Guess what’s the main ingredient we used for this “cheesecake” dessert?
Nope, there’s no cream cheese or any type of cheese used for this recipe at all. This recipe is nuts…literally. It’s mainly made of cashews and walnuts! I’ve been seeing this vegan cheesecake recipe online for a while now, so I finally decided to do my own take on it. While UCL is not a vegan blog, we’re pretty open minded to trying a variety of different recipes. After all, it’s always exciting to try something new!
Technically, this isn’t even a real cheesecake. While this recipe does try to mimic the flavour of cheesecake, I wouldn’t say that it tastes exactly like cheesecake. But to be honest, I personally like the taste of it 😛
The “cheesecake” layer was made with cashews, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla bean paste, all blended together until a smooth consistency was achieved. Of course the honey can be substituted for maple syrup or agave nectar for a strictly vegan version. I added a bit of chopped fresh cherries to the “cheesecake” to fill more space. The crust was made with crushed walnuts, dates, and a little bit of salt.
Most recipes call for coconut oil to help stabilize the “cheesecake”, but I find that the recipe still works even if you don’t use it; just don’t thaw the “cheesecake” for too long. I think what really ‘makes’ this recipe is the vanilla bean paste (and nope, it’s just not the same taste as vanilla extract!) and the smooth consistency of the blended cashews. You have to blend the cashews really well. There’s also the lemon juice which provides a tangy component to this dessert, reminiscent of cheesecake. While this isn’t a low-fat recipe, the good part about this recipe is that you’re getting the ‘good fats’ from the nuts. I wouldn’t recommend eating it all in one sitting, though! Portion is key, or share with a friend 😛
I finished the “cheesecake” with some pureed strawberries. Another option would be to blend the fresh strawberries with the cashews instead to make a strawberry version. You can also use a combination of different fruits or make a chocolate version. Go nuts with it!
Update: I realized it’s a lot easier to blend the ingredients when I doubled the recipe, so I doubled the amount of ingredients in the updated recipe.
1 cup raw cashews
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Juice of half to one whole lemon (depends on how sour you want it to be)
2-3 tbsp. honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)
8-10 fresh cherries, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
4 medjool dates
Pinch of salt
Pureed strawberries (can be sweetened with a little bit of honey or dates if you want it to be sweeter)
- Before blending the cashews, soak cashews in water for at least 1 hour. This step will help ease with the blending process. Drain the cashews from water before blending.
- Using a food processor, process walnuts, dates, and salt, just until you get a coarse crumb consistency. Press this mixture to the bottom of two dessert rings or four cupcake liners on a baking tray.
- Blend cashews, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, and honey using the Magic Bullet or a strong powered food blender. Blend until you get a smooth consistency. TIP: If you have difficulty with blending, add some water, but add as little as you can. Pour the mixture on top of the crust. Add chopped cherries while pouring the mixture.
- Freeze “cheesecake” overnight. To remove from dessert ring, wipe sides of dessert ring with a warm wet towel. You should be able to remove the “cheesecake” easily by slowly pushing it downwards along the ring. If you used cupcake liners, you can just peel the cupcake liners off. Let the “cheesecake” thaw for about 1-2 minutes before eating. Ideally, the “cheesecake” should still be frozen when you serve it, but not rock solid frozen. Finish with a drizzle of pureed strawberries.