Vegan cheesecake tends to get a bad rap. And rightfully so because it’s usually made with faux cheese products that contain weird chemicals and additives that are difficult to pronounce and probably even more difficult to digest. So my solution was quite simple: an almost raw variety that relies on oats and walnuts for the crumbly crust and a cashew/lemon combination that perfectly mimics the flavor of real cream cheese.
Although this recipe may not convince the diehard cheesecake lovers, this is a great alternative for people who abstain from eating dairy or those who would just like a little less of it in their diets.
Maple syrup is my preferred natural sweetener, but feel free to use any liquid sweetener of your choice. Agave or coconut nectar would substitute well, but if using brown rice syrup you’ll want to use 2-3 tablespoons instead of 1/4cup. If you don’t have rolled oats on hand, any flaked grain will work – spelt, kamut, etc. As for the walnuts, those can easily be replaced with almonds, pecans, or any other nut you’d prefer. Unfortunately the filling requires cashews so I wouldn’t try replacing them with anything else. If you’d prefer something loaded with a bit more berries, go ahead and throw a handful of fresh or frozen berries into the blender while making the filling recipe. I’ve tried frozen blueberries and it turned out beautifully and tasted delicious.
Almost Raw Vegan Cheesecake with Strawberries
Makes 10 servings
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashew pieces, soaked at least 4 hours
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast, optional
- 5-6 strawberries, sliced
1. Line a small loaf pan (or 6″ round or square baking pan) with parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the rolled oats, walnuts, and sea salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and pulse until dough is crumbly. Add the almond milk and pulse until the mixture starts to stick together.
3. Firmly press the mixture into the prepared pan and set aside. If desired, cut some strawberries in half and line them up along the top edge of the crust (it adds a pretty detail).
4. In a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, blend the cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond milk, and nutritional yeast until smooth and creamy. It will take about 1-2 minutes, but if you’re using a standard blender it may take up to 4 minutes.
5. Pour mixture over the crust and transfer to freezer to set. Chill for 3 hours or until firm.
6. When ready to serve, top with fresh cut strawberries. Cheesecake will keep in an air tight container in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Thaw 20 minutes before serving.
Photo Credit: Ashlae Warner