If you’ve never eaten raw cheesecake before, you will be shocked at how much like traditional (think Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese) cheesecake it tastes! In fact, I prefer raw vegan desserts over traditional desserts nearly all the time now. A few exceptions include my lemon olive oil cake and chocolate rosemary cake. As an added bonus, most traditional desserts, even when they’re made with reduced sugar, contain either dairy or gluten–both of which many of us would like to avoid these days. Even if a dairy-laden dessert (e.g., panna cotta, cheesecake, etc.) doesn’t result in uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects, such as gas, cramping and bloating, I always feel “ugh” after eating it.
But after indulging in even a large piece of raw vegan cheesecake, I might feel full, but I also feel light and comfortable and I love knowing I just consumed something that tasted delicious and was actually good for me. Soaked cashews give raw cheesecakes an insanely creamy silky texture that I find superior to anything you get using traditional cream cheese.
Just a few months ago, I served a raw vegan lemon cheesecake to my father who is approaching 80 and is very–did I mention very–traditional about food, particularly dessert. He gave the cheesecake a thumbs up and was shocked to learn it was dairy-free.
Although this recipe is for strawberry cheesecake, you can easily substitute raspberries, blueberries or mango for the top layer. Maybe some really clever cook more talented than me will make three layers of fruit, which would look awfully pretty once sliced.
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup cashews, soaked in salted water overnight
1/2 cup plant milk (I use almond)
1/8cup coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
Process the ingredients for the crust in a food processor using the pulse function until you get a similar texture to this (see photo). Dump the crumbly mixture into the pan and use your hands to press it firmly and evenly into the bottom. Place in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.
Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with filtered water. Place all the ingredients for the filling in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix), and blend, starting on low and moving to high until you have a completely even, creamy consistency. Pour the filling mixture over the crust and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Put the ingredients for the topping into a blender and process until it’s a thick, even consistency. Pour over the filling and return to the freezer for 4-5 hours.
Transfer the cheesecake from the freezer to the fridge at least 1 hour before serving.