakes also.
- Zucchi Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Pesto Flavour
- Feel free to use Zucchi Heritage Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you prefer instead of the Pesto-Flavoured EVOO.
- You can also add a bit of Zucchi Chili-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you’d like the marinated cheese to have a bit more heat.
- Depending on the size of the jar you are using, you may need to use a bit more oil to fully cover the cheese.
More appetiser recipes
- Goat Cheese and Fig Tartlets
- Cheesy Pinwheels with Walnuts
- Sheet Pan Ricotta-Crab Biscuit Ring Dip
- Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Dill Appetizer
Marinated Mozzarella Balls (Bocconcini)
- 200 g mozzarella balls (1 tub)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 lemon zest (either in long ribbons or zested)
- 1 chili pepper (optional)
- 1/4 cup Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil (you may need to use more depending on the size of the jar)
- Drain the mozzarella balls (bocconcini) really well from whey.
- Dry the cheese really well with some paper towels. Take each ball and slightly squeeze it with the paper towel to make sure it's dry.
- If the mozzarella balls are too big, cut them in half.
- Mix the prepped cheese with all the herbs really well.
- Add the sliced garlic, lemon zest, and chili pepper (if using) to a clean jar. Use a 300-400 ml jar.
- Fill the jar with the mozzarella balls. If you have a smaller jar, you will need to pack it tightly.
- Pour Zucchi Pesto-Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the jar to fully cover the cheese. You may need to use a bit more oil if the jar is bigger.
- Cover and let marinate for at least one hour before serving. You can keep it on the counter.
- If you aren't going to eat the marinated mozzarella balls an hour or two after making, then keep in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.
- Note: the olive oil will harden in the fridge so take the jar out of the fridge at least 30-45 minutes before serving.
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I love everything about this recipe and it looks so rich and delicious! Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe